BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW
Contributed by Jackie Brett
BELLAGIO’S CONSERVATORY ‘HOPEFUL HOLIDAYS’ DISPLAY INSPIRES: The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens extravagant holiday display appropriately titled “Hopeful Holidays” this year is inviting visitors to explore the majestic, imaginary world of Her Majesty Queen Bellissima. It is free to visit the exhibit, which is open 24 hours daily. “Hopeful Holidays” will be on display through Jan. 9, 2021. The Conservatory is featuring a 42-foot-tall fir tree with thousands of lights, an exquisite oversized ornamental egg, four majestic horses pulling a lavishly decorated carriage, and bustling elves preparing the Queen’s quarters for the season. Four scenes are set in the wondrous garden beds, each representing a holiday tradition or magical moment in the Queen’s enchanting wonderland. The towering 42-foot-tall holiday tree is a fresh-cut silver tipped fir tree from California’s Mt. Shasta decorated with 7,000 white lights and 2,500 gold and red ornaments. The tree is crowned with a new Swarovski crystal tree topper while a playful five-car toy train circles the base of the tree. The ice queen’s couture-inspired gown is newly trimmed in fresh everlasting roses and crystals. Accompanying her is a family of Coca-Cola polar bears with Mama and Sister bears adorned in new crowns to match the Queen. In the North Garden, there is a magnificent ornamental egg set in a fountain of flowing water and surrounded by a bed of Poinsettia flowers. The egg’s jewel-encrusted doors are open, revealing a pair of stunning red cardinals set in a snowy winter scene. In the East Garden, the Queen’s European-themed carriage embellished with jewels, two pearl-curtained windows, and a red velvet interior captures the perfect holiday photo. Four 12-foot-tall white horses are dressed in their finest regalia. The charming South Bed highlights whimsical elves working hard to create a magical experience. Here the Queen’s playful puppy can be found frolicking next to an inviting fireplace and festive floral-embellished furnishings. The Conservatory is selling an exclusive “Season Greetings”-scented holiday candle with the same scent visitors take in as they explore the holiday display. Candles can be purchased inside the Giardini Garden Store. Some of the display’s fun facts by the numbers include: 13,780 flowers; 8,000 poinsettias; 25 lit silvertip fir trees; seven elves; five Polar bears; and four horses. It took 75 team members six days to assemble the exhibit.
ADVENTUREDOME AT CIRCUS CIRCUS DEBUTS NEW THRILL RIDE: Circus Circus has revealed NebulaZ, a new thrill ride at the five-acre Adventuredome, the first since 2013. The attraction has four arms rotating in fast intermeshing orbits. The ride can hold up to 32 guests per cycle with eight gondolas each holding four riders, reaching top speeds of 14 rotations per minute. Standing tall at more than 32 feet high, riders catch air as they fly over the top. The ride lasts about three minutes. The minimum height requirement for NebulaZ is 42 inches. Pricing for all-day ride passes include the $19.95 Junior Pass for children under 48 inches, and a $39.95 Regular Pass for guests 48 inches or taller. Guests to the resort may also visit the Carnival Midway where they can play a huge selection of games and win premium prizes at the newly renovated prize redemption center. The Midway surrounds the circus stage, which showcases free circus acts daily– including flying trapeze, circus clowns, jugglers, contortionists and more.
LAS VEGAS WILL IMPLODE 2020 SIGN TO RING IN NEW YEAR: It is no surprise New Year’s Eve will be drastically different in Las Vegas this year especially with the fireworks show over the Strip cancelled. However, the city is still committed to owning the title of “America’s Party” guaranteeing to bring the phrase “out with the old, in with the new” to life, in real time, and telling 2020 to kiss off. On Dec. 31, folks can log on to the VisitLasVegas website, Vegas’ Facebook page, or YouTube channels for a livestream countdown to midnight for an Only Vegas celebration, complete with a live DJ and epic sights. While the physical event is not open to the public, guests from around the world can celebrate virtually. Las Vegas enthusiasts can even share what they are most looking forward to in the new year for a chance to win trips to the destination in 2021. When the countdown clock strikes zero, get ready for a blast and a burst of color and sound as 2020 is literally blown away and 2021 is ushered in. A 2020 sign will be lit up – and then blown up – in spectacular fashion. A DJ will begin the new year with a celebration of music when a massive LED lit 2021 sign is revealed along with an eruption of confetti, streamers, and fireworks. The 12- to 15-minute colorful pyrotechnic spectacular will be a perfect way to ring in a much-anticipated new year.
STRAT OFFERS CHANCE TO JUMP INTO 2021: At The STRAT, one lucky winner will make history as Las Vegas’ “mirror ball” this New Year’s Eve. With The resort’s “Midnight Mirror Ball” sweepstakes, one winner will be selected to jump from the 829-foot SkyJump attraction at the stroke of midnight on Thursday, Dec. 31. The selected winner will also receive an exclusive, celebratory experience to share with three guests on New Year’s Eve. The “Midnight Mirror Ball” sweepstakes winner will get a grand prize New Year’s Eve package including the SkyPod tower jump at midnight; SkyPod admission and unlimited thrill rides wristbands for four; an invitation for four to a private party in the SkyPod tower from 9–10:30 p.m.; two complimentary rooms for a one-night stay on Thursday, Dec. 31 at The STRAT Hotel; one bottle of Dom Perignon to toast to the new year after leaping from the tower; and one digital video of the SkyJump experience. Participants must be at least 21 years of age and may enter on The STRAT’s Instagram page.
8 EAST AT CIRCA LAUNCHES HAPPY HOUR OFFERINGS: At the new Circa Resort & Casino, 8 East – Chef Dan Coughlin’s new Pan-Asian restaurant – is introducing Happy Hour daily from 3 to 5:30 p.m., featuring several signature dishes and drinks for $9 or less. Guests can partake of shareable plates and a diverse drink selection including Sake Bombs. The restaurant’s Happy Hour features the following $8 Plates: Ginger Chicken Dumplings; Pork Belly Bao; Tokyo Crepe; Carpaccio; Salt & Szechuan Pepper Chicken Wings; and Chicken Skins. Coughlin, a key player in sparking the Downtown food movement, has introduced new fusion dishes and techniques at 8 East. Based off Coughlin’s travels through Asia, his menu is full of shareable dishes radiating originality and personality. The restaurant’s design evokes a modern metropolis with an urban contemporary vibe, accented by quirky art and a high-energy atmosphere. At its entrance, visitors can snap a photo with the whimsical wall art installation filled with traditional Maneki-neko waving cats, symbolizing good luck in the Japanese culture.
GILLEY’S NOW OFFERING BLUEGRASS SATURDAYS: Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall & Bar-B-Que at Treasure Island has started Bluegrass Saturdays featuring food and drink specials and ambient bluegrass music. Bluegrass Saturdays operate 4 to 8 p.m. with local bluegrass band Out of the Desert performing ambient acoustic music starting at 5 p.m. Tables limited to four and reservations required. Drink specials include: 16 oz. draft beer $8; five for $30 beer buckets; and four for $30 beer buckets. There are featured food favorites including the Cowboy Burger and Southern Fried Chicken.
MOB MUSEUM LAUNCHES ONLINE RETAIL STORE: The Mob Museum downtown is introducing a brand-new online store featuring dozens of distinctive gift ideas. In addition, the Museum is making its Signature, Cinn-City and new Ginger Jake Moonshine varieties available for purchase online for the first time; alcoholic beverages are available for pick-up at the Museum only. Gift cards are also available in denominations of $10 to $100. Merchandise varies from a Fuggedaboutit Baby Onesie or “The Godfather: The Corleone Family Cookbook” to Henry Hill Quote Tote Bag with the saying “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster” or “Behind Bars: High Class Cocktails Inspired by Low Life Gangsters.”
PAULY SHORE MAKES RETURN VISIT TO DELIRIOUS COMEDY CLUB: Comedian, actor, writer, and director Pauly Shore returns to the Delirious Comedy Club at the Downtown Grand this weekend, Dec. 18-19 headlining the 10 p.m. show inside The Fremont Room. Locally celebrated comedian Guy Fessenden and Kathleen Dunbar will join him. Tickets for “Pauly Shore Live in Las Vegas” start at $65. MTV’s hit show “Totally Pauly,” which first aired in 1990, propelled him into stardom. Shortly after, his award-winning HBO comedy special was released and his comedic timing earned him starring roles in several blockbuster hits such as “Encino Man,” “Son in Law,” “A Goofy Movie,” and “Bio-Dome.” Since, Shore has been featured on the big screen and streaming services everywhere in projects such as Adam Sandler’s “Sandy Wexler,” a self-made documentary “Pauly Shore Stands Alone,” and the just-released hit comedy “Guest House,” now available on digital and on-demand.
RESTAURANT COMPANY DEBUTS HASH HOUSE 2 GO GO: Hash House A Go Go has flown the coop and hit the road with Hash House 2 Go Go, a new food truck concept featuring their twisted take on chicken fingers. Hash House A Go Go at 6800 West Sahara is hosting a festive food truck event and introducing the new Hash House 2 Go Go truck Thursday, Dec. 17. Hash House 2 Go Go will be joined by food truck friends El Tamalucas, Nic’s Shrimp House, and more from 5-8 p.m. To celebrate its official debut, Hash House 2 Go Go is offering a Buy One, Get One on all menu items and $1.50 domestic beers at the event.
GOLD SPIKE SLEIGHS THE HOLIDAYS WITH THEMED POP-UP: Gold Spike, an adult playground and nightlife experience downtown, has decked its halls in holiday cheer debuting insta-worthy décor, a winter fresh cocktail menu, and resident DJs. Gold Spike’s yuletide celebration is every Thursday from 8 p.m. till late and every Friday–Saturday from 7 p.m. till late. Go online to make a table reservation. Throughout December, The Living Room at Gold Spike is transformed into a winter wonderland with a giant snowmen and soldier, tinsel, trees, and thousands of twinkling lights. The themed cocktails have fun names like Baby It’s Gold Outside, All I Want For Christmas Is Booze, Christmas Came Early in Georgia, Grandma Got Run Over By A Red Bull, and Santa’s Lil’ Helper.
MORE HOLIDAY DÉCOR AND CHEER ABOUT TOWN: Despite the pandemic, holiday décor can be found around town. Tivoli Village, a premier lifestyle destination with shopping and dining is decorated outdoors with a giant tree matched by an enormous Menorah. Town Square is another upscale shopping outdoor shopping area with a Snow in the Square 10-minute show through Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7 and 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Really different and returning this year is Santa Claus dressed in scuba gear submerged in the Silverton’s 117,000-gallon aquarium. The man in red can be spotted Saturdays and Sundays in December from noon-1:15 p.m. and 2:15-3:30 p.m. Hotel’s like to decorate and The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium and Gardens has created a winter fantasy with snow covered trees, holiday lights, and poinsettias. At the Tropicana there is a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree, palm trees, and a 10-foot poinsettia photo op wall. There’s Christmas spirit at Ellis Island in its restaurant, The Front Yard, which has been transformed into a Yuletide wonderland. The space, decorated over a three-day period, boasts 15 Christmas trees, including a 15-foot one elevated to the second story. The Front Yard is also hosting Christmas Movie Nights where diners can watch holiday films every Tuesday throughout December at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
NATIONAL ATOMIC TESTING MUSEUMS NEWS: The Smithsonian Affiliated National Atomic Testing Museum (NATM) is temporarily closed to the public from Dec. 10 to Jan. 2 as a COVID safety precaution. After the closure, the Museum has announced its new “COVID-19: Battling the Invisible Enemy” exhibit will open for the Winter Season. At no additional cost to the general admission, visitors will be able to learn more about the work being done by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate in supporting the country’s COVID-19 response. The NATM has worked closely with S&T’s Communications and Outreach Division to coordinate this exhibit. In addition, the NATM is grateful to Scott McGregor for his donation of a Manhattan Project Security Badge for the Museum’s new Trinity Exhibit. Historic artifacts like these, pieces of the Manhattan Project, highlight unique aspects that surround this year’s 75th anniversary of the first atomic test known as Trinity. This rare brass badge served as authorization for entry into the “S-Site Area” of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory during WWII. S-Site was responsible for developing high explosives required to implode the nuclear trigger of the plutonium bomb tested at Trinity and later used on Nagasaki. Based on the hazards associated with these explosives, S-Site was located on a remote mesa separated from the rest of the Laboratory. The badges were issued to employees entering the site and returned to security upon their exit.