Las Vegas, New Year's Eve Fireworks and Robbie Knievel


This year’s New Year’s Eve theme for “America’s Party,” as organizers have dubbed Las Vegas’ celebration, is “Takin’ It To The Streets.”

And they mean it literally.

Because of a regulatory change sparked by a fire at the Monte Carlo resort earlier this year, the massive New Year’s fireworks show will be launched from parking lots and parking garages, not the roofs of towering casino-resorts on the Strip.

“The issue with us changing the location was the new regulations that were put on firing the show from the rooftops,” said Michael Mack, director of marketing for Las Vegas Events.

In January, workers using a torch to cut corrugated steel started a fire on the roof of the Monte Carlo resort that ignited a type of decorative foam that’s found on several other Strip casinos. The fire forced the evacuation of the hotel’s guests and damaged rooms on the hotel’s top five floors.

Following that, Clark County officials “took another look at our policies and procedures to make sure everything was as it should be,” said county spokesman Dan Kulin.

That resulted in a new rule: “To have a fireworks launching site on a rooftop, they would have to hire a fire safety engineering firm to inspect the area,” he said. “It still is allowed. There’s just another step that they have to take.”

Event organizers did not mention the regulatory change at an event announcing New Year’s Eve plans Tuesday. Instead, they played up the fact that the fireworks will be closer to the audience.

“If you’re on the Strip in the right locations, you’re going to get a much better view of the individual fireworks than you have in the past,” said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events.

Felix J. Grucci, vice president and CFO of Fireworks by Grucci, put it this way: “When they’re on top of the roofs, they’re spectacular and it’s a wonderful panoramic view ... But this year we said, 'Maybe it’s time we brought the fireworks closer to the people so that we can make it part of the Strip, part of where the action is happening.’ ”

Viewing locations have been mapped out for the launch locations, which are the Mandalay Bay convention center lot, the Luxor’s parking lot, the parking garages at the MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, the Stratosphere and Treasure Island, and the Gold parking lot at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

There will also be a fireworks show under the canopy of the Fremont Street Experience downtown.

About 250,000 people are expected to ring in the New Year on the Strip, with another 30,000 flocking to Fremont Street’s stages and light shows.

“People are yearning for the opportunity to escape and to have a fantasy, and what better place to come to than Las Vegas, and what better time than New Year’s Eve?” said Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.

“I believe that this is going to be the start of a great year for Las Vegas. I believe that this is going to be the start of a comeback, as far as our economy is concerned.”

Vince Alberta of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority ticked off a list of entertainers lined up for New Year’s Eve, including Kid Rock, Pink, Stone Temple Pilots, Carmen Electra, Usher, New Kids on the Block, the Kardashian sisters and Fergie.

There will be motorcycle stunts too — Robbie Knievel is set to attempt to jump the refurbished volcano at the Mirage, and Robbie Maddison will attempt to land his bike on top of the 96-foot-high L’Arc de Triomphe replica at Paris Las Vegas.

At the Rio, meanwhile, motorsports star Rhys Millen will attempt to be the first person to backflip a trophy truck — a goal that was derailed last year by a training injury.

The Fremont Street Experience is featuring a host of tribute groups on New Year’s Eve, including acts dedicated to the music of the Eagles, Billy Joel, David Bowie, KISS, Queen, the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith.

Admission is free for people 21 and older with a valid Nevada ID. Otherwise, tickets are $20.