By The Associated PressA destination devoted to entertaining visitors every single day can't just throw any old party to ring in the New Year.
For one night only, about 340,000 people spending some $226 million
are expected to crowd the Strip and downtown Fremont Street all looking
to be wowed — and for that reason, Las Vegas casino operators, event
planners, tourism agencies and more have spent months if not the entire
year planning ways to do so.
most at a price, quite a bit so exclusive it requires an invite from the
hotel-casinos throwing the parties for prized customers. Showrooms will
welcome A-list performers such as Jennifer Lopez at Caesars Palace, new
duo Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga at Cosmopolitan and Maroon 5 at Mandalay
Bay. Nightclubs promise performers Iggy Azalea and Drake, among others.
And if a flashback is desired, downtown Fremont will offer 13 rock
tribute bands (Fan Halen, Queen Nation, Led Zepagain and more).
But, really, most will only need to look up.
Fireworks will shoot from the roofs of seven Strip hotel-casinos timed to a medley of pop music.
Groups wanting an eye-level or aerial view of the fireworks show can
buy a spot inside the orbs of the new, perpetually moving High Roller
observation wheel on the Strip that will come to a halt during a portion
of the show. Package deals start at $2,500.
Inside, and in some cases outside, exclusive parties will be staged
at much expense by the Strip's biggest properties for its (very) very
important people. And with some VIPs weighing multiple invites, it's an
ongoing quest by hotel-casinos to bring the party.
Teams of people from MGM Resorts events — among them painters,
digital artists, event managers and floral designers — work in the
company's 110,000 square-foot warehouse space off the Strip and begin
planning next year's New Year's Eve shortly after the last one.
"Really, they're storytellers," said Lenny Talarico, director of events.
"New Year's Eve, it's a show. A one night show.""New Year's Eve, it's a show. A one night show."
Demo rooms inside the company's warehouse have 24-foot high ceilings
and lighting revealing a mini version of the party to come. There are
buckets of blue gems for floral arrangements, trays of moss and gigantic
centerpieces waiting for fresh flowers.
The warehouse space could be a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory without the candy, complete with a mirrored piano hanging from
the ceiling. There's a forest of flocked pine trees down one aisle and a
sitting Buddha statue on a shelf taller than a standing adult, not to
mention a giant hand holding a light bulb - a relic among many once
built by the team of artisans for a convention group that's been
repurposed event after event.
Vegas was the most popular destination in the United States this December, according to Priceline.
Even the most exclusive of parties has competition with the cheapest
form of entertainment for anyone within sight of the Las Vegas Strip: a
seven minute, 11 second fireworks show from the top of seven Strip
No matter how spectacular the entertainment or party environs are
inside, "11:30 p.m., quarter to 12, the room clears out," said Jim
McCoy, director of production overseeing all of the event fabrications.
"The Strip is our Times Square."
For the first time, the company is building a platform for invited
guests to watch the fireworks from the water next to The Mirage's
Before and after the fireworks, it's the job of McCoy's team — who
has built Buddhist temples, sets for movies and Broadway, and ice
sculpting — to create worlds of whimsy.
"January 2," said McCoy, without pause, when asked what he's looking
forward to most. And also that brief moment when he and his staff can
exhale and watch the faces of people seeing the first glimpses of the
parties on New Year's Eve.
"That's when the curtain goes up and it's show time, folks," he said.
Additional reporting by Mashable