Saturday, July 5, 2008 | 3:18 a.m.
As the sun set and the sky dimmed from blue to purple to black, Las Vegans and visitors waited for the horizon to reignite.
Thousands of Valley residents opted against the holiday bustle of the Strip and headed to local casinos for some of the largest of the city’s fireworks displays.
The Lights Over Vegas fireworks show took place at five area Station Casinos properties: Texas, Sunset, Santa Fe, Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock, simultaneously celebrating a “Rockin' Tribute to America."
Green Valley Ranch Station Casino was a popular destination for many families in the area celebrating the Fourth festivities. Whether they were relaxing poolside for the night or out in the parking lot in lawn chairs, nearly everyone had the best seat in the house.
The Waters family decided to stay at Green Valley Ranch after catching the release of "Hancock" at Regal Cinemas. Tom Waters said he brought his family to Green Valley Ranch because of the easy commute, and he didn’t want the hassle of traffic after Henderson's Water Street fireworks show.
Avoiding crowds seemed to be the trend. Jeff and Elaine Myers, of Summerlin, stayed at Green Valley Ranch for a weekend getaway and made no plans for the evening.
"We never go where there are crowds around," Jeff Myers said. "We didn't even know there were fireworks until we checked in."
Across town, the Red Rock Station resort opened its doors to the pool and cabana area for visitors and locals to cool off and enjoy the show. Children played in the shallow water and fountains while lifeguards wearing glow-stick necklaces stood by the edge. Parents in chaise lounges looked on.
Fresh 102.7 FM broadcast live from the pool area to keep the crowd going before the 9:30 p.m. show.
The crowd was a mix of both locals and visitors, but all took full advantage of Red Rocks' amenities for the night.
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Maddie Johnson, of Las Vegas, enjoyed the fireworks with her sister and other family members and friends.
“We’re from the area but we still came to stay at Red Rock for the weekend. It’s our favorite of the Station Casinos and it’s better than going down to the Strip,” Johnson said.
Bill and Sue Niemi, of Cleveland, came to Red Rock for the holiday weekend and to visit their daughter in Las Vegas.
The couple and their daughter sat by the pool, waiting with the rest of the crowd for the show to begin.
“We’re just enjoying our drinks and watching the kids jump in and out of the pool. The casino is really beautiful tonight,” Sue Niemi said.
At the Santa Fe Station Casino, Charles and Catarina Sakura waited with their 2-year-old son, Harrison. The toddler anxiously waited for the fireworks to begin. Though terrified of the fireworks last year, Harrison couldn’t wait to give them a second chance this Fourth of July.
“It’s amazing what a year can do,” Catarina Sakura said.
The five shows exploded into the sky at 9:30 p.m. on the dot as spectators watched at each of the Station Casinos. The nine-minute show was choreographed to American classics like Frank Sinatra’s “Luck be a Lady” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.”
All five Station Casino shows were produced by Grucci’s of New York, which has been putting on fireworks displays for more than 20 years. Technicians prepped for more than 60 hours at each of the casinos for Friday night’s show.
LasVegasSun.com’s April Corbin contributed to this report.