Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: Dec. 7, 2004

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: Las Vegas yearlong 100th birthday celebration will kick off with a bang literally during the citys annual New Years Eve bash. Americas Party 2005: Celebrating 100 Years of Neon, presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Las Vegas Events, will feature what is billed as the largest fireworks show in the citys history. The pyrotechnics extravaganza, produced by Fireworks by Grucci, will be launched from 10 resort rooftops along the Las Vegas Strip specifically Excalibur, MGM Grand, Monte Carlo, Ballys, Flamingo Las Vegas, Venetian, TI (Treasure Island), Stardust, Circus-Circus and Stratosphere. Included in the display will be 100 custom-designed aerial shells called the Las Vegas Centennial Chip each measuring 200 feet in diameter that are slated to end the show and officially begin the centennial celebration. The New Years Eve countdown also will feature a B-1 bomber flyover of the Strip and Grucci Grand Illuminations, featuring thousands of special effects integrated with lasers all choreographed to a musical soundtrack from Harrahs Las Vegas headliner Clint Holmes. For revelers planning to spend the evening downtown, the Fremont Street Experience will begin ringing in the new year at 7 p.m. with live music and entertainment. For more information on New Years Eve festivities throughout the city, visit www.vegasfreedom.com.    

TOURNAMENT OF ROSES PARADE: On New Years Day, Las Vegas will be represented with a float in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, which will be televised worldwide from Pasadena, Calif., beginning at 8 a.m. Pacific time (11 a.m. Eastern time). Fiesta Parade Floats in Pasadena teamed up with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Las Vegas Centennial Committee to design the parade entry No. 42 in the lineup that will feature such city icons as Vegas Vic and Sassy Sally as well as a giant birthday cake and champagne bottle. Las Vegas showgirls also will ride the float, which will enter the 5.5-mile parade at approximately 9:30 a.m. PST. Although this is the first time that Las Vegas as a destination has officially entered a float in the Rose Parade, individual entities located in the city have entered floats in the parade before. The last time this occurred was in 1954. The final stages of float decoration, which will be open to spectators for a $5 admission fee, will take place Dec. 28 through 31 at Buena Vista Pavilion, 2144 Buena Vista, Duarte, Calif.

CAESARS PALACE: Through Dec. 28, Caesars Palace is offering travel agents a 40% discount on rack rates, based on availability. An IATA number must be provided when the reservation is made and membership card presented at time of check-in.

SKATE WITH THE STARS: While theyre enjoying a stay in Las Vegas version of the Roman Empire, agents should check out the propertys new ice rink, whose 60-foot-by-90-foot skating surface is billed as approximately the same size as that at New Yorks Rockefeller Plaza. The rink is located in the resorts open-air Roman Plaza and will host performances by international skating stars on Saturday and Sunday evenings through Jan. 15. Although the weekly roster of The Stars Are Out Tonight will vary, the 7:30 p.m. show will feature Rudy Galindo, Elvis Stojko and Paul Wylie. Also scheduled to perform are comedy skating star Dan Hollander, Irina Grigorian and Las Vegas own Karl Baumann from Cirque du Soleil. Tickets are $25 for general admission seating in grandstands and $50 for reserved box seats at the ice. They can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at (702) 474-4000 or at the Caesars Palace box office. Also through Jan. 15, two-hour public skating sessions are scheduled Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, public skating hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. plus 10:30 p.m. to midnight. Skating tickets are priced at $10 and include skate rental. They can be purchased at the ice rinks ticket booth at the Roman Plaza. For more information or to confirm the schedule for public skating sessions, contact the resort at (702) 866-1600. Skating lessons also will be offered by U.S. Figure Skating-certified instructors for $20 ($10 admission plus $10 for 30-minute group lesson). And every Sunday at the 2 p.m. public skating session, participants will have the chance to skate with world champion skater Randy Gardner and cast members from the show. Public skating admission is $10 for the Sunday Skate With the Stars sessions. Prices do not include tax and ticket handling fees.
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