The five-day holiday weekend is in full swing and last night’s (July 2) fireworks at Caesars Palace certainly made the calendar look as if July 4 had arrived 48 hours early. Our thanks to Chris Rauschnot of 24K Media for the coverage of Sunday’s pyrotechnic spectacular on the Strip:
More fireworks tomorrow (July 4) are set to light up the entire valley the valley from Green Valley Ranch in the east to the Red Rock casino hotel in the west.
• Tonight (July 3) the Cowabunga Bay water park in Henderson promises a poolside fireworks display.
• Earlier tomorrow (July 4) at 9 a.m. Independence Day is celebrated at the 23rd annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, Southern Nevada’s largest and most colorful Fourth of July parade. More than 35,000 people are expected to attend.
It features more than 70 entries, including traditional floats, giant inflatable balloons, American military heroes, bands, musical groups and a variety of kids’ favorite storybook and cartoon characters. More than 2,500 people are participating in the parade and more than 500 volunteers from dozens of local schools and community groups will assist with parade operations.
This year, several new entries are added to the parade roster, including “Moana’s Ocean Journey,” “Captain Jack’s Swashbuckling Adventure,” “Trollabration,” “Belle at the Enchanted Castle,;” and appearances by the Muppets, Pikachu and Daniel Tiger. More than 16,000 cubic feet of helium will be used for more than 25 giant inflatables.
Fan favorites returning to the parade include “The Fourth Awakens” float featuring the Neon City Garrison Star Wars costuming club; “Avengers: America’s Mighty Heroes” float; “Music of America” float, featuring a live performance by the acclaimed Desert Angels gospel choir; “Brachiosaurus: Jurassic Giant” inflatable balloon; “A Salute to the Military” float featuring the service men and women from Nellis Air Force Base; Palo Verde, Spring Valley and Las Vegas High School Marching Bands; Danza Del Carrizo Native American performing group; America Legion, USO and the Marine Corps Leagues.
The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m. Title Sponsor is The Howard Hughes Corp. It starts at the corner of Hillpointe Road and Hills Center Drive in The Trails village of Summerlin. Participants travel south toward Village Center Circle, then west on Trailwood Drive. The parade ends near the corner of Trailwood Drive and Spring Gate Lane.
SARTORIAL SENSATIONS: The European media have gone gaga over Celine Dion’s fashion displays as she leaves her Paris hotel headquarters while on her European tour.
This morning (July 3) during Paris Fashion Week when she left the Royale Monceau Hotel for the fall-winter Christian Dior haute couture fashion show Celine wore an ankle-length yellow, mustard leather shirt dress over boots carrying a Dior emblazoned handbag. Our Caesars Palace headliner even threw one leg over her limo to pose for photos for the waiting crowds of fans and the paparazzi.
The European press has delighted in describing her daily fashion shows as “sartorial sensations” created by her new stylist, self-described image architect Law Roach who judges the “America’s Top Model” TV series. Her most outrageous outfits to date were last week’s ankle- length snakeskin coat and a puffed-sleeve, high-collar embellished Gucci coat that was a wearable artwork reminiscent of Mary Poppins.
Her teenage son, Rene Charles, has left Vegas and joined his mother and twin brothers, Eddy and Nelson, now in Paris for the remainder of her European tour. Celine resumes her Caesars Palace residency Sept. 19.
AT THE WALL: Meanwhile, our Planet Hollywood headliner Britney Spears caused another fan commotion when she arrived in Jerusalem yesterday (July 2) for the final show of her global jaunt in Tel Aviv tonight (July 3). It was her first-ever visit to Israel and she wanted to see the key holy sites around the city. Her first stop direct from landing on her El Al flight was to the Western Wall where she narrowly missed American singer Frankie Valli there with his son. Britney toured the tunnels below the wall and was due to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the concert. Britney jets back to the United States tomorrow (July 4) and will resume her Planet Hollywood residency Aug. 9.
NEW HOTEL RESTAURANT: A touch of Vegas glitz has traveled from the Strip to the new Pendry hotel in San Diego’s Gaslamp district in its new Lionfish restaurant. The hotel is a venture between the Montage hotel group and our Clique hospitality empire with Vegas executives Andy Masi, Shane Monaco and Chef Brian Massie. They run the Light nightclub at Mandalay Bay and the Hearthstone, Libre and Salute restaurants at the Red Rock Resort. They’ve hired Chef JoJo Ruiz from Chula Vista to run the new Lionfish restaurant.
CONGRATULATIONS: Two new Vegas restaurants had celebration opening parties last week. Chef Brian Howard and his team at Sparrow & Wolf on Spring Mountain Road were swamped with dinner reservations since opening so had to scrap their red ribbon ceremony opening plans in favor of a grand thank-you party. The new Bandito Latin Kitchen & Cantina opened on Howard Hughes Center Drive and Patron tequila titan John Paul DeJoria loaned his vintage Patron delivery vans from Mexico for the opening week parties.
The old 24/7 café at The Palms has been replaced by the new Lucky Penny restaurant, which still serves meals around the clock all weeklong. The brand-new bright, open redesign is simply gorgeous and the menu is eclectic complete with a breakfast pizza or its version of eggs Benedict with ham and garlic toast. I can really recommend the cherry-sliced shake for dessert! Be sure to check if your check has a lucky penny attached to it to hold onto as a souvenir.
And chef Jamie Tran who worked for star chef Charlie Palmer at Aureole for over five years has opened her own Black Sheep 50-seat restaurant for casual modern American-Vietnamese food. Its Strip-quality technique with off-Strip pricing for such signature dishes as Scottish salmon in a clay pot with smoked eggplant and Bao sliders with housemade pork sausages, Jamie was only 4 years old when she started cooking standing on a milk crate to cook fried rice with her mom for her eight brothers and sister. Jamie and her wine cocktail partner, Andy Hooper, were both at DB Brasserie in The Venetian before it closed. It’s a delicious Southwest casual dining find.
• Ann Wilson of Heart performs a free Independence weekend concert for Downtown Rocks at The Fremont Street Experience on the 1st Street Stage and “Barracuda” is certain to be on the set list.