NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE › Thanksgiving comes with a built-in lull: the after-dinner, pre-bedtime hours that drag on, usually spent in front of the TV. The eating’s over, but the digestion isn’t, and the only thing to look forward to is standing in line at the mall on Black Friday. Let’s be honest — it’s anticlimactic.
But here’s another way for you to think about it: Thanksgiving is also a four-day weekend, and four-day weekends are not to be squandered. This is where Las Vegas really shines.
A short list of things you can do here that probably aren’t available back home: drive a racing Ferrari as fast as you like at a real track, courtesy of Exotics Racing; SkyJump off the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States; ride a zip line below the electronic canopy that covers Fremont Street; rent a dune buggy from SunBuggy Fun Rentals and bash around the desert; see the sun rise over the city from the vantage of a hot-air balloon; and speed to the Grand Canyon and back, right over the Hoover Dam, in a helicopter.
GIVE THANKS › Thanksgiving doesn’t change much from year to year. That’s good. Repetition and meaning are pillars of tradition, and tradition imparts identity. We know who we are by knowing where we’ve come from.
Las Vegas often isn’t the same city from year to year. That’s also good. Restless innovation is the seed of creativity.
I haven’t lived in Las Vegas all my life — natives are as rare as rain — but I have been around long enough to appreciate the advantages of a place where the past is measured in months instead of decades and the only thing certain about the future is that it probably won’t look anything like the present. And even without a parade, a hometown football team to cheer on or falling leaves, if Thanksgiving 2012 is as atypical as Thanksgiving 2011, I’ll be thankful.
Bob Whitby is a Las Vegas-based writer, editor and wanderer. He recently spent two weeks riding motorcycles in the Utah desert, just because it’s there.