A Taste of Culture

The search for culture along Las Vegas Boulevard — the kind not associated with topless dancing, Elvis impersonating or stage hypnosis — looks decidedly more promising north of U.S. 95. And "December to Remember" strives to show just how much of it lives between Bonanza Road and Washington Avenue.

From 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, seven neighboring institutions — known collectively as the Cultural Corridor — kick off this annual monthlong campaign with a series of events exploring how differently the upcoming holidays are celebrated across cultures.

"We’re trying to demonstrate things that are important in each culture," said Amy Wojciechowski, development officer for the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, where a multi-ethnic fashion show begins at 11 a.m. and Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s), Bodhi Day (the ascension of the Buddha) and Islam’s Ramadan — among other holidays — transpire all day long.

The Cultural Corridor — a nonprofit neighborhood association formed in 2001 — also includes the Cashman Center, Las Vegas Library, Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, Neon Museum, Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park and Reed Whipple Cultural Center.

This is the third "December to Remember" campaign, but the first with a kickoff event.

"In the past, it’s been spread out over the month — with activities going on at one place at one time and another place at another time," said Brock Radke, marketing manager for the Lied Museum, where musicians from the Nevada School of the Arts will perform holiday songs at noon and crafts workshops will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Additional "December to Remember" activities will run throughout the month; member Web sites have the specifics.)

More than 350,000 people per year visit the Cultural Corridor, according to a statement from a City of Las Vegas spokesman. In addition, two recent steps were designed to increase its prominence: the designation of Las Vegas Boulevard from Sahara to Washington avenues as a national scenic byway, and the placement of three refurbished neon signs in the median between Bonanza Road and Washington Avenue.

Still, the district may always get lost in the blinding glow from the other end of the boulevard, an international phenomenon that competes for the same local consumer leisure time and disposable income.

"People know of maybe one of the locations down here, or, ‘Hey, that’s where Cashman Center is,’ " Radke said. "But you don’t see a lot of advertising or marketing like you do for attractions on the Strip."

Although no streets will close for Saturday’s event, all activities are within walking distance. Ample free parking will be available, and refreshments will be sold. For more information, visit www.cultural corridorvegas.org.

Contact reporter Corey Levitan at clevitan@reviewjournal. com or 702-383-0456.

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