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Happy New Year, Las Vegas! — BLOG

Updated January 1, 2019 - 2:37 am

2:35 a.m.

Clark County officials reported 11 people taken from the Strip to hospitals, wrapping up a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve celebration in Las Vegas.

Three people were treated for problems related to alcohol, including one male suffering from alcohol intoxication, according to county spokesman Erik Pappa. Two females were treated for drug-related conditions. Two people were transported after fainting. Another case involved a mental health problem. The county had no information on the remaining three incidents.

Sgt. Jeff Clark of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said street sweepers were working their way north on the Strip. Street closures were lifted as the sweepers wrapped up their work at about 2:30 a.m.

Police were still working to reopen Flamingo Road at the Strip, but didn’t expect much delay.

“Weather helped us out,” Clark said. “It was chilly and windy,” which kept most celebrations short, he said.

“It was a smooth night. We had a lot of cooperation,” Clark said.

1:07 a.m.

The Las Vegas Strip fireworks show ended, and the crowd got tighter as people pushed and shoved to move to their destination for the night. The line to get on the monorail stretched hundreds of feet as the hundreds of thousands of people who hit the Strip for the celebration began working their way to their hotel rooms, parties and homes.

At near standstill in some areas, many people jumped over the fences and barriers. Some danced a jig on the metal dividers. Others danced in the middle of the street.

Tensions ran high with people packed like sardines — at one point after midnight, a fight nearly broke out.

Eli Padilla and Maria Perez traveled to Las Vegas for their second New Year’s Eve in Sin City. The cold weather didn’t stop them from having a good time at the Linq promenade, they said.

“(It’s) chilly, but it doesn’t faze us because we’re from Chicago,” Perez said.

Padilla said the casinos were comfortable, but they had to battle the crowds to get a place to see the show everyone was waiting for.

“When we were outside to see the fireworks, it was like sardines” he said.

— Amelia Pak-Harvey and Blake Apgar

12:42 a.m.

The new year is nearly an hour old, and the party is still going under the Fremont canopy in Downtown Las Vegas.

Local rockers Zowie Bowie are belting out hits from the 80s, but the crowd is thinning at the stage.

Workers armed with dustpans are beginning to sweep an abundance of discarded party horns, braid necklaces and plastic cups.

Just as the crowd on the Strip finally stretched as far north as the Circus Circus, the countdown was on.

As the clock struck midnight and 2019 rang in, the crowd screamed, celebrated — with many getting their New Year’s kiss — as fireworks popped off.

Sitting largely barren for most of the frigid New Year’s Eve, once the grand finale ended the crowd on Las Vegas Boulevard north of the Encore quickly dissipated. Many of the revelers left the area, largely in the direction of nearby hotels, likely in search of warmth.

By 12:20 a.m. a makeshift retail shop located in front Slots A Fun was packed up and the dozen or so employees were on their way.

But not everyone was having a great time. Clark County reported that five people were taken from the Strip to the hospital during the night of revelry.

One man was suffering from alcohol intoxication, one man fainted, two women had drug-related issues and another man had mental health issues.

— Michael Scott Davidson, Mick Akers and Robert S. Johnson

12:12 a.m.

Well, it was a bit tense, and the shivering masses waiting for a dazzling light show worried until the moment the booms went off, but Las Vegas rang in the New Year with all of the excitement and flash that was expected.

Brisk winds threatened to shut down the seven-casino fireworks display, but Clark County powered ahead with the show to light up the sky as the clock ticked to 2019.

As the clock neared midnight in downtown Las Vegas, thousands of people in the Fremont Street Experience crowded around a stage between The D and 4 Queens casinos.

On stage, Mayor Carolyn Goodman and her husband Oscar, himself a former Las Vegas Mayor, waved to the crowd. Showgirls flanked the couple on both sides.

All eyes turned upward toward the Fremont canopy as the 2018 Year in Review presentation played, memorializing the year’s events and honoring famous entertainers who had died, including Stan Lee, Avicci and Aretha Franklin.

With the giant crowd counting down, The clock struck midnight and fireworks launched from the stage.

“Nobody can beat Las Vegas,” Mayor Goodman said over the cheers. “I love our city just like all of you.”

Metropolitan Police Department officers and National Guard troops received a lot of love all night from passersby in Fremont East. “Be safe,” “stay warm” and “thank you for your service” were popular refrains.

The biggest migrations of the night between Fremont East and Fremont were literally two minutes before midnight (to Fremont) and five minutes after (back to Fremont East).

— Robert S. Johnson, Michael Scott Davidson and Shea Johnson

12:00 a.m.

Las Vegas welcomes 2019 with fireworks, leaves 2018 behind with a shiver.

11:39 a.m.

It’s looking more and more likely that the 19th year of Las Vegas New Year’s Eve fireworks will be a go.

Clark County tweeted at 11:39 p.m. that wind readings remain within the acceptable range to keep the show alive.

“Our wind readings are still within the good range! We are just 22 minutes away from launching #AmericasParty, Vegas!” the county tweeted.

But the National Weather Service was more cautious.

Winds in the range of 10 to 15 mph winds with gusts over 20 were making their way to the Strip minutes before midnight fireworks shows were set to begin, meteorologist John Salmen said.

“It certainly looks like they could get there by midnight,” he said.

He said once the winds reach the Strip, “I don’t see where it’s gonna stop.”

The county has said that it will delay or cancel the fireworks show if sustained wind speeds are at 10 mph or above.

— Robert S. Johnson and Mike Shoro

10:55 p.m.

The show will (probably) go on.

Despite concerns that the wind will ruin the Las Vegas New Year’s Eve fireworks show, Clark County announced that it appears that the midnight launch from seven casinos will go on as scheduled.

“Wind speeds look good so far from our fireworks command post @RioVegas,” the county tweeted. “We are on track to launch #AmericasParty on the Las Vegas Strip at midnight. Keep your fingers crossed, #Vegas! #NYE2019”

The county has said that the fireworks display could be canceled or postponed until 1 a.m. if sustained winds are at 10 mph or above.

County spokesman Erik Pappa said Monday morning that the fireworks have never been canceled since the show on the Strip began 19 years ago.

— Robert S. Johnson

10:45 p.m.

Throughout the night, the Strip was home to a range of people and emotions — from crying children turned away from the casino floor to adults shouting “Vegas, baby!” and “Happy New Year!”

But some tourists lost steam as the night wore on. Lines for Starbucks stores grew long and people sat on casino floors, sipping on their warm, caffeinated drinks to avoid the near-freezing temperatures outside as 2019 ticked closer.

— Amelia Pak-Harvey

10:40 p.m.

A stout breeze and temperatures dipping into the 30s left most people bundled up on the Fremont Street Experience.

But not Cheynne Keith. The 56-year-old’s bare chest was on display as he sported a white jumpsuit fitting of Elvis Presley.

He purchased the garment almost a decade ago for a friend’s wedding in Las Vegas, and despite its flimsiness, he shrugged off the cold.

“It’s not bad; I’m from Canada,” he said. “I’ll get in the crowd to stay warm.”

— Michael Scott Davidson

10:20 p.m.

Talia Orona, 22, and Brian Galicia, 23, wife and husband, made a 7-hour trek to Las Vegas from Salt Lake City to welcome in 2019.

“The vibe is different,” Orona said of Las Vegas.

“That’s why we love it,” Galicia added.

Also, the chilly weather ain’t nothing, they said, when its 20 degrees back home and they had to drive through a blizzard to get to Sin City for New Year’s Eve.

Also visiting from Salt Lake City was James Stevens, the only one in his group of five friends who converged in Fremont East for the night that was forced to travel. The others are new Vegas locals from as west as Seattle and as east as Houston.

“Come to Fremont if you’re looking for love,” Ryan Tront, 22, joked.

“We’re looking for love, we’re looking for sugar mommas, we’re looking for sugar daddies,” Marie Rose, 21, added.

Really, the group, including Joyce Pimilla, 26, and Brandon Tront, 29, were looking to stay far from the Strip in favor of downtown’s local vibe, Ryan Tront said.

— Shea Johnson

9:05 p.m.

Sustained winds hovering between 10 and 15 mph are expected to last through Monday night and into 2019, jeopardizing the massive New Year’s Eve fireworks shows planned throughout Las Vegas.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jenn Varian said that gusts in the low 20s could die down by midnight, but the sustained winds could be enough to keep the sky dark when the clock strikes midnight.

“Usually the cutoff is around 10 mph,” Varian said. “Since we’re hovering around the mark, that’s why everybody’s pretty nervous about it.”

The gusts in the 20s could return by 6 a.m. Tuesday and last through much of the afternoon, Varian said.

The low temperature overnight into the new year is forecast at 32 degrees but with the winds, temperatures could feel more like the mid to low 20s, she said.

Clark County fire marshal Girard Page said Monday afternoon that it’s “absolutely possible” that the fireworks show will be canceled if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

“We won’t allow the show to go on unless (wind speeds are) below 10 mph,” Page said. “It goes back to the firework safety.”

Each of the seven Strip hotels planning to launch fireworks has its own unique “fallout zone,” or predetermined area where remnants can safely fall. Debris falling outside that zone could endanger people, he said.

“If the wind’s too high, some of those remnants, and possibly some of those devices if they don’t work, will end up possibly going into the crowd,” Page said.

The county will monitor wind speeds up until midnight, coordinating with the National Weather Service all night and setting off “test shots” about 10 to 15 minutes before midnight. Test shots are required because it’s difficult to know what the wind speeds are in the upper atmosphere, Page said.

If debris from the test shots fall outside the fallout zone, the county may permit fireworks to go off at only the resorts where winds are slower, or delay the show in hopes that the winds die down. If the fireworks show does not begin by 1 a.m. Tuesday, it will be canceled, Page said.

County spokesman Erik Pappa said Monday morning that the fireworks have never been canceled since the show on the Strip began 19 years ago.

— Mike Shoro and Kimber Laux

8:55 p.m.

A good deal on a room at the Flamingo enticed Ohio resident Dennis and Cindy Hartman to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas for the first time.

“We’ve been here many times, but never for New Year’s,” said Dennis. 59.

“We wanted to do it at least once,” Cindy, 57, added.

They two walked the Linq Promenade before heading to dinner at Off the Strip at about 7:30 p.m., then spend the rest of the evening people watching and making sure they got a good spot for fireworks.

Tasha Cashen, a 54-year-old Los Angeles resident, took in the sights and sounds while she waited for her sister-in-law and her sister-in-law’s boyfriend to finish up a zip line down the Linq Promenade.

Cashen said she tries to visit Las Vegas a couple times a year but had never visited for New Year’s until her sister-in-law invited her.

“We try to make it out twice a year, but never at New Year’s because of the prices,” she said.

Once her friends made it down from the zip line, they planned to wander the Strip and watch the fireworks.

After that, it’d be an early night. Cashen wants to get an early start on the trip back to Los Angeles to beat the traffic.

— Meghin Delaney

8:50 p.m.

Just over an hour after Las Vegas Boulevard was shut to vehicle traffic for the New Year’s Eve celebration, the area near Circus Circus on the north end of the Strip remained quiet.

“Is it usually this dead?,” asked Juan M. from Southern California. “I’ve been here a few times in the past and it’s never been this slow.”

Juan wondered if the Oct. 1 shooting of a year ago had any affect on the crowd.

“Did all the shooting stuff scare people away,” he said, as he headed south on the Strip.

Aside for a group of revelers walking south on Las Vegas Boulevard, most of the action is at Sahara Avenue where traffic was cut off to Las Vegas Boulevard.

Despite a line of cars in the far right lane backed up toward Interstate 15 to the west, where drivers could turn right on to Paradise Road just east of the Strip, traffic near the intersection was fairly smooth.

Metro officers stopped several people as they attempted to enter Las Vegas Boulevard at Sahara Avenue due to them wearing backpacks, which are among the items prohibited on the Strip.

— Mick Akers

8:40 p.m.

Standing outside Evel Pie in Downtown Las Vegas, beers in hand, Ignacio Perez and Jordan Burns were keeping it local. The two lifelong Las Vegas residents moved back downtown about a year ago, and for good reason, Perez said.

Pizza and beer are cheap, the party is walking distance from home and the area is less proliferated by tourists, he said.

Perez, 26, is eyeing getting into college as the calendar turns to 2019, while Burns, 23, said she wants to draw closer to God.

“I know I’m, like, drinking,” she says, laughing and nodding to her can.

“God forgives!” Perez says.

— Shea Johnson

8:30 p.m.

At MGM’s The Park, the Nocum family posed for pictures by the colorful waterfall. The family came from the Philippines for their first New Year’s Eve in Vegas.

Louie Nocum, 26, wore a flashing green hat. His resolution?

“To start caring more about family, little things in general,” he said. “When you start caring, everything follows.”

While some tourists huddled by fires, a group of women from Wisconsin walked down the Tropicana Avenue barefoot, grateful for the relatively warmer weather. Others carried purses in the shape of gold wine bottles and silver glittery headphones.

Before 8 p.m., thousands of concertgoers lined up outside T-Mobile Arena to ring in the new year at the Bruno Mars concert.

On Las Vegas Boulevard outside the Hard Rock, Michelle Deyoe, of Tacoma, Washington, made elaborate New Year’s Eve hats for her family, laden with gold balls, glitter and lights.

The men in their family decorated their own items to bring in the New Year: 2019 flasks.

“Cheers!” Dave Holtgreven shouted as the men took swigs from their flasks.

“This is probably how all of 2019 will be,” their friend, Paris Hall said with a laugh.

— Briana Erickson

8:20 p.m.

As zipline riders flew by overhead, hundreds of revelers walked under the Fremont Street Experience’s neon canopy.

Live music flowed from bands at four stages lined along the street.

Three friends from South Bend, Indiana, became their own attraction by sporting colorful suits purchased online.

Brandon Vanvactor, 37, was covered in polka dots. Bob Crosby, 44, looked like an 80s nightmare. And Byron Guerra, 42, could have doubled as a comic book with a jacket covered in phrases like “BOOM!”

“We like to stand out. I’m not going to lie,” Vanvactor said in between photos with strangers. “We should have made a hashtag.”

Paul Harbaugh, 78, puffed on a freshly lit cigar while he walked hand-in-hand with his wife Mindy under the Fremont canopy. The two wore matching fedoras covered in glitter; his blue, hers pink.

“I don’t usually smoke, so one time I’ll celebrate the new year with a cigar,” the Washington resident said.

As the clock counted down to 9 p.m., a sea of revelers filled the Fremont Street Experience plaza between the D and 4 Queens casinos.

Counting down from 10, the crowd cheered and hoisted drinks and illuminated cellphones to help New York City and the rest of the east coast ring in the New Year.

— Michael Scott Davidson

8:15 p.m.

Some Vegas staples continued as usual. On the Strip, street preachers held up signs warning of impending doom and God’s wrath.

The man with the speakerphone scolded raucous passersby, who got into a shouting match with him. The topics: God, masturbation, and being born again.

In a quick turn of conversation, the street preacher turned to a woman dressed in tight black pants and a black top.

“You’ve lost your mind woman. You’ve lost your mind,” he said, scolding her for the way she dressed. “There’s kids and children walking around here … shame on you.”

— Amelia Pak-Harvey

8 p.m.

Katie and Sean Trammell stood grinning at a bar inside the Flamingo just hours after tying the knot.

The couple from Atlanta decided to get married in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve only two weeks ago.

“If we’re going to get married,” Sean Trammell said, “why not do something that we’ll never forget?”

Mirianne Jewell, 46, ended 2018 by marrying Kenn Jewell at a 2 p.m. ceremony at the Little White Chapel. She stood in her white dress and poofy white jacket outside the Strip early in the evening, waiting for her new husband, who had gotten turned around in a casino after stopping to use a restroom.

They were planning to head back to the Cosmopolitan to go ice skating before watching the fireworks from their room on the 41st floor.

The trip marked her first time in Vegas and for Mirianne it was the perfect fit for a wedding.

“It’s crazy, it’s all out, it was perfect,” she said.

— Amelia Pak-Harvey and Meghin Delaney

6:51 p.m.

The Fremont Street Experience is another hot spot for New Year’s activity, with three stages for live music, and another with a DJ.

Officials want revelers to keep in mind that several things are not allowed during the festivities: weapons, masks or face paint, glass and metal, gang colors, strollers and backpacks and luggage. About 40,000 people are expected to be out and about in Downtown Las Vegas ring in 2019.

Security measures throughout the area include hundreds of National Guard troops and a heavy dose of police officers.

— Michael Scott Davidson

6:40 p.m.

The Strip is officially closed to vehicular traffic. But even with the roads closed, Metro officers kept people on the sidewalks until the crowds increase. Fenced medians will be moved to allow for more foot traffic on the street as more and more people arrive.

Pedestrian bridges on the Strip are closed for the rest of the year.

The following items are not allowed on the Strip between 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day:

— Glass bottles

— Backpacks

— Luggage

— Oversized purses

— Strollers

— Ice chests or coolers

— Jessie Bekker

6:30 p.m.

A fireworks shooting site in Pahrump was closed Monday evening ahead of the New Year in anticipation of high winds, according to a posted on the Town of Pahrump Facebook page.

“Fireworks shooting at the Pahrump Fireworks Shooter Site has been canceled,” the announcement said.

With anticipated wind gusts of up to 25 mph into Tuesday morning, fireworks in Las Vegas were at risk of cancellation, too, according to Clark County fire marshal Girard Page.

Sustained gusts of more than 10 mph could force the cancellations of fireworks shows on and off the Strip, he said.

Shows on the Strip that don’t begin by 1 a.m. Tuesday will be canceled, Page said.

— Jessie Bekker

5 p.m.

Roads around the resort corridor are set to close to traffic as revelers prepare to ring in 2019 in Las Vegas.

The Nevada Department of Transportation and Nevada Highway Patrol troopers will begin to shut the Interstate 15 offramps to eastbound Flamingo Road, Tropicana Avenue and Spring Mountain Road at 5 p.m.

At 5:45 p.m., officers will then close all other westbound streets, roads and alleys leading onto Las Vegas Boulevard between Sahara Avenue and Mandalay Bay Road from Koval Lane.

Then at 6 p.m. Metro will shut all streets, roads and alleys leading onto the Strip between Sahara Avenue and Mandalay Bay Road, with all barricades in place.

At 6:15 p.m. Metro traffic officers will begin clearing all vehicular traffic off Las Vegas Boulevard between Sahara Avenue and Mandalay Bay Road.

By 6:45 p.m., Las Vegas Boulevard and all inbound roads leading onto the Strip will be fully closed to vehicle traffic, leaving the Strip only open to pedestrian traffic.

At 7 p.m. all moving walkways, elevators and escalators leading to or crossing Las Vegas Boulevard will be shut off.

After the New Year arrives and the fireworks show is over, at 12:15 a.m. Tuesday all moving walkways, elevators and escalators leading to or crossing Las Vegas Boulevard will resume operations.

By 1:30 a.m. officers expect celebrations to subside and barricade removal will begin.

At 2 a.m. street sweepers will begin cleaning up Las Vegas Boulevard working from south to north.

At 3:30 a.m. NDOT and NHP troopers will begin to reopen I-15 offramps to eastbound Flamingo Road, Tropicana Avenue and Spring Mountain Road and all other streets, roads and alleys leading onto Las Vegas Boulevard Between Russell Road and Sahara Avenue will also begin to reopen.

Aside from the Strip, some roads downtown will also shut to traffic. The closure of Fourth Street to Main Street and Carson Avenue to Ogden Avenue that began this morning, will reopen to traffic at 5 a.m. Tuesday. Additionally, the fireworks display at the Plaza will result in the closure of Main Street from Carson Avenue to Ogden Avenue for about 15 minutes beginning at midnight, according to the city.

— Mick Akers

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