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Sun Up to Sun Down, Mesquite Celebrates the Fourth-Video/Slideshow
Posting Date: 07/05/2012
By Barbara Ellestad
Joe Perez, by taking Top Dog honors in Eureka's contest, garnered $1,000 in advertising for his Vietnam Veterans of America charity. Photo by Barbara Ellestad
It was one of those days that no matter where you went or what you did, there were smiles on everyone's face, people were visiting and laughing with each other, and the community spirit was infectious. That's how it was in Mesquite on July 4, 2012 as the activities kicked off in the early morning and continued through the night.
From the Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser at the Senior Center, sponsored by the Virgin Valley Little League, to the Recreation Center kids' activities, the fun traveled on down the street to the Eureka Casino Hotel in late afternoon.
Over 20 non-profit organizations were on hand in this year's new Community Vendor Village provided by the Eureka. They weren't just raising funds for their particular project, but were sharing in the spirit of giving back to the town. The Village was an idea that Greg Lee, President of the Eureka Mesquite gaming company, and Andre Carrier, Chief Operating Officer of the Eureka, picked up earlier in the spring when they conducted focus groups of citizens in Mesquite, asking them how the Eureka could help provide a greater sense of community spirit.
"More than 20 organizations took their time on Independence Day to set up a table, maybe sell some things, or just say 'hey, we're here, would you like to volunteer with us.' What's interesting, watching it today, is how they all get to visit with one another," Carrier remarked about the Vendor Village to the Mesquite Citizen Journal.
"It's kind of our convention of non-profits in Mesquite," he quipped.
Turning serious, Carrier went on to explain that the Village "shows the depth of our community. This puts a real identity to the type of people who live here in Mesquite. It shows just how many volunteer organizations there are. The gravitas of some of the issues they're taking on, the extent to which they're giving of their time and treasures, is wonderful."
The proof was in the crowds of thousands that swarmed the Eureka's parking lot and nearby streets as they enjoyed a free evening of fun and entertainment.
One of this year's new additions to the festivities was a hot dog eating contest from which the winner was awarded $1,000 of free advertising for the charity of his choice. Six men competed for the prize, sponsoring non-profit organizations ranging from the Chamber of Commerce to We Care for Animals, to the Vietnam Veterans of America.
It all came down to who could eat, or more likely stuff down their throats, the most hot dogs in five minutes. Onlookers in the crowd cheered on the men, laughing and calling out cries of support for their favorite contestant.
Joe Perez, representing the Vietnam Veterans, was the frontrunner from the beginning. Swathing the dogs in mustard and ketchup, then dunking them in water, apparently helped grease the way down his pipes, as he devoured 11 wieners, bun and all, during the countdown. Perez was presented a sash with the honor of being named "Top Dog."
"We thought about different gifts we could give the winner," Carrier later told the MCJ. "For a lot of these groups, just having that kind of word-of-mouth advertising and letting people know they are out there, is great."
"You can go out, in a lot of different ways, and try to say thank you to the people you work with and to the guests and customers that choose you. It can often be a platitude," Carrier said. "With this gesture, we really are just trying to say thank you, thank you for treating our family business the way you do, the success you've allowed us to have, and the stability we've been able to provide our 550 employees. That's all we wish to do,"
"We also wish to stop the clock," Carrier continued. "Today, on Independence Day, we are supposed to stop and be attentive to this great, great country of ours, who is a beacon to the world, and for the liberties and freedoms that we have. Today is a celebration of that. It's also a day to pay respect to the people who have provided that for us at different times when it was challenged. We're trying to provide a ceremony for people to stop and spend a moment on that."
And indeed, it seemed the people of Mesquite did spend an evening enjoying the beautiful music of the Nevada Pops Orchestra, directed by Dr. Richard McGee. The Orchestra made its first Fourth of July appearance last year by special request of Lee's mother, Doris. She is one of the founders of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and added the musical component of the annual fireworks show as a way to entertain local residents.
"With all of our work with veterans' organizations here in Mesquite, it really shows us what a tremendous city we have," Lee told the crowd gathered for the show. "It's a community filled with patriotism and caring. I don't think outsiders understand what a great city we have. But when I look out and see all of you, all of our friends, it really shows everyone in the world what a special place we have."
After more than hour of patriotic music by the Pops Orchestra, accompanied in some numbers by vocalist Laura Taylor, the throngs of people enjoyed a spectacular fireworks show with all the aahhs and oohhs emanating from young and old alike.
The entire day proved what a great community Mesquite really is.
Posted Date: 07/05/2012 Thank you Eureka for the best fireworks show I have ever seen. You are really appreciated for all you do for this community. By: Jeannie
Posted Date: 07/05/2012 I love the Eureka. By: Zack
Posted Date: 07/05/2012 Thanks to Eureka, Mesquite had a great 4th of July celebration. This was a true community event that people enjoyed and awed at the spectacular fireworks display. Thanks again Eureka for a job well done. By: Elgin
Posted Date: 07/05/2012 the evening show with music and fire works were the best I have seen here. It was absolutely wonderful! I think the fire works went on for at leasdt 25 minutes and just "rained" down upon us or that is how it seemed. It was the greatest! Thanks to the Eureka. By: Carol Thatcher
Posted Date: 07/06/2012 Eureka did it again! Fantastic show with the Nevada Pops Orchestra and fireworks. First class all the way. Thank you!! By: Sandy