Thus is the paradox facing us as we prepare for this glorious three-day holiday weekend. For Fresno is more than just a dot on the map, a place to top off the tank and grab a six pack as one heads to Bakersfield or Modesto. It is a land-locked Hawaii, an arid Bermuda and a Disneyland of the creatively challenged all rolled into one. And as we put the finishing touches on the schedules for Simply Red, Jamiroquai and Rodney Carrington, those of us in the tour processing pits can’t help but wonder; how can people not love Fresno?

Not a day goes by that those of us tasked with maintaining the schedules for The Roots and Scout Niblett fail to fall down on our knees and give thanks to the Creator for this idyllic little garden nirvana called Fresno. As we pass the historical marker commemorating this nation’s first drive-by shooting, we realize just how fortunate we are to live in the raisin capitol of the known universe. Our chests burst with pride as we lead visitors through the house that hosted this country’s first home-invasion robbery and we smile as we recite the city’s long-time slogan, “Is it hot enough for you?”

We see the Fresno-envy in each and every email we receive. No matter if someone is asking about The Blood Brothers, pointing out a rare-misspelling in the routing for Jump, Little Children or inquiring about changes in the Finn Brothers schedule, each message ends with the familiar postscript: “Gee, I wish I lived in Fresno.”

As the staff gets ready for the first holiday weekend of summer, we can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed when we realize that we live in an area other people can only dream of. We’ll treat our children to picnics at the auto-wrecking yards and at night we’ll dance beneath the carbon-monoxide haze that so brilliantly shows off the lights of our metro skyline. We may be tour date professionals, checking The Rolling Stones for additions and Elton John for deletions, but we still know how to party. Yes, as we make our plans for three wonderful days of dust, heat and bullets, we count our blessings for being able to live in this heavenly piece of real estate known as Fresno, CA.

But come the Fourth of July, we’re getting the hell out of town and going to Vegas. After all, one can only take so much paradise.