Celebrate the new year in Vegas

Celebrate the new year in Vegas
300,000 celebrate the new year in Vegas
From left, Jen Cantrall, Diana Martinez and Stacy McCain from Orange County, Calif., rock out to the tribute band Fan Halen during New Year's 2010 Tribute Palooza at the Fremont Street Experience.

LAS VEGAS — Sin City welcomed some 315,000 revelers for New Year's Eve with fireworks from casino rooftops, celebrity toasts at nightclubs and a traffic-free Las Vegas Strip.
The downtown Fremont Street Experience hoped to host 35,000 partiers as it held a bash with nine bands and a countdown by Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.
Bundled-up revelers began trickling in at 6 p.m. for a block party with plenty of street-side bars and 2010 knickknacks. Bartenders flipped shakers and danced on the bar, while crowds sang along with tribute bands playing hits from U2, Van Halen and Aerosmith.
Elsa Valenzuela, a 27-year-old third-grade teacher from Victorville, Calif., said that despite graduating from high school and college during the last 10 years, she's glad to move on from the past decade.
"The horrible outfits, the bad hair," she said as she and her boyfriend wore matching novelty hats and beads. "I really think it's just more like thinking ahead on the possibilities and the good that we can do and the changes that we can make."
David Fraley, 56, of Las Vegas, said he's also ready to get away from the aughts.
"This decade's over, let's get a better one going," said Fraley, who said he lost his job as a supermarket liquor clerk in March.
"My wish is a job. I've been laid off. I need work," he said, sporting glasses that displayed "2010" in blue lights.
On the Strip, actress Eva Longoria was scheduled to host at Eve nightclub at CityCenter, the newest casino complex in town. Other celebrity hosts at various clubs included rapper 50 Cent, singer Robin Thicke, Nicole Ritchie and Maroon 5, while DJs Mix Master Mike, Jermaine Dupri and DJ Z-Trip were scheduled to spin.
Las Vegas Boulevard was closed to vehicles from the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino to the Sahara.
Police spokesman Ramon Denby said there were no major problems before 11 p.m., with eight adults arrested for various misdemeanors and one juvenile arrested for being on the Strip past curfew without a chaperone.
Official crowd counts were not immediately available, Denby said.
At midnight, more than seven minutes of fireworks were shot from seven casinos on the Strip, stretching more than four miles from the MGM Grand to the Stratosphere. The show cost an estimated $500,000 and was brought back to the rooftops after a toned-down fireworks show last year was panned by tourists, city officials and casino executives.
Gone from the festivities were stunts. Last year, three stunts were performed in Las Vegas as part of television specials. This year, television networks Fox, ABC and CNN all planned New Year's Eve programming from Las Vegas.
Tourism officials said they expected the city's 148,000 hotel rooms to be 96 percent full as casinos slash prices to get more people in town.
The estimate of 315,000 tourists eclipsed last year's total of 312,000 visitors, but the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said it expected folks to spend less than they did last year because of the bargains.
The agency, which promotes tourism to Las Vegas, estimated revelers would spend $183.4 million, down from $199.5 million last year.
In downtown Reno, several casinos pooled efforts to bring back fireworks in hopes the display would add excitement and encourage more visitors. The tradition went on hiatus last year as companies tried to save money.
They planned a $65,000, 15-minute show with Michael Jackson-themed music.


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