By John Toole
---- — SALEM — Margaritas Restaurants are going to party like it’s the end of the world.
Which, if the ancient Mayan calendar is to be believed, it well could be.
The calendar runs out Friday, Dec. 21. It could simply signify the start of a new cycle in time, but no one really knows for sure. A popular theory is that is the last day for humans of the earthling persuasion.
The people who run Margaritas thought patrons deserved a chance to mark the occasion at their 23 restaurants in New England and Pennsylvania, including Salem.
“So, it’s our last celebration,” said Greg Tatarian, general manager of the Salem franchise. “We’re working on specifics now.”
But Margaritas isn’t waiting until Dec. 21 to hold parties.
“Well, yeah, because if the world ends, what good is that?” said Patrick Dowling, the restaurant chain’s marketing coordinator.
The celebration will be the night before, on Thursday, Dec. 20, from 5 p.m. to midnight.
“This way, you can sleep in,” Dowling said.
Or, as Margaritas founder John Pelletier puts it: “Friday sounds a little hectic anyway.”
Besides, partying on Dec. 20 just made good business sense.
“Say the world ends at 4 on the 21st,” Dowling said. “You’ve only got lunch to show for it.”
Margaritas decided to hold the parties because, as Darling said, “We like to have fun.”
Plus there was the Mayan influence on Mexican culture, which is a cherished part of the chain’s own culture.
“Mayans say the world will end on Friday. So, join us in the lounge for a night of fun on your last day on Earth,” a poster promoting the celebration reads.
It promises prizes, giveaways, contests. Among the contests are the Armageddon Jalapeno eating contest, the “Sitting here in Limbo,” and the “If you were the last man on Earth” pickup line competition.
There’s a foreboding skyline and fireworks to put prospective revelers in the mood.
Guests will be asked to keep a proper perspective on the end of the world. They will fill out index cards or scrawl on sheets at the restaurants.
“What are you going to miss?” Dowling said. “What are the things you don’t have to deal with or won’t miss?”
There will be glow necklaces and beads distributed to patrons that could come in handy.
“You might want to find the people you were partying with the night before,” Dowling said.
The chain wasn’t planning any end-of-the-world specials.
“You shouldn’t be worried about cleaning out your wallet,” Dowling said. “The world is ending.”
People seem to be taking the end of the world in stride.
“We’ve got a lot of positive feedback,” Dowling said. “People are looking to have fun.”
If it turns out to be a lot of hype over nothing, Margaritas is already looking ahead to the future, should there be one.
“If it doesn’t happen, we’ll have the second annual end-of-the-world party on Dec. 19 next year,” Dowling said.