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EDITORIAL: ‘Las Vegas takes every experience to a new level’

Updated December 30, 2019 - 9:03 pm

Las Vegas remains without peer when it comes to throwing a party — and the occasion of ringing in a new year provides an excuse for the biggest bash on the calendar.

More than 330,000 visitors are expected to jam onto the Strip and downtown to celebrate the end of the teens and the onset of the ’20s. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimates the revelers will fill local coffers to the tune of $240 million.

No fewer than eight casinos on the Strip — from The STRAT on the north end, to the MGM Grand on the south — will launch a coordinated pyrotechnics show after dark featuring 80,000 fireworks. Downtown, the Fremont Street Experience plans four stages of live entertainment and will unveil a new $32 million overhead Viva Vision screen, the largest single digital display in the world.

“Las Vegas takes every experience to a new level,” H. Fletch Brunelle, the convention authority’s vice president of marketing, told the Review-Journal, “and New Year’s Eve is no exception.”

This sheer mass of humanity will no doubt bring with it a handful of unfortunate incidents. But party-goers on the Strip or Fremont Street can help ensure a smooth evening by adhering to a few simple, common-sense rules: Leave the backpacks, coolers and strollers in the hotel — and, for goodness sake, don’t tote around glass bottles that can be used as dangerous projectiles.

Many veteran locals will no doubt avoid downtown and the Strip. But they should still be aware of the road closures — beginning at 9 p.m. — intended to accommodate the pedestrian onslaught on Las Vegas Boulevard and the Fremont Street areas. Virtually every east-west cross street on the Strip will be off limits much of the night, as will many Interstate 15 on- and off-ramps in the area, while navigating downtown streets also will present a challenge due to numerous restrictions.

Finally, there’s no excuse for drivers to get behind the wheel after indulging their celebratory instincts. The Regional Transportation Commission is offering free bus rides on 39 fixed transit routes beginning at 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve all the way through 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day. In addition, cab and rideshare options abound — for instance, Lyft is providing ride credits to customers during the holiday.

Have fun. But celebrate responsibly and stay safe.

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