Holiday Lights on The Vegas Strip – Teaser Reel

Sometimes you do the unthinkable while doing the fun stuff in Las Vegas. What do I mean? I wanted to shoot some video of the holiday lights on the Las Vegas Strip because I love what some of the resorts do for the Christmas holiday. . So I did. And after it was all said and done, I realized I did something I have never done before. I walked almost the entire Strip!

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I Walked The Strip!

Living here since 2001, I have been up and down the Las Vega Strip, from on end to the other, a million times!  But when I first arrived, there was always free parking everywhere, so there was no reason to walk the entire Strip.  You go in a few casinos, come out, drive down a little further, do it all over again.  Nobody in their right mind would ever walk the entire thing.  Right??

I guess I wasn’t in my right mind and I hate paying for parking. So I did it… Where did I walk?  From the Sahara Hotel to the MGM.  Ok, technically that’s not really the entire Strip. Close enough for me!  Being the Vegas Strip, it’s never just a straight walk. You have to add in all the miles you walk from the boulevard, into, around and out of the various resorts.  It quickly adds up!!

The Sahara

Even if it was just a simple set of trees and lights, it was great to be back into the old place and see it returning to reality.  Trying to forget that awful period when it was the SLS.  Now its a well lit, friendly and an open place with a lot of great opportunities for growth as the north end of the Strip goes into a rebirth over the next few years.

Christmas at the wynn ls vegas

The Wynn

I’m hoping that the new management has got their shit together finally and will stop trying to kiss up to the MGM. Steve Wynn left the place at a good point and hopefully they keep with the traditions of not being boring.  The displays are the same as last year and that’s not always a bad thing. It’s well done, open, festive and happy.

Whenever I am near the Wynn and have the time, I visit the Koi fish pond (it’s free). It’s a little tropical hideaway! I find it a peaceful sanctuary! Watch the fish, smell the tropical plants and relax.  Out on the main floor, the carousel is always a fun thing to watch. Not sure why. But it is… The holiday villages all have a little title tag on them to tell you who, what and where.  Its fun to look at.

Absinthe/Caesars Palace

I realize that Caesars, along with the Forum Shops, can get festive. Unfortunately, by the time I was there, I was on probably mile number 5 and started to feel it. So I skipped seeing what the Romans were doing and found myself mesmerized by the lighting tree in front of the show tent for my favorite adult show in Las Vegas, Absinthe.  (Get Tickets to Absinthe)

Linq

Hopefully, the new owners of Caesars will figure out what to do with that area across the street called the Linq Promenade because the previous owners were clueless. Even when they were building the big Ferris wheel at the backside, they seemed lost in what to do with that area around it. A fountain and some lights on a tree…

Bellagio Christmas Tree

The Bellagio Conservatory

Even during the changeover, it’s a tourist attraction!  To watch how fast they can go from one display to the other, usually in about 4 days. Then to see the final product is always stunning.  I came in on day three, so it’s not all the way done.  There will be a new video soon showing off the holiday scenery.

The Park

Finally nearing the end, I find the tall naked lady is joined by some cute lighted bears, reindeer and other novelty items in front of the T-Mobile Arena. The water fountain that many people are surprised to find is real, is all lit-up in holiday colors.

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Ethel M’s Holiday Lights Cactus Garden | Video

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Have you ever seen Christmas lights on a cactus??  That was the question posed to me the first winter living in the desert.  I will say that it does take a little getting used to.  I’m from Minnesota.  We get snow everywhere and come Christmas time, its lights on the house, on the tree and maybe even in the car.

In the desert, its Christmas lights on the cactus and the best place to see that would be the Ethel M’s Cactus Garden Holiday Lights display.

This little gem of a tourist spot is east of the strip (you do need your own transportation) and offers free self-guided tours of the chocolate factory, complete with gift shops at both ends. Although not much is made here anymore, they still sell the name brand chocolates here.  As part of the water reclamation process for making his chocolates, Forrest Mars Sr had created a cactus garden next to the factory where you can wander around and see over 300 different plants that are native to the deserts of the southwest.

Ethel M Holiday Lites

Come holiday time, they carefully cover the plants with over 600,000 lights and decorations and turn them on at dusk.  It’s a fun thing to see and experience.  And It’s Free!

Lights: November 11th – January 1st. On Nightly, 5pm to 10pm, Admission is Free
Factory & Chocolate Shoppe: Open daily 8:30am till 10pm

Visits from Santa Claus: Friday – Sunday till Christmas 5pm to 9pm
Performances by Local Choirs: Friday – Sunday 6pm to 8pm

Special Holiday Hours for Factory & Retail Shop:

  • Thanksgiving 4pm to 10pm
  • Christmas Eve: 8:30am to 8pm
  • Christmas Day: Closed
  • New Years Eve: 8:30am to 6pm

Please Note:  it is popular and it will be busy.  Be sure to park in one of  Ethel M’s Parking lots.  They do warn about other tenants in the area towing cars from other lots!

Ethel M Christmas Lights

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Ethel M’s Chocolates?

They are a famous brand of high-end chocolates around here.  Forrest Mars Sr. The man who brought us the M&M chocolates and so much more, needed something to do after his retirement.  So he created a chocolate company here in the desert and named it after his mother, Ethel.  Why did he locate it here? Because Nevada is one of the few states that allowed the sale of liqueur-filled cordials.  Yes, alcohol laced chocolate candies! Isn’t life wonderful??

Forrest E. Mars, Sr. created Ethel M Chocolates in 1978 and lived on the second floor of the factory.  I have it on good authority (former safety inspector) that he had a mirrored floor so he could look down and watch the workers. It’s not that he wanted to catch people stealing or eating the candies, he didn’t really care about that. He wanted to make sure you were giving him 8 hours work for 8 hours pay.  The family is known to be ruthless with their employees.

In 1988, he again retired. Mars died at age 95 in Miami, Florida, having amassed a fortune of $4 billion. He was ranked as 30th in Forbes magazine’s list of richest Americans (Forrest, Jr. and John were 29th and 31st, respectively). He left the business jointly to his three children.

(Forest Mars Sr Bio: Wikipedia)

 

Photos: Debbie D Anthony
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