Fireworks bring in New Year; some in crowd bid good riddance to 2008

They gathered to say goodbye and good riddance to 2008, to consign a gloomy year to drunken oblivion and stumble into 2009 with hope for better times ahead.

“Get rid of it!” said Afton Burdick, a 23-year-old visitor to downtown’s Fremont Street Experience in a leopard-print dress. “It was a long, sucky year.”

Burdick and her husband, Jacob, both stationed at Washington state’s Whidbey Island with the Navy, were celebrating his 21st birthday — and the end of a grueling 2008.

An estimated 291,000 tourists rang in the new year in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, up from last year but down from the visitor count in 2006 thanks to the ever-worsening economy.

They watched a lower-flying fireworks show than in years past, shot from the tops of garages rather than the roofs of Strip resorts, making them difficult to see from street level.

Hotels slashed prices to fill rooms on the Strip in a year when Americans are tightening their belts. In Reno, fireworks were canceled altogether, for economic reasons.

At the Fremont Street Experience, instead of real headliners, revelers rocked out to a bunch of fakers: tribute bands playing Queen, Aerosmith and others.

Nonetheless, for the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd on the Strip, Las Vegas was, as it always is, an oasis from reality, where all that mattered was the party.

The smell of beer and the sound of whooping filled the air. The “2009” eyeglasses — the last year, with two zeros in the middle, that will be conducive to such a purpose — sold like hotcakes.

One man tricked out his plastic bead necklace with a garland of escort-service fliers. Another, 24-year-old Ryan Bane, wandered down the street waving a huge sign reading “Now accepting applications for midnight makeout sessions.”

Alas, as the stroke of 12 approached, there was no making out to be had. Bane, a visitor from Torrance, Calif., tore the sign into pieces and handed the shards to his friends. Each of them waved the torn cardboard in the air as the fireworks went off at The Mirage, and they jumped and hugged each other.

“Oh nine!” they chanted over and over. “Oh nine! Oh nine!”

With the fireworks, pop stars were lined up for midnight shows on the Strip: Kid Rock at the Palms, Pink at the Hard Rock Hotel and Akon at Mandalay Bay.

Other big names didn’t perform, merely lending their presence to nightclub parties: Usher at The Bank inside Bellagio, Denise Richards at Prive in Planet Hollywood, Kim Kardashian at Luxor’s LAX, and Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Pete Wentz at Pure in Caesars Palace.

At The Venetian and the Lavo club at Palazzo, Fergie was set to both sing a few hits and headline a party.

The partyers careening drunkenly into the new year also witnessed dueling daredevils’ death-defying motorcycle stunts. Both of the major made-for-TV jumps occurred shortly after 9 p.m. on the Strip.

At Paris Las Vegas, Australian motocross rider Robbie Maddison jumped 100 feet to the top of the Arc de Triomphe replica, coming to a stop, then free-falling 50 feet nearly straight down to make a flawless landing on the other side.

At The Mirage, Robbie Knievel sailed 200 feet in front of the flame-spewing volcano on the 41st anniversary of the unsuccessful attempt by his late father, Evel Knievel, to jump over the Caesars Palace fountain.

Knievel’s jump had been billed as a jump over the volcano but took place in the street in front of the volcano instead, causing some head-scratching. In a post-jump news conference, Knievel said he did not know why it had been promoted somewhat deceptively.

“That’s just Fox,” he said of the TV network, which staged the stunt.

Edgar Valencia, 42, of San Francisco said his expectations for the Knievel jump didn’t match the reality. “It wasn’t what I expected. He didn’t jump over the volcano,” Valencia said. “But it was something exciting, something different.”

Valencia came with eight family members and stayed at Circus Circus. “We’ve cut back on a lot of things we would normally do,” he said of vacationing in these tough times. “We’re playing a lot less blackjack and slot machines.”

Karen Ashton, a tourist from Michigan staying at The Mirage, said the approach of 2009 excited her more than any motorcycle jump.

“Out with 2008, in with 2009, a new outlook and a new president,” Ashton said. “Yes.”

Katerina Alexoff, 40, said she has lived in Las Vegas for four years and this is the smallest crowd she remembers seeing on the Strip on New Year’s.

“This is not what it was last year or the year before,” she said.

She is in the construction business, and times have been tough lately. She fears what 2009 will bring to her city. But she’s trying to help: She brought friends from California to party and help out the local economy in the process.

“We are the luckiest people in the world,” Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, flanked, as usual, by two showgirls in big feather headdresses, proclaimed from a stage on Fremont Street. “It’s a balmy night in Las Vegas. … I want all of us who live here to be prosperous and happy in 2009.”

Under the electronic canopy of the Fremont Street Experience, a capacity crowd of 30,000 gathered for the “Tributepalooza” fakefest that was free for locals, $20 for visitors. Officials said it was the largest ever New Year’s crowd at the downtown site, more than double the audience for last year’s pricier event.

The tribute bands weren’t the only ones in costume. Steve Wilson, 55, and five of his friends came to Fremont Street dressed in black pompadour wigs, black suits, red scarves and sunglasses. Their resemblance to Elvis was slight, but that didn’t stop dozens of people from shaking their hands, snapping photos with them and kissing them on the cheeks for luck.

“It’s New Year’s Eve! It’s Las Vegas!” local resident Wilson said by way of explanation for his costume. He said he wanted to bring a little cheer to the city after a particularly rough year.

An undisclosed number of Las Vegas police, aided by Nevada National Guard troops, were responsible for securing the celebration areas. Sgt. John Loretto said there had been no information to lead police to be on special alert.

As of 11 p.m., Las Vegas police were reporting 26 arrests, including three felonies.

At Boulder Station around 10:50 p.m., a man claiming to be in possession of explosive material prompted an evacuation at the property. A “guy claiming to have a device” was taken into custody, Loretto said.

Loretto said he was unsure whether the casino had ordered a full or partial evacuation. Representatives for the resort could not be reached late Wednesday.

The 291,000 total New Year’s Eve visitors to Las Vegas predicted by tourism officials was more than last year’s estimated 284,000 but down from 305,000 in 2006.

Canadian John Sedo, 38, marked his eighth year in a row ringing in the new year in Las Vegas.

“I could travel anywhere in the world, but I come to America,” said Sedo, holding a plastic football-shaped container of beer.

Sedo, who works in oil refining, said he has been monitoring the U.S. economy closely. When America’s economy plummets, it affects the entire world, he said.

“In the long run, I think we’re going to get through this,” he said.

Review-Journal writers James Haug, David Kihara, Richard Lake, Antonio Planas, Mike Weatherford and Warren Bates contributed to this report. Contact reporter Molly Ball at mball@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919.

ad-high_impact_4
News
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive Remembrance Wall
(Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive
Vitalent hosts a blood drive at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shootings. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October sunrise remembrance ceremony in Las Vegas
Myanda Smith, sister of Las Vegas shooting victim Neysa Tonks, speaks at the sunrise remembrance ceremony at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‪Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to crowd at Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬
‪Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to the crowd at the Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Father of Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim talks about college scholarship in his daughter's memory
Chris Davis, father of a Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim, Neysa Tonks, talks about a college scholarship in his daughter's memory to assist the children of those who died in the shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Oct. 1 survivor Malinda Baldridge talks about life after the shooting
Malinda Baldridge of Reno attended the Route 91 Harvest festival with her daughter, Breanna, 17, and was shot twice in the leg when the gunman fired on the crowd.
Route 91 survivor talks about lack of progress in gun legislation
Heather Gooze, a Route 91 survivor, talks about lack of progress in gun legislation since the Oct 1. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas/Review-Journal) @reviewjournal
Review held in death of man after encounter with Las Vegas police
The mother of Tashii Brown, who died after an encounter with Las Vegas police on the Strip, not satisfied after public review of evidence. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Museum opening "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials"
The Clark County Museum is opening an exhibit "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials" of items left to honor the victims killed in the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Memorial service for former RJ lawyer Mark Hinueber
Mark Hinueber, the Review-Journal's former lawyer and defender of the First Amendment, died in Las Vegas on Aug. 23. Hinueber, who was 66, worked at the RJ and other newspapers for 42 years. On Saturday, his friends and family gathered for a memorial service.
Army veteran honored in Henderson event
Army Sgt. Adam Poppenhouse was honored by fellow veterans in an event hosted by a One Hero at a Time at the Henderson Events Center.
Michelle Obama and Keegan-Michael Key urge Nevadans to vote
Former first lady Michelle Obama and comedian Keegan-Michael Key urged Nevadans to vote at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas Sunday, Sep. 23, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
1 dead, 1 wounded in North Las Vegas standoff
A woman was hospitalized with serious injuries on Thursday morning after being shot inside a North Las Vegas house. Police responded about 11 p.m. to a shooting at a home on the 5600 block of Tropic Breeze Street, near Ann Road and Bruce Street. The wounded woman, police believe, was shot by a man, who later barricaded himself inside the house. SWAT was called to assist, and when officers entered the house, they discovered the man dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Las Vegas Teen Makes Clothing Resale His Side Hustle
Las Vegas resident Reanu Elises, 18, started buying and selling streetwear online when he was a high school junior. Like many other young adults, the world of online resale applications like Depop and Mercari have made selling clothing online for a profit easy. Now, Elises spends his free time at thrift shops looking for rare and vintage clothing he can list on his on his shop. Now in his freshman year at UNLV as a business marketing major, Elises hopes to open a shop of his own one day and start his own clothing brand. He estimates that he's made about $1000 from just thrifted finds in the past year, which he'll use to buy more thrift clothing and help pay for expenses in college. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Fruition Vineyards Encourages Young Entrepreneurs to "Buy, Flip, Dream"
Once a month, young adults gather at Fruition Vineyards on South Maryland Parkway near UNLV to dig through a stack of rare, vintage and designer clothing that's marked down well below it's resale value. Shop founder Valerie Julian began the vent, dubbed "Fruition Vineyards" in August after running her streetwear shop since 2005. The event gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to "buy, flip, dream" according to Jean. Meaning that they're encouraged to buy the clothing for sale and find a way to resell it for a profit, then reinvest that into whatever dream they pursue: college, a hobby or their own resale business. Shoppers lined up starting an hour before noon on the last Saturday in April for the opportunity and spoke about what they hoped to do with their finds and profits. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Local man goes under cover searching for answers to homelessness
Licensed mental health therapist Sheldon Jacobs spent 48 hours under cover posing as a homeless man in an attempt to gain perspective on the complex issue.
Social Work UNLV Lecturer's Calling
Ivet Aldaba-Valera was the first person in her family to graduate from both high school and college. The 33-year-old UNLV lecturer is now pursuing her Ph. D in public policy at the school and has used her degree in social work to engage with the young Latino and Latina community of Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
The world's longest racetrack could be coming to Pahrump
Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club in Pahrump might be the first racetrack in the world longer than 16 miles long once the expansion is complete. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Gold Point townsperson talks about why he choose to live in a ghost town
Gold Point townsperson Walt Kremin talks about the ghost town in Nevada he calls home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Search for missing 3-year-old boy at Sunset Park
Las Vegas police and Red Rock Search and Rescue team search for a missing child at Sunset Park in southeast Las Vegas on Sunday, Sept.2, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai speaks at Las Vegas tech conference
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban on her way home from school in Pakistan after advocating for girls' education, spoke at VMworld 2018 at Mandalay Bay. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Entertainment
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20 – Tara Mack
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like