LAS VEGAS -- Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack won't be there,
but a yearlong party planned for 2005 promises to be a gas just the
same when Las Vegas celebrates its 100th birthday.
There'll be a new line-up of entertainers on hand as the gaming
capital of the world turns 100 years old on May 15, 2005 -- marking
the date of its founding as Clark's Las Vegas Townsite.
The centennial celebrations will begin New Year's Eve and
continue throughout the year, with the largest concentration of the
hundreds of planned events and projects occurring May through
One of the major events -- a birthday bash -- will happen during
the Fourth of July weekend, according to Stacy Allsbrook, executive
director of the Las Vegas Centennial Celebration.
"We're going to shut down the Strip [to traffic] and throw the
world's biggest street party," she said.
There will be concerts, and the events will be broadcast live on
TV, she said. There's no word yet on who will be performing. "We're
filling in the blanks as we go," Allsbrook said.
The following is a listing of some of the events and activities
already planned to help Las Vegas celebrate next year:
• Helldorado Days was a long-standing event that began in 1944
and ended in 1997. It consisted of parades, a Western village and a
On May 14, 2005, the Fremont Street Experience will reprise
Helldorado Days with a concert and Western village at the Fremont
Street Experience and Neonopolis. On May 15, there will be a land
auction to symbolize the creation of Las Vegas, three parades
downtown and a street party with fireworks.
• Also on May 15, plans are afoot to break the world's record
for the largest birthday cake. (It's currently 53 tons.) The
gigantic cake will be located along Fremont Street.
• Because Las Vegas is known for its wedding industry, 100
couples from around the country will get married under the Fremont
Street canopy on the 100th day of the centennial. The 100th couple,
from Las Vegas, will get hitched at the historical Downtown Post
• The Downtown Post Office will be the location of several
programs, including historical exhibitions, docent-guided tours of
the building and a series of four oral history lectures in the
• The annual Folk Life Festival, held at the Clark County
Government Center, in May 2005 will focus on the city's diversity.
The event will feature food, demonstrations, music, dancing and
crafts of the various ethnic groups who call Las Vegas home.
• An antique air show parade, featuring 100 private, antique
aircraft from around the country, has been scheduled for May 2005.
The air parade will include a fly-in from an antique Jenny aircraft
to commemorate the first commercial flights in Las Vegas.
• Nellis Air Force Base and the Department of Defense will host
their annual air show in conjunction with the air show production
company World of Wings. The event, which will run from Nov. 10 to
12, 2005, will include static displays of both military and
civilian aircraft along with a long schedule of flying performances
and aerial demonstrations.
• To showcase the contributions of the Mormon community in Las
Vegas, a Lighted Pioneer Wagon Parade will include covered lighted
pioneer wagons, resembling the wagons of the late 1800s and
carrying children in period costume. The procession will start at
the Old Mormon Fort and will end at the Latter-Day Saints temple on
For more information on the 100th birthday celebration, visit www.lasvegas2005.org or call (702) 229-2005.
To contact reporter Amy Baratta, send e-mail to [email protected] .
Planning for centennial began in 2001
LAS VEGAS -- When you're throwing a party as large as the one
Las Vegas has in the works to celebrate its 100th birthday next
year, the planning has to start early.
Just ask Stacy Allsbrook, executive director of the Las Vegas
"The celebration has been in the planning stages since 2001,"
Allsbrook said. "When you have a city of this size, you have to
start early if you're going to have a party that's more spectacular
than anyone has ever seen."
The celebration actually kicked off in 2002 with the release of
a limited-edition Las Vegas Centennial license plate, available
through Oct. 1, 2005, that sports a picture of the kitschy "Welcome
to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada" neon sign that has beckoned visitors
from its stance at the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard for 45
Sales of the license plate, which has proven to be the state's
most popular, serve as a fund-raiser of sorts for the celebration
because a portion of the sales proceeds is given to the Centennial
Celebration fund, Allsbrook said.
"We've made a half-million dollars [on it] so far," she said.
"It was good seed money for the celebration before sponsorships
More licensed centennial merchandise will be available later
this year and throughout 2005.
In fact, one of the celebration's sponsors, Clear Channel
Entertainment, is responsible for handling merchandising and
licensing for the Centennial Celebration as well as producing
signature events, selling sponsorship packages and developing
centennial-related television broadcast rights and
Other sponsors include the city of Las Vegas; Clark County;
Insignia Films/American Experience and the Public Broadcasting
System, which will be producing a documentary; the Las Vegas
Convention and Visitors Authority, which is developing national and
international promotional campaigns; R&R Partners, which is
providing strategic marketing and public relations services; and
Stephens Media Interactive, which is hosting and designing the
official centennial Web site.
The site, at www.lasvegas2005.org, was developed as an awareness
and educational tool. It recently was launched and will serve as
the portal to all Centennial Celebration activities and
The first phase of the Web site includes general information.
The site's next phase, which is expected to go live within in the
next 30 days, according to Allsbrook, will include a master events
"We anticipate the calendar will be one of the most popular
areas of the Web site, as it will be the only place that will have
the latest information on everything from school and civic
organization celebrations to major communitywide signature
centennial events," she said.
For more information about the Las Vegas Centennial Celebration,
visit the Web site or call (702) 229-2005. --