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New Year’s Eve fireworks a go, but storm could cancel Strip display

Standing outside on the roof of The Venetian, pyrotechnicians were putting the finishing touches on the fireworks display for the Strip’s eight-minute “America’s Party 2023” fireworks show for New Year’s Eve.

But with dark clouds overhead on Friday afternoon and a winter storm on track to reach the Las Vegas Valley Saturday night, it’s possible the expected 400,000 revelers will not get to witness a massive fireworks display.

“The most challenging part is always mother nature,” Corey Grucci, production manager for Fireworks by Grucci, said. “We fire rain or shine, the wind will be the deciding factor.”

This New Year’s Eve could be the wettest for Las Vegas. And it would be the first time a rainstorm arrives on the Strip since Las Vegas has not received significant rain on the last day of the year when .21 of an inch fell in 1943.

There is a 30 percent chance of showers after 4 p.m. and a 90 percent probability of rain after 10 p.m. with wind gusts between 16-28 mph.

“The bulk of the storm should arrive between 10 p.m. and 3 in the morning,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Meltzer.

The final call on whether or not locals and tourists will be able to see fireworks at the stroke of midnight won’t be made until 11:30 p.m., when a “test shot” will be fired from each of the eight Strip resorts to see how the wind is acting, according to Grucci.

“Each rooftop has different heights, different levels and some areas can create a (wind) tunnel,” he said. “The other unique thing is we’re getting a wind reading (on the roof), and the fireworks are going 300 feet in the air before they actually expended, so the test shot will definitely be telling.”

If the test shot’s wind reading isn’t conducive to a fireworks show, the event will be delayed to 1 a.m., according to Grucci. If the wind is still an issue by 1 a.m., the fireworks show will be canceled.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said a canceled fireworks show would be a disappoint, but she’s hopeful.

“Everybody is waiting, but I’m a believer in the good luck of Las Vegas,” she said. “I just hope it blows over, goes north, or way south.”

‘Let’s go Big!’

The theme of this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration is “Let’s Go Big!” and 66 pyrotechnicians spent five days to set up the 11,000 devices for the eight-minute display, Grucci said.

“Eight minutes isn’t a long time, but the amount of fireworks they’re shooting off in those eight minutes is a lot,” Michael Wassmer, chief pyrotechnician at Fireworks by Grucci, said. “If it would go slower it would probably last 25 minutes, but it’s a go big year.”

Music will go along with the fireworks display such as “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus, “23” by Sam Hunt, “Larger Than Life” by Backstreet Boys and the traditional New Year’s Eve song “Auld Lang Syne” sung by Mariah Carey. The finale will be to the tune of “Do Life Big” by Jaime Grace.

The Venetian is one of eight Strip resorts that will set off fireworks. The Rio will serve as the command center for the organizers with fireworks also going off at MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood Resort, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, Resorts World and The Strat.

Wassmer said the fireworks should be “eye-opening” and new features for this year’s show will include chase scenes between the rooftops and brighter colors.

“We want to shoot. We want everyone to have a happy new year,” he said. “When the last shell finally goes off, you feel like, ‘OK, my job is done.’ And when you hear the crowd scream all the way up here, you know you did a good job.”

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Ricardo Torres-Cortez contributed to this story.

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