Bring Fourth the Fun

Bravo, America — 232 years old and not a single Botox injection, not a trace of liposuction and you’ve got all your original parts. (That’s more than can be said for some of your citizens.)

As we honor your b’day with a roundup of local activities today in one of your liveliest regions, we also recall our founding fathers — giants of history who could also be a bit … flaky. (No disrespect intended, Georgie, Johnny, Tommy and Benny.) To uncover their stranger side, we’ve included our Founding Fathers Fun Facts.

Consider our debut prez, Georgie Washington. Did you know he was a terrible snorer? Unfortunately, Martha didn’t have any of those nifty nose strips to stick on his schnozz.

Clark County Parks and Recreation, though once again sidelining its Red, White & Boom celebration, brings the holiday back to the community, hosting free swimming and skating at 13 pools, water parks and skate parks. Call 455-8200 for a list of events and facilities. (Fun fact: John Adams began smoking at age 8. Call him one of the country’s founding Puff Daddies.)

Station Casinos hosts a massive Grucci fireworks spectacular, "Lights Over Vegas," at 9:30 p.m. at six of its properties — Red Rock Resort, Green Valley Ranch, Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho, Sunset Station and Santa Fe Station. The accompanying score, with music by Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen and others, will be simulcast on KKLZ-FM, 96.3; KCYE-FM, 104.3; KFRH-FM, 102.7; and KDWN-AM, 720. (Fun fact: At age 57, Washington had all his teeth pulled. We suspect his dentist was reincarnated as Steve Martin in "Little Shop of Horrors.")

Boulder City hosts the 60th annual Damboree, with a parade beginning at 9 a.m. down Nevada Highway; ceremonies and midway booths at Broadbent Park at 10 a.m.; and festivities from 6 to 11 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Park, with fireworks at 9 p.m. Call 293-9256 or visit bcnv.org. (Fun fact: One draft of the Declaration of Independence included a line by Ben Franklin advising King George to "kiss our collective arse." Imagine if he’d written the entire document.)

Henderson gets patriotic from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Events Plaza and surrounding area. There’s free entertainment on the Amphitheatre Stage and Convention Center Lawn Stage, including performances by the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, Beatles tribute band FAB, and country singers Randy Anderson and Emily West, followed by fireworks shot from the top of City Hall. Call 267-2171. (Fun fact: During his administration, Thomas Jefferson ran up a wine bill of $10,835, in early-19th century dollars, and invented a hemp machine for the marijuana — legal at the time — he and Washington grew for soil stabilization. … Yeah, right.)

Henderson also fires up the fireworks as the capper to the free 7 to 9 p.m. celebration at Anthem Hills Park, with entertainment provided by Oasis Jazz, KOAS-FM. Call 267-2171. (Fun fact: Washington’s second inaugural address — given when he had only one tooth and wore painful dentures — was only 133 words and lasted 90 seconds. Sadly, it did not become a model for future political speeches.)

At Summerlin’s Hills Park, "Phantom — the Las Vegas Spectacular" star Brent Barrett will front the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for kids 6-12 and free for kids 5 and under. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Call 895-2787. (Fun fact: Adams was the first president to wear long pants instead of knee britches. On behalf of GQ magazine editors, we thank you, J.A.)

Lake Las Vegas chimes in with an 8 p.m. concert by the group America, followed by fireworks. Tickets are $40-$75, and $100 for floating VIP seats, while kids 2 and under are admitted free. Call 474-4000. (Fun fact: Franklin, an occasional visitor to the Hellfire sex club, wrote essays on how to select a mistress by picking an older woman, avoid flatulence by sipping perfume, and compiled a drinker’s dictionary with 250 names for being blitzed, including "cerubimic," "biggy" and "halfway to Concord." So he was rumored to be a drunken adulterer. At least he didn’t pass gas.)

Free carnival games and attractions kick off a celebration at Henderson’s Morrell Park at 5 p.m., climaxed by a Grucci fireworks extravaganza at 9 p.m. Call 267-2171. (Fun fact: Jefferson hid an illegal billiards table under the dome at Monticello, wanted to keep a live grizzly bear on the White House grounds and taught a pet mockingbird to peck food from his lips and hop up the stairs. And they say Britney’s odd?)

Compete against lifeguards in games to win prizes in Yankee Doodle at the Pool, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Baker (229-1532), Doolittle (229-6398), and Freedom Park/Municipal pools (229-6309). Cost is $1 for children, $1.50 for seniors and $2 for adults. (Fun fact: The Adams-Jefferson presidential contests invented dirty campaigning. Jefferson supporters spread rumors Adams planned to marry off one of his sons to a daughter of King George. Adams countered by claiming if Jefferson was elected, "murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practiced." Memo to McCain and Obama: C’mon guys, step it up!)

Food, music, swimming and games highlight the Red, White and Pool party at the Pavilion Center Pool from noon to 4 p.m. Cost is $3 for all ages. Call 229-1488. (Fun fact: Washington bred hound dogs he called Tarter and Sweet Lips. We’d rather not know how he came to name the latter.)

The entire valley is invited to the Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, featuring more than 60 entries, from 9 to 11 a.m. The parade steps off at Hillpointe Road and Hills Center Drive, concluding at Trailwood Drive. Call 341-5500. (Fun fact: When Jefferson’s mother’s house burned down, his first question was: "What about my books?" You have to wonder if she ever beat him with wire hangers as a child.)

The El Cortez plans to Rock the Block starting at 6 p.m. with a free outdoor concert at Fremont Street’s east entertainment district. Alternative rockers Taproot and Everlast are on the bill, as well as DJ Lethal. Call 385-5200. Elsewhere on Fremont Street, "Don McLean’s American Pie Viva-Vision Light and Sound Show" kicks off with a celebration at 9 and 11 p.m.

(Fun fact: Franklin wanted the turkey — not the eagle — as America’s symbol. Maybe he changed his mind when Washington, Adams and Jefferson beat the stuffing out of him.)

Hey, America: Happy birthday, babe.

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.

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