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Opting Out of Black Friday


Mystic Falls

Mystic Falls at Sam's Town, decked out in its holiday finest. Not pictured: Cowboy Santa; lasers.

If there’s an award for most clever sales campaign disguised as a counter-culture movement, outdoor recreation gear seller REI should win for #OptOutside, which urges people to skip shopping on Black Friday and head outside to hike/climb/camp instead. Not that I’m questioning a giant lifestyle-driven brand barn’s motivations or anything — I leave more money at REI than at all the other retailers I patronize combined — but it’s kind of obvious to me that selling recreation, on any day of the year, is tantamount to selling recreational gear. Plus, the campaign offers consumers the smug self-satisfaction of knowing that they’re helping the store give its workers the day off, ostensibly to lead guided tours in places that require carabiners and down vests. Brilliant!

Scaling a cliff not your cure of choice for tryptophan hangover? Not to worry — there are a few non-outdoors local alternatives to shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, too:

• Major car and truck dealers kick off the Motor Trend International Auto Show at the Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center, allowing the public to come in and kick tires and test-drive new-model vehicles from 20 manufacturers. The event runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

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• For what’s become an annual tradition, Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall has turned its indoor atrium, Mystic Falls Park, into a winter wonderland. Every hour from 5 to 10 p.m., it comes to life with a 15-minute laser light, animatronics and artificial snowfall show. On Friday, Cowboy Santa begins his holiday run there, welcoming children on Thursdays and Friday 4-8:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 12-8:30 p.m.

• Nevada Ballet Theatre presents a pop-up presentation of the classic holiday ballet The Nutcracker at Discovery Children’s Museum hourly on Friday beginning at noon. The “Nutcracker Extravaganza,” scheduled 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., includes a red carpet walk, autographs and costumes for children, and it rounds out Discovery’s month-long Nutcracker-themed exhibits and programming throughout the museum. More information is available here.

And for those of you who are planning to opt for an outdoors activity — REI-inspired or not — The Southern Nevada BLM warns that Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area will be crowded, particularly from 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday. In cases of high congestion, the 13-mile scenic drive may be temporarily closed. Call 702-515-5350 to find out if it’s open. Or you can avoid Red Rock altogether and head out to Lake Mead, where rangers are leading a moderate, 6-mile hike to Liberty Bell Arch. Reserve a spot by calling 702-293-8990.