The Mirage Volcano roars back to life Monday after being dormant since February for a $25 million renovation.
If you show up, listen closely and you may hear someone quietly singing Jimmy Buffett's "I Don't Know and I Don't Care."
J. Seth Korn, 23, a graduate assistant for residential education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, doesn't plan to miss the reopening of the redesigned iconic trademark, which has been hurling fire into the sky since The Mirage opened its doors Nov. 22, 1989.
He was the winner of a share-your-volcano-stories contest on Facebook sponsored by The Mirage.
I didn't enter, but my personal favorite was the tourist who, years back, asked a valet employee "Is that real lava?"
Korn's story starts with a childhood airplane flight from the East Coast to Las Vegas to see something special, as his father put it, in "the world's biggest circus."
They arrived at night and began walking along the Strip for what seemed like "miles and miles," Korn said, when his father started singing "I Don't Know and I Don't Care."
It was a song the father and son often sang together, and young Korn joined in.
As they walked, his father told him to close his eyes, and keep singing, that a big surprise was in store.
Scary noises were nearby, he recalled, when his father suddenly gave him permission to open his eyes.
In his contest-winning letter, Korn wrote he opened his eyes to find "a huge volcano" in front of him. He recalled asking his father, "Where am I gonna go when the volcano goes?"
They watched the volcano for hours because he didn't "want to leave this amazing mountain."
His father told him to "always remember this volcano and this experience we had together" and promised he would "always be here for you through thick and thin. One day I will not be around all the time and you will be all grown up.
"When you miss me and all you want is to hear my voice, close your eyes, remember this volcano and sing our song. As long as this volcano is still here I will be here."
Korn, a resident of Hamden, Conn., decided to attend graduate school at UNLV and upon his arrival, he unpacked and headed for the "circus" he remembered from childhood.
He re-created his first visit, humming Buffett's song and closing his eyes when he reached the volcano. When he opened his eyes, he saw a sign that said the volcano was being renovated.
He returns regularly, he said, to remember a special night with his father, Jeff, who is still alive, and "all those loved ones from back home."
NEW LAS VEGANS
A former NBA All-Star and a veteran NFL linebacker are the latest sports names to call Las Vegas home.
Spencer Haywood, who retired in 1983 after averaging 19.2 points during his 760-game pro basketball career, recently moved here to work in the tile and marble business. He turns 60 in April.
Clark Haggans started 61 of 107 games with the Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the Arizona Cardinals this season as an unrestricted free agent. He starred at Colorado State University with future NFL All-Pro linebacker Joey Porter before both became starters with the Steelers.
Haggans has family in Las Vegas, his offseason home.
BULL RIDING LINGERIE?
Sexy and bull riding rarely fit in the same sentence, but the Houston Texans Cheerleaders will change that on Monday.
In a warmup to the National Finals Rodeo, they are hosting "Lingerie & Bull Riding" at CatHouse, the Luxor ultralounge, where a mechanical bull awaits them.
The event, sponsored by Crown Royal, will feature special $200 bottle service and $5 drinks.
THIS WEEK IN 1977 ...
Three and a half months after his death, Elvis Presley was back on Billboard's Top 40 with "My Way," from the CBS special "Elvis in Concert." It reached No. 22. His last No. 1 was "Suspicious Minds" in September 1969.