Venetian, Palazzo betting on three-month Italian street festival

Carnevale, a three-month celebration modeled after the street festivals of Italy, is under way at The Venetian and Palazzo.

A festival of food, art, wine, music and visual spectacles, Carnevale will feature more than 300 experiences that highlight Palazzo and The Venetian’s restaurants, attractions and entertainment, the resorts’ vice president of food and beverage, Sebastien Silvestri, says.

Historically, summer months are a slow period for local tourism. Attracting visitors to their properties, and keeping them there, becomes an important exercise for Las Vegas resorts.

“The idea was to create a spectacular festival during the summer,” Silvestri says, “something that would draw people from other properties” and make them reluctant to leave.

This year marks the festival’s second. Last year’s inaugural celebration exceeded management’s expectations, Silvestri says. When they began planning Carnevale 2013, they used guest feedback to help shape the offerings.

Last summer, Carnevale featured themed months, each one celebrating food, music or art. Guests responded so well to the food that organizers decided to blend all three elements and feature them throughout the summer, Silvestri says.

Among the Carnevale events is Ciao Bella, a welcome reception featuring live music, photo opportunities with characters, mixology lessons and more. Also, a parade of costumed characters will wind its way through both casinos. Festivities start nightly at 6 p.m. There will also be daily offerings, many of them complimentary, Silvestri says. A light show and other free entertainment are scheduled, too.

Celebrity chefs, rock stars and others will make regular appearances for Carnevale. On Saturday, chef Mario Batali is scheduled to host “A Taste of Mario Batali” at the Palazzo’s waterfall. Guests can sample food, enjoy cocktails while they mingle.

Chefs Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud and Curtis Stone are among those scheduled to host a session during Carnevale. Lagasse will throw a luau by the pool with rocker Sammy Hagar providing entertainment, Silvestri says.

In August, guests can take a Wine and Food Walk through both properties. In one night, you can experience wines from 20 regions of Italy for $29. Beer lovers won’t be left out, either. Cheer for Beer on Aug. 17 will feature several craft beer breweries. For $29, guests can sample as much as they want.

Other offerings include a weekend full of George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila; a Red Bull themed weekend; a sommelier competition; Havana Nights weekend and a pingpong challenge.

Carnevale runs through Sept. 8. For more information or for a full schedule of events, visit venetian.com/carnevale or palazzo.com/carnevale.

Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at spadgett@review journal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @StripSonya on Twitter.