In three years, Ditch Friday at the Palms has become one of the most popular pool parties in Las Vegas, drawing thousands of swimsuit-clad people in a six-hour time frame.

"What’s your excuse to ditch whatever you’re doing? Come down, relax and party by the pool. It’s been successful," says project manager Melanie Salas.

An average of 3,200 people come through the door on Fridays, and that number has increased over the years. Even during this economic downturn, pool goers are willing to pay a mortgage payment or more for a cabana ($500) or daybed ($250). Both have a $1,000 food and beverage minimum.

"We sell out every Friday," Salas says.

If you don’t have that kind of money to spend, the complimentary chaise lounges are for you. They are first-come, first-served.

The pool actually consists of two open pools and one VIP pool spread out over three acres. A different event is featured every week, from themed parties to big-name DJs. The Ditch Dating Game is a new event that pairs bachelors and bachelorettes in the same way as the television game show. Contestants pose questions to a hidden panel of potential dates, then select one based on the answers. They win a night out with dinner and a show, Salas says. Register at ditchdating.com.

Twelve resident DJs play an open music format, everything from hip-hop and rock to house and electronic music. DJ AM and DJ Jazzy Jeff are among the celebrity DJs who have appeared at Ditch Friday.

Cover charge is $25 unless you’re on the guest list, then it’s $15 for men. To get on a guest list, visit myspace.com/ditchfridays. Women are always admitted free.

The pool opens at 9 a.m. with the party starting at noon. It closes at 6 p.m. For more information, call 942-6832.

Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at spadgett@ reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564.

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