Well, last night was one for the cultural history of Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Springs Preserve (the site where the water ran that made Las Vegas possible) had their gala grand opening last night.
I was escorted by Classic Las Vegas pals Dennis McBride, Brian "Paco" Alvarez and Allen Sandquist. We were surrounded at every turn by many of the movers and shakers of Las Vegas, including Mayor Oscar Goodman, the Convention Authority's Rossi Rollankotter, Jerry and Lois Tarkanian, Don Snyder, Bob Stoldal and his wife, Paula Francis, the Junior League's Dedee Nave, Helen Mortenson and the folks behind the various cultural museums in town: Barbara Slivac, acting director for the State Museum David Millman, Tom Dwyer, the Cannon Aviation Museum director Mark Hall-Patton and representing City Cultural Affairs Richard Hooker.
You come down a ramp into the Preserve and are surrounded by rock formations. We were told that the reason the rock formations seemed so familiar was because they had gone out to the Valley of Fire and done castings of the rock formations out there and recreated some of them here on the Preserve. Atop those rock formations for this evening only, were members of the Cirque de Soliel. Once inside there is a beautiful Amphitheater area with the stage butting up against a large rock formation.
The Springs is all about green buildings and they certainly kick this environmentally great idea up a major notch with straw bale construction, recycled paper and on site recycling bins.
The evening was catered by Wolfgang Puck Catering who also has the on-site restaurant concession. There were a dozen food stations and bars and the food was excellent. The dessert table was loaded with everything from cupcakes to truffles. It was heavenly.
After all the speeches, folks were encouraged to visit the Visitors Center and other buildings to check out the exhibits. The most popular one seems to be the recreation of a flash flood.
At twilight with a full mooning rising, the Las Vegas Philharmonic took their seats beside the stage and provided the music for the show put on by the Cirque. There was the usual female singer except she was located atop the rock formation and surrounded by colored, swirling fog. The drummers were up there too! There were acrobats, fire dancers and a story about water performed by four young woman. The highlight of the evening was the young female contortionist.
The three hours passed much too quickly but we all agreed on one thing: Las Vegas now has a cultural heart and is located at the Springs Preserve.
The Springs Preserve is opening to the Public on Saturday, June 9th that includes a concert by Jewel.
For more information on the opening, the exhibits, the history and the mission of the Springs Preserve please visit their website: www.lvspringspreserve.org.
For more news stories on the Springs Preserve read the Las Vegas Review Journal's In Depth section this weekend at www.lvrj.com
Also check out this webstory at www.lasvegasnow.com
But most importantly, get over to the Springs Preserve on June 9th and check out where our history began!
Stay tuned for updates over the weekend as we will be adding pictures (thanks Roadsidepictures), more info and more links!