It’s doubtful any casino in Eastern Pennsylvania depends more on the summer than Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono, Pa.
Its sylvan sitting and proximity to outdoor activities uniquely position it, and this year, more than ever, it seems, the casino-hotel complex itself is cashing in on the warm weather.
“We feel (the location) is our competitive advantage, offered John Culetsu, the property’s general manager and vice president. “Everyone has the same slot machines and same table games. But when you look at some of the amenities we have and the rural setting of the Poconos…for instance four or five miles away, you can go hiking on the Appalachian Trail.”
Another of the resort’s offerings is golf. The 18-hole course that sits a few hundred yards from the casino has been there since the slot reels started turning at Mount Airy in late 2007 (it actually dates back to the 1960s, when it was part of the since-demolished Mount Airy Lodge). But earlier this year, a new 5,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art clubhouse was introduced.
This summer is also seeing the Under the Stars Summer Outdoor Concert Series. Friday, the al fresco program kicks off with a set by disco titans K.C. & The Sunshine Band. They’ll be followed by R&B crooner Brian McKnight (July 28), country star Colin Raye (Aug. 17) and ‘70s hard rockers Grand Funk Railroad (Aug. 18). All performances will be held regardless of weather conditions.
Beyond these paid events, the gaming hall is staging a free fireworks display every Friday in August (as well as on Saturday, Sept. 1).
Not that Culetsu and his minions are ignoring what happens under their roof. Recent upgrades to the casino include some $2 million worth of new slot machines, among them popular titles like “Dark Knight,” Clue” and “The Hangover.” The long-awaited Michael Jackson machines will go online next month.
There are also a new high-limit slot lounge and a new, 11-table poker parlor.
The way Culetsu sees it, his gambling den has no choice but to keep moving forward. Referring to the expansion in the Eastern Pennsylvania market and, especially, the opening of the massive Resorts World slot barn at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y., he insisted it would be a bad move on his part to allow his property to stagnate.
“We can’t allow ourselves to get soft,” he said.
For information about upcoming entertainment and Mount Airy Casino Resort, go to www.mountairycasino.com.
There may be a funnier stand-up act than Howie Mandel’s (though that’s doubtful), but it says here there’s definitely none that is braver. The veteran TV star and current “America’s Got Talent” judge, who headlines Saturday at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, spends most of his time on stage conjuring lightning-quick (and usually side-splitting) responses to inanities yelled at him by audience members. The result is a one-of-a-kind comedy experience that is not to be missed.
Show time is 9 p.m. Admission is $75 and $65. For tickets, call 866-900-4849, or go to www.theborgata.com.
Young singer goes old school
South Philly native Brandon Tomasello’s obsession with old-school show business is back in the spotlight at Resorts Atlantic City this weekend.
Tomasello is the tuxedoed 19-year-old who paid homage to his hero last winter with “Sing, Swing, Sinatra,” which played the casino’s Superstar Theater. Now, he’s presenting a new, more variety-oriented revue, “Back In the Day” in the smaller Starlight Room. The production features Tomasello singing the songs of artists like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., and the comedy stylings (as they used to say) of Andre & Cirelli.
Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $20. For tickets, call 800-736-1420, or go to www.ticketmaster.com.
Mangia with the Snookster
Queen of Some Media Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is the guest of honor at Wednesday’s grand opening of Earl of Sandwich, the new snack shop inside Showboat Atlantic City.
The mom-to-be and marketing powerhouse will preside over the ribbon-cutting festivities. But she’ll also be hyping her book, the New York Times best-seller, “Gorilla Beach” (which we’re certain is a 21stcentury “War and Peace”).
And just because she’s that kind of gal, the first 100 people who show up will receive a free, signed copy of the tome.
The fun begins at 2 p.m. Admission is free.