Quantcast

Saturday, July 26, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 0 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Lavish parties, uninhibited tourists rule in Vegas

By Hannah Dreier

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 09:29 a.m. HST, Jan 01, 2014


LAS VEGAS » Las Vegas held one its biggest ever New Year's Eve celebrations, with sold-out concerts and an eight-minute long fireworks show that was billed as the largest in the country.

Big-ticket musical acts Bruno Mars, John Legend and Maroon 5 helped lure 335,000 visitors to Las Vegas by nightfall on Tuesday — 5,000 more than last year, tourism officials said.

Thousands celebrated late Tuesday and early today along the Las Vegas Strip and across town at the Fremont Street Experience, where Mayor Carolyn Goodman and her husband, former mayor Oscar Goodman, were on hand.

Party-goers cheered in anticipation at 10 minutes before midnight, and then again with five minutes to go, then watched as the fireworks were launched from the rooftops of seven hotel-casinos.

The holiday was seemingly custom-made to align with Sin City's boozy, bad-judgment ethos.

The Minus5 Ice Bar Mandalay Bay started handing out free champagne for hourly toasts at 11 a.m. Tourists were seen toting novelty drinks into casinos by noon.

For Lester Arnold, 50, the desert weather made Las Vegas the obvious place to ring in the New Year. Temperatures dropped from 60 to 40 degrees as the sun set.

"There are people outside here. It's minus twenty in Springfield and there's no party there," the Massachusetts native said, sipping from a red Solo cup full to the brim with champagne as nearly naked showgirls strutted past.

A Gene Simmons impersonator sat in a motorized scooter nearby, wagging his tongue at tourists in novelty hats.

Police shut down traffic on the Las Vegas Strip at 6 p.m. so revelers could spill into the 4-mile stretch of road normally packed with cars.

Randy and Patty Harkin, of Salt Lake City, were dressed in their finest. The couple had just eloped at the Stained Glass Chapel, on the anniversary of their first kiss.

"I called my mom and was like, 'We're married now, and happy New Year," Randy Harkin said.

Law enforcement officers were keeping a close eye on the festivities.

Hotels were dealing a full house, with occupancy approaching 100 percent and $200 rooms going for $600. New Year's Eve is typically the most profitable night of the year for casinos, and their executives worked to persuade visitors to make it a long weekend.

Many casinos offered up special "New Year's Eve Eve" events on Monday and advertised the two days before that as the biggest weekend of the year. DJs were counting down to 2014 as early as Sunday at the Mirage hotel-casino's 1OAK club.

Las Vegas was light this year on hosted nightclub bashes in which guests pay for proximity to a famous person. Original celebutante Paris Hilton was hosting one of the only such parties.

New Year's Eve crowds in the city have doubled since 1990 but still lag other parties in New York City's Times Square and Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.

In downtown Las Vegas at the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall, organizers held a block party that featured Blues Traveler and Papa Roach. Some revelers were disappointed to learn that they had to pay $40 to get in.

Grace Champion, 25, had come with her husband from Wasilla, Alaska. The couple bought their own yard-long plastic drink cups for 99 cents and was saving money by getting them refilled inside casinos.

Her hope for the New Year was that it would bring her a job. Her goal for the night: catch a glimpse of Papa Roach.







 Print   Email   Comment | View 0 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(0)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
IN OTHER NEWS
Breaking News
Blogs
Volley Shots
Fey, Enriques on MJNT

Political Radar
Wilhelmina Rise, et al.

Court Sense
Cold War

Political Radar
Climate change

Island Crafters
YouCanMakeThis.com

Warrior Beat
Empty pit

Political Radar
Switch

Political Radar
`Progressive hero’