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The Independence Day Equation

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The Fourth of July bash at Ditch Fridays at Palms Pool.
Photo: Sarah Feldberg

It’s around 3:30 p.m. when I walk into Bare Pool Lounge, and the place is jammed. Every daybed hosts a slender bikini-ed young thing or a well-muscled gent. Both small pools are packed with bodies. Hands clasp drinks. Eyes squint behind Technicolor designer shades or oversized aviators. Everything is as it should be except for one tiny detail, it’s the Fourth of July, but among the fit and fashionable at Bare it’s nearly impossible to tell.

It only takes a second for me to realize my white skirt and deep blue tank top (paired with red-rimmed sunglasses) aren’t exactly par for the patriotic course here. I should’ve worn black. Maybe pink. Anything but this.

I also decipher that there’s something vastly more important than a national holiday going on this Friday afternoon at the Mirage’s adults-only outdoor lounge. It’s something of international (or at least national) significance – an event whose repercussions will be felt from Peoria to Provincetown: It’s a casting call for the new co-host of E!’s hit show Wild On. And for the 25 hopefuls lining up in a cabana to take the mic, today is the beginning of the beginning. America has a birthday every year; today is the day they get famous!

Fourth of July @ Ditch Fridays

Relaxing near the auditions, Real World: Las Vegas cast member and current Wild On guest host Trishelle Cannatella takes in the scene and admires the scenery. If you haven’t tuned in since Brooke Burke was leading the Wild On crew through booze-fueled adventures around the globe, the show has changed a bit. The new incarnation focuses more on local destinations, co-producer Dave Graham explains, a sort of American travel guide to the best parties, festivals and venues in cities across the country. That summer solstice party and beer tasting in your hometown that’s the highlight of every year? Yea, they’ll be there.

Graham and the rest of the Wild On crew are in Vegas as part of a 25-city national talent tour, auditioning women on camera and testing vital skills like the ability to read a script and ad lib on camera. It’s harder than it looks to be a party reporter. I can’t help but wonder what they’d say about the Fourth of July in Las Vegas – maybe that with the perfect ratio of skin, sun and alcohol, the holiday is, well, just like any other Friday.

Wild On Casting Call

A short while later, I arrive at my second Fourth of July event: the Palms’ Red White and YOU at Ditch Fridays. There isn’t too much red or white, but “you” are there in abundance: Ditch Fridays is, as usual, packed. And once again, the most significant evidence of Independence Day is the simple fact that so many people have the day off work to spend poolside in Vegas.

For a moment I feel the awkward glances at my holiday-themed attire, until a pig-tailed blond strides past me in a full-out American flag bikini. There are stars, there are stripes; she’s basically wearing Old Glory as interpreted by the Victoria’s Secret swimsuit collection. And then I see another. And another. The entire female Ditch Fridays wait staff are rocking the patriotic suits. And as they shuttle drinks back and forth across the pool deck, these ladies are simultaneously embodying the entire spirit of Independence Day in our city: Vegas is Vegas. Throw a flag on top and call it a day.

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