After tipping their caps to soldiers, sailors and fliers who died in wars, many people view Memorial Day weekend as a great excuse to party – or at least socialize with friends and family.
Once casually used, “socialize” became an almost ugly word, at the heart of the pandemic. Now that cases and deaths from the disease have plummeted, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention giving the OK for those vaccinated to put masks away, Mesa is poised to party like it’s 2019.
“People are ready to be social again!” Mesa Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Sally Harrison proclaimed.
But she quickly added, “I am hearing that some people are still being cautious even after having been vaccinated.”
According to Nancy Hormann, president and executive director of the Downtown Mesa Association, the scene downtown is reminiscent of a line from an old movie:
They’re baaaack …
“Everything’s open, now,” Hormann said. “We’re expecting to have a very busy weekend.”
Last Monday morning, she was still giddy over what she had seen over the weekend.
“It was hugely busy this past weekend … It’s just been crazy how busy things are,” she said. “Saturday night, every bar and restaurant was packed.”
Though downtown restaurants and bars stayed afloat during the darkest times of the pandemic, much of their business was to go – or with patrons socially distanced on patios.
The change over the last two weeks, since restrictions have been lifted, has been remarkable, Hormann noted.
“Now, everything’s busy, inside and out.”
She expects the three-day weekend to accelerate that trend:
“People have been so pent up and they’re ready to get out.”
Pretty much running right down the boundary of “memorial” and “fun” is Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery at 7900 E Main St.
According to its website: “We invite you to join us for our Memorial Day event, Sunday, May 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or blanket!”
The funeral home will host “patriotic music from Chad Freeman and Redline and a delicious meal with fellow community members.”
Though not until next weekend, a bigger crowd is expected at Eastmark’s first Canacopia, what event planner HDE is calling its “first post COVID-19 production.”
The event will take place from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 5.
Canacopia is a festival “celebrating all spirits in a can including craft beer, hard seltzers, wine and other 21+ beverages.”
The Hourglass Cats, Jim Bachmann and the Day Drinkers and Tommy Price and the Stilettos will be cranking out music all day.
Online presale tickets are $68 until June 4. Tickets purchased at the event will be available for $80. All attendees must be over the age of 21.
The Eastmark festival will be at 10100 East Ray Rd.
School’s out — and pool’s in.
The city of Mesa opened its pools May 29, just in time for Memorial Day.
All nine pools will be open, with some capacity restrictions. Hours are 1 to 2:50 p.m. and 3 to 4:50 p.m.
Families can pre-register for $2 per person or drop-in at the public swim rate of $2 per child and $4 per adult.
The city pools:
• Brimhall Aquatic Complex, 4949 E. Southern Ave., 480-644-5087.
• Carson Aquatic Complex, 525 N. Westwood, 480-644-2374.
• Fremont Aquatic Complex, 1101 N. Power Road, 480-644-2369.
• Kino Aquatic Center, 848 N. Horne, 480-644-2376.
• Mesa Aquatic Complex, 1630 E. Southern Ave., 480-644-3036.
• Rhodes Aquatic Complex, 1860 S. Longmore, 480-644-2550.
• Shepherd Aquatic Complex, 1407 N. Alta Mesa Dr., 480-644-3037.
• Skyline Aquatic Center, 845 S. Crismon, 480-644-6040.
• Stapley Aquatic Complex, 3250 W. Hermosa Vista, 480-644-4977.
For those who prefer to be on the water over being in the water, the Desert Belle Tour Boat launches at 14011 N. Bush Highway.
Admission is $15-24 “for a party on the water!”
Visit desertbelle.com for the calendar of cruises, which include bands playing pop, jazz and rock.
And Salt River Tubing is gearing up for the summer down the road at 9200 N. Bush Highway.
Tubing the Lower Salt River rapids in the Tonto National Forest “is a recreational paradise that offers ‘chills and thrills’ while floating on cool and refreshing mountain-stream waters.”
Tube rentals and shuttle service are available starting at 9 a.m. every day for $19 per person. For information, visit: saltrivertubing.com.
It will be “game on” for music and more at the Revelry, “an entertainment and gaming venue featuring AZ’s largest covered outdoor patio” at 1065 N. Dobson Road.
The Riverview-area “food and entertainment collective” is a sprawling 60,000 square feet, spread out over two buildings and the canopy.
The Revelry was bold enough to open in November, just as another wave of COVID-19 was sweeping over Mesa.
After taking baby steps to ensure social distancing with limited crowds, it’s now a full-go at the Revelry, which features a “Country Concert in the Park” from 1 to 7 p.m. today, May 30.
A Johnny Cash Tribute Band plays at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 5.
In between the two concerts, DJs will be spinning to get crowds dancing at the Revelry.
Roosters Country, Baja Joe’s, the What the Hell Bar and other watering holes around the city will have music blaring over the holiday weekend.
Harrison of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce urges those planning to be out and about to have a little patience and understanding.
“Many of our restaurants are struggling with help,” she said. “I would ask people to support our restaurants, but have a little patience when doing so.
“Many of our folks are very short handed.” ′