Memorial Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer in these parts because our weather allows more fun in the sun than just about anywhere else. By now, spring breaks are over, most high school and college graduation ceremonies have taken place and outdoor enthusiasts already are making plans.
However, it is also the most solemn of American holidays designated to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending the nation. While area residents decorate gravesites with American flags and wreaths, and attend somber ceremonies to honor all of these brave men and women, Americans everywhere love to celebrate life and the freedoms granted because of them.
Tri-state residents celebrate the changing of the season and the home of the brave in a big way with outdoor cookouts and family gatherings that often revolve around lots of food and water action. Here in the valley, many people take to the Colorado River and Lake Mohave, so many places will be crowded, including campgrounds and RV parks.
For those who like to do things a little differently, there are activities for you, too.
Let’s say preparing large meals for company or heating up the kitchen isn’t exactly how you planned to spend a holiday weekend. The Avi Resort and Casino has dining options that don’t require any work at all with cooking or cleaning up. Simply show up, choose the restaurant and leave the rest to them.

Feathers Café
Memorial Weekend special — a steakhouse burger (grilled beef patty topped with bacon, onion straws, bleu cheese and A1 sauces), served with choice of sides for $12.99 per person. The special is served all day from Friday-Monday, May 24-27.

Native Harvest Buffet
On Sunday, May 26 (3:30 p.m.-9 p.m.), buffet items include a carving station featuring prime rib and turkey breast, hot favorites such as beef BBQ and savory honey BBQ pork ribs, fried shrimp, chili-rubbed pork loin and much more. Soup and salad station. Also there’s a “dessert island” and a flambé station. The cost is $22.99 per person.
On Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, there are two 2-for-1 buffet options — the All-American Brunch (7 a.m.-1 p.m.), for $15.99 per person, or the All-American Dinner (4 p.m.-8 p.m.) for $16.99 per person.
Diners must be at least 21 years old and present a myAdvantage Card. Specials only available for parties of two. See Player Services for details. Management reserves all rights.

Fireworks on the River
Both locals and regular visitors to Laughlin know the Avi doesn’t wait for the Fourth of July to set off a major fireworks display. Beginning in 1996, and continuing every year since, they have been filling the skies above the Colorado River with the amped-up creations of Zambelli Internationale Fireworks on Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend.
So the Zambellis launch rockets and all manner of colorful combinations into the sky above the river, during their Fireworks on the River show Sunday, May 26 (beginning at dusk). Ideal seating is at the Avi’s Beach Overlook.
These displays are not only a chance for guests to enjoy big time fireworks but a chance for Zambelli to test new pyrotechnics and stretch its creative legs.
From start to finish these displays take several months of planning and preparation — from selecting the music to carefully choreographing the shells to fire at the precise moment it is called for in the music.
For the Avi display, Zambelli traditionally utilizes several low- to mid-level design segments that employ multiple positions and both symmetrical and asymmetrical “looks.” Because Zambelli sets off the fireworks for the show across the river from the Avi’s beach, the river itself becomes part of the canvas. And because most of Zambelli’s shows incorporate some patriotic theme, that canvas will shine red, white and blue.
It can be seen Zambelli knows how to make a show to match the occasion. After all, their motto is “When the sun goes down, we shine.”
Because of Zambelli’s more than 20-year history with the Avi, they certainly know what the crowd has come to expect.
Those expectations are high because Zambelli has been involved in some pretty impressive displays. Their pyrotechnics have been televised on “MSNBC Investigates,” the Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and the BBC — and they have lit up the sky at presidential inaugurations; at Disneyland and Disney World; at Super Bowl games; and at the “Thunder Over Louisville” spectacular at the Kentucky Derby. And more importantly for us, they get to test their skills at the Avi three times a year. In other words, there will be lots of crazy stuff going on in the sky.
After the display, Avi myAdvantage Club card members will also have a chance at their share of $1,500. At 10 p.m., three $500 winners will be drawn. To enter the drawings, swipe your myAdvantage card at the kiosk located on the casino floor on the day of the display. It is free to sign up for the card membership.

Memorial Weekend Pool Party
Most area resorts have beautiful pools with a variety of amenities, but the downside is they are for hotel guests only. However, the Riverside Resort is going against the grain on Sunday, May 26, (noon-8 p.m.) by hosting an adult pool party open to the public (must be at least 21 years old to attend).
The pool is typically for guests only, but the resort is celebrating Memorial Day weekend by opening the pool to the public, with live music performed by the Leonard Interior Band (noon-7 p.m.) and offering drink specials. There is a $10 per person entry fee and tickets are sold at the door when they enter the pool area. Hotel and RV Park guests receive free admission.
The public gets the chance to experience the newly renovated South Tower Pool — the picture of opulence, luxury, style and class everywhere you look. The space is sleek and edgy with geometric shapes, clean white décor, and a granite bar.
Everything a guest could want from a pool-side experience is available. There are multiple levels of seating and coves to steal away for some privacy, a huge pool to accommodate a large number of patrons, a shower station to rinse off, food and beverage services, all with a premier view of the Colorado River and the Black Mountains. It can be accessed through the casino from the glass doors by the escalators to go to the Karaoke Dance Club.
The new area not only includes a pool and hot tub, but also features cabanas, a huge circular bar with TVs, fire pits and couches overlooking the river, and an outdoor stage for entertainment.
There are plenty of lounge chairs beside the pool and some set up inside the shallow entrances to the pool, but for extra comfort and shelter from the sun, renting a cabana is just the ticket.
Each cabana comes with a TV, overhead misting fan, padded loungers, six bottles of water and bottle service from the bar. They cost $40 an hour to rent, with a four-hour minimum. See the front desk from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. to reserve a cabana.
For information call 800-227-3849 or visit

Beach Concert Series
When the sun goes down on Saturday, May 25, the Harrah’s Summer Concert Series on the beach kicks-off with Sin City KISS as the first act to take the stage. A DJ starts the party (7:30 p.m.); followed by the KISS tribute band performing (9 p.m.). The concerts are free, open to the public and all ages are welcome. It is standing room only, however, beach chairs are available for rent. (For more about Sin City KISS, see pages 12-13).


Arizona Veterans Memorial Park

Those looking for quiet reflection over the Memorial Weekend can find it at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Park. This unique park is more like two parks in one. While both are situated along the beautiful Colorado River and within yards of each other, the southern peninsula is tucked behind American Legion Post 87, and the entrance to the northern peninsula is right next to Lazy Harry’s, a popular nightspot for area locals.
The southern portion is pretty easy to find, while the northern portion requires navigating a few neighborhood side streets.
The entire park is well manicured and meticulously maintained with plenty of benches for solitude, reflection and remembrance. It is a powerful place of respect and gratitude for those Americans who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
The southern portion resembles the bow of a ship, with its metal rails and memorial wall with bronze panels engraved with the names of all Arizonans — more than 3,000 service men and women — killed in action in conflicts dating back more than 100 years. On each side of the wall are large eagles surrounded by 50 stars that represent the 50 states.
Colorful desert landscaping, flags, and tall palm trees complete the park, with some very vocal birds hanging around this serene environment.
The northern portion of the park has majestic white columns surrounding an eternal flame honoring Arizona Medal of Honor recipients. The Arizona Veterans Memorial Park also includes a stone memorial honoring the USS Arizona, which was destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, marking America’s entry into World War II. Arizona firefighters who traveled to New York City after 9/11 are also honored.
Both area residents and Veterans United, Inc., a locally formed volunteer nonprofit organization, maintain the park, which is open year round and admission is free. Donations can be left at the park.
Directions to the southern portion of the park — from Highway 95, take Riverview Drive toward the river, keep driving until the road ends at Riviera Boulevard and Clearwater Drive. Turn left on Riviera Boulevard, into the large parking lot in front of American Legion Post 87, 2249 Clearwater. (Follow the brown signs from Riverview Drive).
Directions to the northern part of the park — take Clearwater Drive to Steiger Drive, turning left. Then turn left on Whitewater Way, which turns into Whitewater Drive following the narrow street around to the stop sign at Rio Grande Road, turning left. The entrance to the memorial park is on Rio Grande Road, next to Lazy Harry’s at 2170 Rio Grande Road.