The one thing Las Vegas is really good at is blowing things up. We love to have a reason to light up some dynamite and New Year’s Eve seems like the best time to do it lately!
It is called “America’s Party” for good reason. Even with near freezing weather, approximately 375,000 people filled the Las Vegas Strip to ring in the New Year with about 80,000 pyrotechnics filling the sky as the midnight hour approached. That’s only the Strip, not including the Fremont Street Experience!
The “other” big New Years shindig in other cities is getting some bad press about inflated numbers. The Las Vegas numbers are pretty genuine!! Most are Americans, but people from all over the world make the pilgrimage to say they were here for the big moment.
As one of the best-known places to say goodbye to the old, we do make security here a priority. Normally you really don’t notice it but for this evening, they were out in full uniform and armed to the teeth. More than 1,500 Metro officers, some in plainclothes, patrolled the Strip and Fremont Street. That’s not counting the members of the FBI and the Nevada National Guard who also make sure it is a celebration to remember and for the right reasons.
The Duck Pond
The center of the Strip is lined with a barricade, kind of like the duck pond at your county fair! Except here, the pond is filled with uniformed officers patrolling it. Outside the pond, people are walking around in the big circle. Watching, drinking and celebrating. Plainclothes officers, new recruits and even more uniformed officers are mixing in with the crowds. Other officers were not always visible overhead on buildings and walkways. Buses and trucks blocked access from cross streets. From previous years when we were there, you knew you were in a big fish pond being watched yet it was still an almost anything goes, Las Vegas party on steroids.
Walk The Strip
On this night, “Walking the Strip” takes on a whole new meaning. The shut the boulevard down to traffic at about 5 pm, put up the barricades and people can start to actually walk the famous roadway. Being able to say you actually walk the Las Vegas Boulevard is a strange yet fun feeling. Of course, people watching on a night like this is off the charts! Freezing temps or not, they were here to party and to let the world know they were here as the media cameras were positioned at various corners with the lights on and the cameras rolling.
The most amazing thing about a party of this size in Las Vegas is that by 6 am, the Strip is open and looks almost normal. As if nothing ever happened the night before! The party closes down about 2 am and the cleaners start at one end by the Welcome to Las Vegas sign and work from curb to curb all the way up the Strip as the resorts do the same. Removing barriers and opening exits just as fast as they can.
The Smart Locals
Me? Just for transparency, I will tell you “Been there, done that, got the head cold”. Like many other locals, we do it only one or two times, just so that we can say we “did it”. I stayed home and watched it all in the comfort and warmth of our house and a giant screen television. Trying to keep our dogs from going crazy as all the noises for the neighborhood fireworks were also lighting up the sky. Yes, a party animal, I am!!
Hope you had a warm and wonderful New Years Eve and got to spend it with someone special.
Welcome to the New Year!