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Merry Crimson popup has holiday spirits soaring at Red Rock Resort

With a subtext of “Red Rock got run over by a reindeer,” how could this event be anything but fun?

It’s Red Rock Resort’s Merry Crimson. The indoor and outdoor holiday popup bar is about as outrageous — in a good way — as the property’s collective minds could make it, starting with the tunnel of lights.

“There’s so many lights in there,” said Joe Yalda, vice president of guest experience. “When you come through the tunnel, it’s all ornaments and lights” — 60,000, to be exact.

And there’s much, much more.

“It opens up to over-the-top holiday decor like no one’s seen before,” Yalda said. “The details are all thought out. The staff are all wearing ugly Christmas sweaters.”

And, in this era when Instagram reigns supreme, there are plenty of photo ops. Santa Claus comes first, of course, as befits his iconic status. And Elf on the Shelf is there. But not just any Elf; this one’s not only life-sized but live, and ready to star in your selfie.

There’s also a candy-cane swing set, for some video action. And the team that created the massive gingerbread model of the resort did another house just for Merry Crimson.

“They wanted it to go with the decor, to be like Christmas over-the-top,” said Jose “Lupe” Avila, the resort’s executive chef. “They wanted to incorporate a small gingerbread house. In true Red Rock fashion, we blew it up.”

The result: a multi-story mansion more than three feet tall.

“It’s pretty impressive,” Avila said. “We used over 50 pounds of gingerbread, about 20 pounds of royal icing, 20 pounds of sugar, over 150 man-hours. It’s beyond detailed. The girls at the bake shop have always wanted to be part of a gingerbread bakeoff competition. I figured I’d let them go crazy.

“We ended up going on a little shopping trip to Hobby Lobby and we basically furnished this thing from top to bottom, with hand-painted art on the walls. The girls absolutely killed it.”

And of course a popup bar wouldn’t be complete without cocktails. Merry Crimson has a dozen of them, among them the Drink Up Grinches, with Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, Bacardi rum, Midori, lemon-lime soda and lemon, and the Ornamentini, with Absolut Elyx, cranberry, thyme, lime and cinnamon.

You can partake indoors or out; if you opt for the latter you can choose a fire pit or heated cabana, and s’mores kits are available.

“And we have blowups, including Santa landing on Merry Crimson’s roof,” Yalda said. “It’s pretty cool.

“This is something Clark Griswold would definitely approve of.”

Merry Crimson is open Thursdays through Sundays until Christmas Eve, when it switches to a nightly schedule through Jan. 3.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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