Every holiday has its Kodachrome moments and for sure Independence Day owns the market on fireworks and barbecues. If you ask me what comes instantly to my mind for the Fourth, it used to be my mom’s signature mountain of potato salad (with boiled eggs) in that big, old, yellow Pyrex bowl. This year, I can count on my dogs to go crazy this Thursday night as neighbors shoot off illegal fireworks in my neighborhood. And for sure, my mother-in-law, Nyra, will be wearing her favorite flag shirt with rhinestones at least one day this week. (She’s a hardcore holiday fan and has multiple sets of matching t-shirts/sweatshirts with coordinating socks for ALL holidays).
And while we think of red, white and blue desserts and barbecue sauce not safe for any white t-shirt, casinos across the country are creating their own traditions. We asked some of our friends how they make this holiday special for their guests and they did not disappoint.
Fireworks that go splash in the night
“The Mill is set apart from most July Fourth celebrations in that we celebrate on the third. Our Third of July waterfront celebration is the largest fireworks display on the entire Oregon Coast, and serves as our gift to the community and to our valued gaming guests. Having our celebration on the Third of July makes the entire area unique in that visitors and locals can enjoy two days of festivities. We simulcast our fireworks to music through a local radio station so that no matter where you are viewing the firework, you can enjoy the music that complements the show. The fireworks are set off from a barge in the bay (see picture). We create a VIP area with 1,400 seats, and we get hundreds more visitors that set-up their chairs along our boardwalk and make an evening of it. We even have folks that view the event from boat or kayak. In addition, we run three shuttle busses to ensure that everyone who wants to come to the festivities can do so easily. This event does bring a lot of traffic inside the casino as well, so we extend the hours of all of our food outlets, create a special buffet menu in order to accommodate our additional guests, do special promotions, have a DJ on the casino floor, a band in our sports bar for dancing, and do fun giveaways on the casino floor.”
Katherine Hoppe, Tourism & Content Manager, The Mill Casino • Hotel & RV Park, OR
Are my eyes deceiving me … or is that an elk waving at me?
“On the Fourth of July, the casino participates in our town’s parade in downtown Crescent City in Northern California. This year, we are making a float with one of our trailers with a riser on it that maintenance is building. The theme is ‘American Adventures’ and we are theming it locally so half of the float will be redwoods/greenery and the other half will be water to represent the river/ocean. We just purchased a full elk costume for the first time, so our Casino Host, Brian Sousa, will be on the float in the mascot costume waving and keeping everyone excited. We will be playing music and will have fog machines mounted on the back of the float as well. There will be four of us walking behind the float handing out 25% off coupons to the Full House Bar and Grill that will be good for the whole month of July, as well as beach balls with our logo on them!”
Arielle de Garcia, Marketing Manager, Elk Valley Casino, CA
Yes, hello, I’d like to place an order for FOUR THOUSAND apple pies please
“Nothing can be more iconic and American than apple pie, right? Isleta Resort & Casino is serving up the sweetness with their Points for Pies Giveaway this Fourth of July. Guests can earn points to receive their fresh Apple pie leading up to July Fourth. Yes, that means that we’ll have a truck deliver over 4,000 fresh, ten-inch pies the week of Fourth of July (can you imagine how great the casino will smell?). We also offer guests the chance to get the classic Fourth of July hotdog for only $1 each, and we’re featuring Free Fourth of July Bingo. Isleta team members may partake in the festivities with an American-themed, picnic-style meal served throughout the holiday, and an unlimited supply of festive desserts.”
Kayla Anderson, Public Relations Manager/Marketing, Isleta Resort & Casino, NM
Thanks for the hot dogs, now let’s talk about fry bread
“Annually we do a very nice fireworks show; as a matter of fact, we are one of the best displays in the area. This year it will be held on Friday, July 5, which will be preceded that afternoon with live bands and a fundraiser for the Tribe’s cultural committee, along with a chili cook-off and fry bread competition. Why a frybread contest? It’s a local favorite, and is often served with soups or stews. It’s also used in the making of “Indian Tacos,” which is fry bread topped with favorite taco ingredients. We ran an Indian Taco special recently in our restaurant that went over really well, and even had some local guests assisting our chefs in perfecting their recipe. Mole Lake casino customers and guests bring their chairs and blankets every year and we have several hundred folks show up. We are also going to try something new this year for our guests who can’t make it to the property. We purchased portable video broadcasting equipment and are going to livestream four HD angles of our fireworks to our website and Facebook. We will have three ground cameras and one drone up in the air. Haven’t you always wondered what fireworks look like close by? The drone should give us a spectacular view that we’ve never had before.”
Jake Godin, Director of Marketing, Mole Lake Casino Lodge & Conference Center, WI
Music is how we celebrate down in the Sooner State
“Choctaw Casinos & Resorts celebrate Independence Day with people all over southeastern Oklahoma. From free concerts in Pocola to a Voice finalist and hometown superstar, Trey Rose, performing in Grant, OK, to Koe Wetzel taking the stage at our ACM award winning Grand Theatre in Durant, OK, we have the entertainment spectrum covered. Enjoy our captivating free firework shows in McAlester, Grant, Pocola and Durant, as the sky will ignite in an array of colors for all to enjoy. Guests can tune into local radio stations where the fireworks will be synchronized to patriotic music. Independence Day wouldn’t be complete without a traditional cookout. In Broken Bow, indulge in a Fourth of July cookout, complete with hamburgers and hot dogs (and it’s true what they say … an Oklahoma BBQ is the very best).”
Kristina Humenesky, Director of Public Relations, Choctaw Nation Division of Commerce, OK