Sip & Sample

When one of the area’s most popular events happens on a day known for mischief, anything can happen. Creativity could possibly be at an all-time high, while merrymakers brace for a night of unbridled food, fun and frivolity while indulging in another word that starts with an F…”Fiesta!”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Colorado River fund-raiser has been going strong for 21 years. The event was created in 1998 in an area where daring to be different has always been the norm. So residents of this wide-open community-based casino town thought, “why not have an adult margarita party to raise money that will benefit kids in the process?”
Some might see it as an odd way to raise money, but when the amount collected justifies the means, and children have a safe place to play and grow, everybody wins. And that’s the whole point.
The fundraiser proved popular, the party flourished if the 21st installment is any indication, and the event has evolved to be simply called, “Fiesta!” Its spot on the calendar this year falls on Friday, July 13 (6 p.m.-9 p.m.) with the location set at the Aquarius Pavilion within the Aquarius Casino Resort.
So with this South of the Border themed cocktail party paired with a day dedicated to superstitions, let your imagination run wild just thinking about all the possibilities.
“We’re thinking the combination is just going to make the event more fun,” said Autumn Boyle-Robinson, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Colorado River CEO. “We are doing a Best Dressed Contest this year because of the margarita theme and the date it falls on. We’re thinking we’re gonna get some Day of the the Dead costumes, and all sorts of fun things.
“Our title sponsors again this year are Western Arizona Regional Medical Center (WARMC), and Advanced Animal Care with all proceeds going to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Colorado River,” she added.
Holding the event in July couldn’t happen at a better time for the club when more working area families are in need of places for their children to be during the summer months.
“The ‘Fiesta!’ really helps out with the summer funding,” Boyle-Robinson said. “Summer is an incredibly expensive time for us. Our staff over-doubles in the summer and we go from serving an average of 200 kids a day to 400 kids a day, so we really, really jump up in numbers.
“With the after-school program, we’re basically open from 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m., whereas during the summer, we’re open from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., so it’s a quite a dramatic shift.
“We go through a lot of glue, a lot of glitter and a whole lot of air conditioning,” she said.
“So this is our 21st annual and I think from a community standpoint, this is one of our favorite events because it really allows us to come in and celebrate the community, celebrate the businesses that are in the community, all while having a great time and raising money for the local kids.
“Being able to bring in funds during the summer, which is our hardest crunch time, basically really enables us to know that we can take care of the kids and we can continue to increase the number of kids we can take care of,” she said.
“We’re in the middle of trying to raise capital for our building over in Fort Mohave and this is going to go a long way in helping with that,” she said. “There are kids who need us and we don’t have the facility there to take care of them — and that’s stressful.
“The ‘Fiesta!’ has grown to be such a fun tradition here in the Tri-state, and with the community support we receive, we’re able to provide these kids with a safe place, activities, food and a positive environment,” she added.
She also said the club values its continued relationship with the Aquarius, which hosts the event and all of its team members.

The format…
Actually, “Fiesta!” is more than a party. It is a competition that sees individuals and teams of bartenders from local casinos, restaurants, saloons and businesses try to create the best margaritas they can for prizes in two categories: “Best Blended Margarita” and “Best Margarita On the Rocks.” There is also an award for “Best Booth” as an incentive for participants to create a festive atmosphere. And those in attendance get to sample all the various creations for the price of admission.
There is also a “People’s Choice” award determined by those in attendance in the form of tips in each booth’s “toke box.” The team with the most tips wins the award with all funds automatically donated back toå the Boys & Girls Club.
So far, 11 teams have signed up.
“We have the Avi Resort & Casino, the Golden Nugget Laughlin, Pioneer, Cattle Crossing, Casa Del Pollo, the Aquarius, Bikini Bay, the Sand Bar, Desert Lawn Funeral Home (they’re getting creative), Sunrise Rotary Group and Valley View Hospital,” Boyle-Robinson said. “When it comes to the various concoctions, participants usually try to keep everyone surprised, however we encourage them to get crazy creative.
The judges for this year’s event include: Dr. Daniel Gay from WARMC; Rob Terry and Mike Gonzalez from Findlay Auto; Michael Griffiths from Dot Foods; Jen Galvin and Rebecca Henwood from Advanced Animal Care; Jackie Mazzeo, executive director of the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce; John Pynakker, executive director of the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce; Dan Oehler, attorney; and Mike McGillivray, Noon Kiwanis member and lifetime supporter of the club.
The decision of this judging panel can be tough due to the creative nature of the ingredients in the margaritas and original booth themes. In the past, there have been pineapple upside down cake margaritas; all manner of fruit and vegetable margaritas, and margaritas with jalapeños; Tootsie Roll margaritas; chocolate margaritas; milk margaritas, and many more. The booths have been all over the board as to theme and design as well, with past winners going from hay bale country to fan and feathers Sin City. A favorite blast from the past was the upside down margarita delivered directly to the mouth while reclining in a vintage barber chair.
“We have a new emcee this year, Billy Brouws, who has emceed several Comic-Con events,” Boyle-Robinson said. “He’s going to be a new fresh face for the event.”

More than margaritas…
“We will have a 50/50 drawing,” Boyle-Robinson said. “We’re also going to have a prize wheel and we do a small silent auction that we call a ‘Vacation Station.’ It’s pretty much the same thing as last year. It’s a little get-away area. We have tickets to the Fiesta Bowl, tickets to the Cactus Bowl, we have a couple of ‘stay-cations,’ we have a couple things in Flagstaff — all sorts of nice little get-aways.
“And of course, we always have the ‘Fiesta!’ Wagon (filled with spirits) — it might not be a wagon, but it will be something special.

Tickets…
Tickets are $40 per person and are sold out as of this writing.With a ticket guests receive entry into the event, unlimited margarita tasting and a Mexican fajita buffet provided by the Aquarius.
For ticket information contact the Boys & Girls Clubs office, 2250 Highland Road in Bullhead City; or at clubriver.org or Facebook.com/clubriver/events; or call 928-763-1411.


FIESTA

Aquarius Pavilion within the Aquarius

Friday, July 13 (6 p.m.)