Purple pearl comets, silver bees and twinkling willows will light up the midnight skies tonight as more than 56,000 fireworks rocket from eight Strip hotel properties to close out the year.
The 8-minute, 36-second program will be set to music by LMFAO, Lady Gaga, Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Adele. ZZ Top's version of "Viva Las Vegas" is the grand finale of the $500,000 show. Fireworks by Grucci will shoot off displays from the MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, The Venetian, the Stratosphere and the newly added Tropicana, which helps fill a gap along the southern end of the Strip, said Felix Grucci, vice president of the fireworks company.
Atop Treasure Island on a pleasantly warm Friday afternoon, pyrotechnicians put the finishing touches on fireworks and double-checked the wire connections before the big show. More than 60 of them spent the week setting up the show. About 10,000 circuits will be initiated to set off the fireworks, Grucci added.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is expecting 314,000 people to welcome 2012 under the neon lights -- making it the nation's second-largest New Year's Eve party and the biggest celebration ever here with 5,000 more revelers than last year.
Visitors are expected to spend $192.6 million in hotel, shopping and nightclub purchases.
"This is the party capital of the world. There is no place that does a party better than Las Vegas," Grucci said. "It's the most spectacular place to be on New Year's Eve."
It should be a mild night for new beginnings celebrated with fireworks, kisses, toasts and resolutions.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a mild midnight temperature of 47 degrees with northerly winds under 10 mph. The county's Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management issued an advisory for potentially elevated levels of smoke that could aggravate respiratory diseases.
COPS, CURFEWS AND CLOSURES
Most of the 2,600 Las Vegas officers will be stationed up and down the Strip to watch over the thousands of revelers who spill onto Las Vegas Boulevard.
Police will enforce bans on glass and metal drink containers and a curfew for minors during the celebration. The ban on anything but plastic containers runs from 6 p.m. today through 6 a.m. Sunday on the Strip and in downtown Las Vegas. The curfew on the Strip, which applies to anyone under 18 without a parent or guardian, starts at 9 p.m. today and ends at 5 a.m. Sunday. Police also asked revelers not to carry large backpacks or bags or engage in "celebratory gunfire."
More than 100 troops from the Nevada National Guard will be stationed around the Strip and at McCarran International Airport as part of an internal domestic operations exercise this weekend. Nevada Guard officials said that there is no reason for alarm and that the exercise is not related to any specific threat in the state.
The party at the Fremont Street Experience is open to anyone 21 and older who pays the $30 admission. There will live bands at TributePalooza, which is scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman will lead the countdown at midnight, and there will be a smaller fireworks show.
The Nevada Highway Patrol will close Interstate 15 offramps that lead to the Strip at 5 p.m., and all streets and alleys leading to Las Vegas Boulevard will close about 45 minutes later. Sahara Avenue, and Desert Inn and Russell roads across Las Vegas Boulevard will remain open.
At 6 p.m., elevators and escalators leading to pedestrian bridges on the Strip will be closed. At 6:15 p.m., Las Vegas police will start erecting barriers on the Strip and close it down to all traffic by 6:30 p.m.
The Fremont Street Experience will be closed at 5 p.m. before reopening for live entertainment at 6 p.m.
Street sweepers will move through the resort corridor at 2 a.m., and Las Vegas Boulevard is scheduled to reopen to traffic between 3 and 4 a.m.
Those headed to the Strip after the closure are still advised to use the Strip express bus lines, which will be detoured onto Koval Lane and Paradise Road on the east side of the resort corridor.
Also, bus routes will be detoured to Dean Martin Drive on the west side of the Strip. Further route information will be available at the Bonneville Transit Center.
Police throughout the valley will be on the lookout for drunken drivers.
The Regional Transportation Commission is offering free bus service between 6 p.m. today and 9 a.m. New Year's Day.
The routes are probably best suited to revelers headed downtown. Park-and-ride areas that offer express service to the Bonneville Transit Center include Centennial Hills, a 900-space lot at Grand Montecito Parkway near U.S. 95 and Durango Drive or the Westcliff Airport Express, which offers parking at the Suncoast or the Westcliff station at Westcliff and Durango. The service will carry passengers from the Bonneville station to the Strip until it closes to vehicles.
The Designated Drivers Foundation will provide free rides between 8 p.m. New Year's Eve and noon on New Year's Day to adults 21 years old or older. Call 456-RIDE to arrange a complimentary ride home in your own vehicle.
NEW YEAR'S EVE VISITORS
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is projecting 314,000 visitors for tonight, which would eclipse the record 312,000 in 2008.
Actual visitor counts
Review-Journal reporters Brian Haynes, Adrienne Packer, Keith Rogers and Richard Lake contributed to this story. Contact reporter Kristi Jourdan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-455-4519.