Every night on the Las Vegas strip feels like New Year's Eve. With all the neon lights flashing, it would be easy to miss a few fireworks going off. Usually we avoid traditional new year's activities like the plague. Dinner and dancing events are overpriced and drinking is dangerous when you have to drive yourself home. But we're here in the FUN capital of the universe and it felt like we should take advantage of it and do something special.
As we researched the topic, it soon became apparent that being on the strip itself wouldn't be all that much fun. Our campground is a twenty minute drive away, but getting out of the huge parking decks after midnight, sounded like the opportunity to wait and wait and wait. We thought about getting a hotel room for the night on the strip, but cost erased that thought immediately. The strip is closed to traffic starting at 5pm and the casinos lock their front doors stating at 11pm. Once you are on the strip, you are on the strip. Although it is not freezing cold here as it is in much of the country, with temperatures in the 40's, you might want to go inside to warm up a bit or use the restroom, but after 11pm, no way. You could wander around the street looking at other people wandering around the street, but no special entertainment was planned outside. And when midnight finally arrived the major casinos would launch their fireworks shows which were supposed to last only eight minutes. Waiting, waiting, waiting for eight minutes of wow didn't seem worth it. We made a different choice.
The original casino area in Las Vegas is downtown on Fremont Street. As the strip grew ever bigger and brighter, this area really suffered and deteriorated. To stimulate new interest a few blocks of Fremont were covered with an arch, which keeps out the elements and serves as a huge projection screen. Normally, you can just wander around there shopping, dining and casinoing. For New Year's Eve it became an enclosed venue for those over 21 only. We bought inexpensive wristbands and marveled that the entrance personnel were interested in seeing our ID's. A rule is a rule.
We were outside and some revelers dressed for the weather (me) and others wore sparkly holiday garb with plenty of skin showing. Four different stages featured bands, dancing girls and a mural artist painting giant portraits while the speakers below him blared. Alcohol was readily available as well as all manner of NYE trinkets. Except for one women who yelled "f**k you" at her boyfriend and promptly fell down, people seemed to be managing their liquor consumption. At 10pm the overhead screen came alive with the view of Times Square and we watched those brave, frozen folks cheer for 2018. Every so often screaming people zoomed over our heads on zip lines, silhouetted by the light show on the overhead screen. At about 11pm it felt like we had seen it all and we headed back to our home away from home for a bottle of champagne and watched the fireworks from the Strip on TV. Because we really aren't camped far away, we could hear them and when we went outside those from the gigantic Stratosphere were easy to see. That tower is so tall, many of the fireworks were shot out horizontally. The show lasted eight minutes as predicted and it was over. Happy 2018!