BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW
Contributed by Jackie Brett
CIRCA COMPLETES INSTALLATION OF FIRST EXTERIOR SIGN: Now that the Circa Resort & Casino is no longer a big hole in the ground, excitement mounts with each milestone reached. Last week, Downtown’s first ground-up casino-resort in 40 years completed the installation of its first exterior sign. Manufactured by YESCO, the “CIRCA” neon sign spans 68 vertical feet and the first “C” measures 34 feet high. Circa will officially open on Fremont Street Experience Oct. 28. “This is a truly momentous day for this project,” said Circa CEO Derek Stevens. “The sign raising is not only a big step for Circa, but a symbol of moving forward for Las Vegas. All things considered in 2020, it is great to have days like this that bring hope and excitement for the future.” Weighing nearly six tons and three stories high, the sign’s letters will illuminate with more than 3,000 fully programmable red-green-blue (RGB) light-emitting diode (LED) lights connected to the resort’s lighting-control system. It took YESCO approximately four weeks to fabricate the sign and the installation took more than three days. Circa will be the only 21-plus casino resort in Las Vegas and will span 1.25-million square feet.
THE D’S MANNEKEN PIS STATUE MASKS UP FOR NEVADA: Manneken Pis at the D Las Vegas as well as the Statue of Liberty at New York-New York are wearing masks. Manneken Pis, a fountain replica of Belgium’s famous naked troublemaker, has officially covered up…his face, that is. Donning a branded mask with the D’s logo, the 500-pound statue with a penchant for exposing himself has joined the “Mask Up for Nevada” movement to help protect Las Vegas residents and visitors against the spread of COVID-19. Even though he would prefer to go “au naturale,” Manneken Pis has a wardrobe of seasonal suits and costumes and his mask is the latest addition to his repertoire. The art piece holds a special place for the D owners, brothers Derek and Greg Stevens, who are of Belgian descent and visited the statue in Brussels often throughout their childhood and early adulthood. A lifelong fan of the cheeky work-of-art, Stevens brought a large-scale bronze replica of the statue in 2015 to welcome guests at the D. Manneken Pis – Belgian for “Little Man Pee” – is a little boy who cheerfully “relieves himself” into a fountain’s basin. Historically, beginning as a central water source in Belgium, Manneken Pis has played an important role. Created by Hiëroynmus Duquesnoy the Elder and put on display in 1619, Manneken Pis was a survivor of the bombardment of Brussels in 1695 and grew into one of the most widely visited and photographed statues in Belgium.
LAGASSE’S STADIUM WON’T REOPEN: While Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo has been closed since the COVID-19 shutdown, the word is it will not reopen. The closure of the sports bar and restaurant is permanent making Emeril Lagasse the first celebrity chef to close one of his restaurants on the Stip. What will happen to the space is unknown. Replacing rapper Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club, Lagasse opened the sports-themed restaurant in 2009 with a stadium seating area, more than 100 screens and sports betting. On the bright side, Lagasse is continuing to operate Delmonico Steakhouse in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand.
BOYD GAMING LAUNCHES STARDUST SOCIAL CASINO: Boyd Gaming Corporation revives its legendary Stardust brand with the debut of the new Stardust Social Casino mobile app featuring a regularly updated selection of popular slot titles from Boyd Gaming casino floors across the country. The game is free to play and available for download on iOS and Android mobile platforms. In addition to offering a wide selection of popular games, Stardust Social Casino offers rewards and benefits at Boyd Gaming properties across the country. Virtual credit purchases on the app will earn points and Tier Credits within Boyd Gaming’s B Connected player loyalty program, redeemable at Boyd Gaming properties across the country. The mobile game captures the nostalgia of the classic Las Vegas experience. Over its nearly 50-year history, the Stardust Resort and Casino opened on July 2, 1958, added a modern 32-story tower in 1991, closed Nov. 1, 2006, and was imploded March 13, 2007. The resort was the home the “Le Lido de Paris” extravaganza, and the inspiration behind the critically acclaimed 1995 movie “Casino.” Thanks to preservation, the famous Stardust sign now resides at the Neon Museum downtown. Resorts World Las Vegas, a multibillion-dollar Chinese-themed casino, is currently being built on the former site of the Stardust and scheduled to open in 2021.
CHAPEL INTRODUCES ELVIS THEMED VIRTUAL VOW RENEWALS: Graceland Wedding Chapel in Downtown Las Vegas is now offering virtual Elvis themed vow renewals and commitment ceremonies for couples all over the world to enjoy. While it isn’t a legal wedding ceremony, it is meaningful and fun for couples as they can invite up to 100 friends and family to watch via Zoom. Recently, Adrian and Bianca Wheeler from the U.K., who had been married 10 years ago at Graceland Wedding Chapel by Elvis impersonator and chapel co-owner Brendan Paul, celebrated their 10-year anniversary with a virtual Elvis vow renewal while more than 20 friends and family watched it live via Zoom from around the country. Graceland Wedding Chapel has been a prominent wedding chapel in Las Vegas for more than 70 years and conducted more than 275,000 ceremonies. Originally it was Gretna Green Wedding Chapel. The name change came in 1977 after Elvis Presley died. It was that same year that Graceland Wedding Chapel conducted the world’s first Elvis-themed wedding ceremony. The virtual vow renewal or commitment ceremony package is $279 and can be booked online. It will include a non-legal commitment ceremony conducted by The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll with the Elvis impersonator singing segments of three songs: “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “Love Me Tender” and “Viva Las Vegas.”
DINING • BEVERAGE NEWS
Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar on Paradise is offering a way to travel “the flavors of Italy” with its Summer Regional Menu Series. The next culinary stop will spotlight Toscana—Tuscany in English. The region in central Italy is famous for its locally grown produce and meat. Tuscan cooking is traditionally hearty and includes fresh, high-quality ingredients such as bread, pasta, vegetables, and cheese. The special four-course menu for $49 runs July 27 through Aug. 8. Amore Taste of Chicago has opened a second larger location in Henderson. The business was launched in 2008 close to the intersection of Durango Drive and Flamingo Road and that location is currently closed for renovations. The new location at 4330 E. Sunset Road took over a closed TGI Fridays building and has a bar and a private room for 12 to 14 people after COVID. Amore’s specialties include deep dish or stuffed pizzas, Italian beef sandwiches, chicken parmigiana, and cannoli for dessert. CraftHaus Brewery is set to launch Nevada’s first low calorie, electrolyte IPA on July 31. Both of its taprooms will carry the beer on tap and in 12-ounce, six-packs across the valley. As a more health conscience beverage choice of active people, this is the brewery’s first beer in a low-calorie category. Staying true to their craft beer roots, the beer clocks in at four percent alcohol by volume and 45 International Bittering Units from Cascade and Mosaic hops. Electro-Lite, IPA is a seasonal brew expected to be available for approximately three months.
CAMEL SAFARI OFFERS DESERT RANCH EXPERIENCE: Desert Ranch Experience by Camel Safari offers a distinctive outdoor destination for conservation-focused animal encounters, as well as daytime and overnight “glamping” experiences, which are growing in popularity, inside authentic Mongolian Gers. The ranch is situated on 176 acres along the Virgin River 80 minutes north of Las Vegas. The exclusive location offers a picturesque desert landscape perfect for weddings, family reunions, corporate retreats, bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthday parties and more. Every Desert Ranch Experience includes up-close animal encounters with the destination’s 34 camels and other exotic animal species, including alpacas, llamas, armadillos, African crested porcupine, a two-toed sloth and more. Desert Ranch Experience maintains accreditation as a Disney-approved vendor and certification from the Zoological Association of America.
Boyd Gaming is offering one of its highest regional linked Pai Gow Poker progressives in recent history, with the progressive jackpot nearing a half-million dollars as it already stands at more than $490,000 at Aliante, The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Sam’s Town and Cannery. Pai Gow Poker pits players against the dealer in a game. Both the player and the dealer each receive seven cards and place them into a five-card hand and a two-card hand. The goal of this table game is to have both hands beat the dealer’s respective hands to win. It is possible to win. This past week, a resort guest at The Cosmopolitan won $320,000 with a $200 two-coin bet on Pinball in the High Limit Slots room there.
ALL IN AVIATION LAUNCHES CUSTOM FLIGHT LESSON EXPERIENCES: According to director of flight operations Carl May at All In Aviation, flight school enrollment has increased due to the pandemic, because people have more time on their hands and want to explore and experience adventure in a safe way. Now All In Aviation, a Cirrus Aircraft flight training center in Henderson, is launching custom destination flight lessons in celebration of National Aviation Week (Aug. 17-21), to be offered indefinitely. Beginning Aug. 17, adventure seekers and aviation enthusiasts can customize their own flight lesson experience to anywhere in the southwest region. Flights can include lunch or dinner, a stop at the beach, or a hike in the mountains – as well as the opportunity to bring two-three additional guests at no extra charge. All time in the air will count toward hours to obtain a private pilot’s license providing a student decides to enroll in flight training. Customizable flight lessons start at $2,000 and can be completely tailored for a one-of-a-kind experience.
AMAZON’S NEW HENDERSON FACILITY IS OPEN: Last week Amazon opened its new 600,000-square-foot cross-dock facility support customer fulfillment building in Henderson by receiving large orders of inventory and redistributing products to fulfillment centers across the company’s operations network. The new site will continue to ramp up to full operations over the next several weeks and will have more than 1,000 full-time employees by the 2020 holiday shopping season.