Monday, October 19, 2009
I love the fall season. It’s my favorite time of the year here in the Vegas valley because the cool crispness in the air is such a relief after months of 100+ degrees heat. I especially love doing stuff outside in the fall so I can really enjoy that cool desert air…too bad it was 90 degrees this past weekend on the Villagio Del Sole (outdoor piazza) of the M Resort for their inaugural Italian Festival.
The heat didn’t seem to deter anyone from attending though as it was pretty much packed with people chowing down on pasta and listening to Louis Prima Jr. and his band. There was even spaghetti eating and grape stomping contests at this free 2-day event poolside. Even though I’m on a low-carb diet I had so much fun roaming the area and I managed to avoid eating any pasta, pizza, cannoli or any of the fried cheeses or doughs at the nearly two dozen food and drink booths stationed around the M’s beautiful pool area.
I really wanted to go to the festival – which was free to attend – because I’ve heard such good things about the venue as well as Louis Prima Jr that I wanted to see it for myself. After dabbling in jazz, classical and rock genres in his younger years, Louis Prima Jr. has now created a very old Vegas type big band act based on the music his father made famous. (Louis Prima Sr. – the original King of Swing – started in the 30’s and became a Vegas icon during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.) Even though it was quite warm and the sun was beating down onto the stage, Prima Jr. and his rather large band came out and played “Jump, Jive and Wail” and other swing standards with such amazing energy and great care that had the crowd, including myself, dancing, clapping and singing along, and while the quality of the audio was less than ideal (the sound disappeared if you went more than about 60 ft away from the stage) I was not disappointed when I left the M Resort and hope to see a show again real soon.
Some Halloween Happenings:
When I read Megan’s great column about the Stagecoach Depot Corn Maze in Glendale, NV, it got me thinking that since it’s on a Saturday this year I should start planning my Halloween activities sooner rather than later. All Hallows Eve has always been a pretty big deal for me and my family and luckily it’s a big deal here in Vegas as well with all sorts of activities to choose from.
As a kid growing up in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley my older brother and I would create costumes out of whatever we could scrounge up and grab a couple of my Mom’s old pillow cases for our haul and start out before the setting sun was even close to the horizon line with dozens of other neighbor kids and go door-to-door until the cotton sacks of joy were so heavy that we had to drag them home. I passed that enthusiasm on to my daughter, making her elaborate costumes every year (and often well into the night prior) from the time she was an infant to well into her teen years. Now, I don’t expect you to be a Halloween nut-job like us but if you are looking for something to do other than the usual I have a couple of oddball suggestions.
Charitable Events For All Ages
10th Annual Halloween Run for Cancer Research – Oct 24 – 7am
If you like activities that are both family-friendly and charitable this event is for you. This 5K run that benefits the Nevada Cancer Institute (NVCI) also has a fun walk, a 100-yard mini monster dash, a costume contest for children and pets within a carnival-style atmosphere that includes stilt-walkers, face painters, a fire eater, a raffle and a Four Seasons catered breakfast. Registration begins at 7am at the Nevada Cancer Institute’s Summerlin Campus at One Breakthrough Way (near Town Center Drive and I-215 in Summerlin) and the run will begin at 9 a.m. Advanced registration fees: $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 55 and older and $10 for ages 12 and under and includes a commemorative t-shirt. Non-runners can purchase breakfast only at the event for $15 for adults and $10 for children. To register and for more information, click here and type the key words Halloween Run.
The Great Pumpkin Run 5K/1 Mile Walk – Oct 30 – 7pm
Put on your costume and strap on your running shoes and head downtown to Cashman Center (850 Las Vegas Blvd. North) for a 5K race (or 1 mile walk) and Halloween bash. The Great Pumpkin Run is not a normal 5K because costumed runners and walkers will head through Woodlawn Cemetery in the dark of night and end up at an after party at Cashman Field with free food, drinks and live music. Funds raised benefits Easter Seals Southern Nevada. Registration fees before Oct 24: $25 for 5K runners and $15 for 1 mile walkers (the registration fee will increase after Oct 24).
Give Blood at Eastside Cannery – Oct 31 – 8am to 4pm
Eastside Cannery Casino and Hotel (5255 Boulder Highway) is hosting a Halloween day blood drive in the Casablanca Room between 8am and 4pm. United Blood Services will be there (not Dracula) and donors will receive a complimentary Cannery Row Buffet for two and C.A.N. players’ club members will receive 1,200 points. To make an appointment to donate blood, click here and enter the sponsor code “EastsideCannery.”
For the Younger Ones
Haunted Harvest at Springs Preserve – Oct 23-25, Oct 29-31 – 5pm to 9pm
Springs Preserve is always a great place to go for both locals and tourists of all ages and now you can take your costumed (but no masks allowed) little ones for “Safe Street” trick-or-treating, carnival games, face painting, creepy characters and entertainment inside a family-friendly atmosphere. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children 5 to 12 and free for those 4 and under and members receive half off the regular admission price but will have to purchase them at the box office to receive the member discount. For an additional fee you can enjoy spooky stories on a haunted 20-minute hay ride along the Springs Preserve trails. The cost is $5 per adult rider, $3 for children 5 to 12 and free for children 4 and younger. Click here for more information.
Next week I’ll cover the more adult only Halloween events and the best haunted houses in the Vegas valley but I need to go shopping for a Diva-esque costume first.