Perhaps it was fate having a say in the evening's proceedings. Like many a welter-weight boxer, how many times has Fremont Street taken it on the chin only to rebound? Tonight, Mayor Oscar Goodman, perhaps in a homage to his favorite street, acted in kind by fainting during the lighting ceremony at the Fremont East Grand Opening Party.
In his defense, it was 105+ degrees out this evening with hardly a breeze. Everyone was sweating, even the showgirls who accompany Mayor Goodman. Well, they were glistening, the rest of us were sweating. The Mayor and the other officials were wearing three piece suits. Which is crazy when you consider how hot it was.
The Mayor greeted the overflow crowd which seemed to be made up of more locals than tourists, talked again about his belief in Downtown and ridiculed the RJ for its political cartoon that showed Fremont Street as a ghostly graveyard. Then, the Man who would be Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem, Gary Reese spoke. Then Doug Selby talked, then Councilman Ricky Barlow, El Cortez partner Mike Nolan and a few others spoke. Considering how hot it was, the talking part of the evening probably went on too long. By the time Oscar took the podium to begin the countdown, it seemed a good 20 minutes had passed. He stepped up to the podium and then fell sideways. Quickly surrounded by his Showgirls and the officials on the stage, Oscar regained his composure, stood up and at the podium said a few words, then hit the switch to light first Oscar's Martini, followed by the Vegas bowling sign and the then the other neon signs ( a showgirl and a ruby slipper).
The crowd dispersed to the air-conditioned bars along Fremont East. A good number of us ended up at the Downtown Cocktail Bar where Brian Paco Alvarez, Richard Hooker, Deede Nave, Nancy Deaner, Jack Levine, Steve Christmas and Mary Jo Alderman continued the spirit of community the evening had fostered.
Mayor Goodman, after the lighting ceremony, headed towards the Streamline Tower tent where he sat for a few minutes regaling the crowd with one liners about his fall.
So, our prediction: though it will play on the news all weekend, like Fremont Street itself, the Mayor takes one on the chin and comes back roaring.
Seems fitting that it happened on Fremont Street, the street that never gives up.