Friday, July 3, 2009 | 2:29 p.m.
Fourth of July coverage
Station’s Fourth of July
- When: Saturday, July 4 at 9:30 p.m.
- Where: Aliante Station, Boulder Station, Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Red Rock Resort, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station and Texas Station
- Best Place to View: Aliante Station – Hotel valet/parking lot, Boulder Station – Parking garage rooftop, Fiesta Henderson – Parking garage rooftop, Fiesta Rancho – Parking garage rooftop, Green Valley Ranch – Backyard pool area, Palace Station – Parking garage rooftop (south parking garage connected to casino entrance), Red Rock Resort – Pool area and amphitheater, Santa Fe Station – Parking garage rooftop (north parking garage) and the race and sports book patio, Sunset Station – Amphitheater, Texas Station – Parking lot C off Rancho entrance
- Tune into FM stations 106.5, 95.5, 101.9, 93.1, 92.3, 97.1 or AM stations 1100, 920 or 1460 to hear music to go along with the fireworks display.
For Grucci’s of New York, 1,500 man-hours will boil down to a mere nine minutes Saturday night.
The first family of fireworks has spent the last four days atop nine Station Casino rooftops in the hottest temperatures of the year preparing for the Fourth of July fireworks display.
The fireworks displays will begin at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and will be visible throughout the valley -- from Henderson to North Las Vegas to the Summerlin area -- with firing locations at Aliante Station, Boulder Station, Fiesta Henderson, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Red Rock Resort, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station and Texas Station.
As a tribute to American musicians, the nine-minute show is choreographed to songs by Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and others.
The Fourth of July spectacle is at the hands of Grucci’s 37 pyrotechnicians, led by chief pyrotechnicians Jim Grucci and Ian McKenzie.
McKenzie said the team tries to stagger its days to escape the Las Vegas heat, getting up at 2 a.m. and ending the day at 11 a.m., before the hottest part of the day rolls in.
“We’re a lot more productive when we aren’t staggering and passing out,” McKenzie joked.
For the Grucci team, the planning and preparation doesn’t begin on the casino rooftops. The nine shows take 120 hours to choreograph. This year Station Casinos has doubled the number of fireworks at each show and added another venue (Aliante Station), which McKenzie said is always good for business.
McKenzie said while Station has doubled the fireworks display, Grucci’s has seen some cutbacks from other customers this year.
“It’s understandable but it’s too bad. We’ve had shows canceled because people don’t want to seem too ostentatious -- but at the same time, like Station had expressed, we know people need something to celebrate,” McKenzie said.
The family fireworks business began in Italy in 1890 with two Grucci family members. In the 1920s, the families came to the United States and brought the fireworks with them.
Since then, Grucci’s has produced shows at some significant events, including seven consecutive presidential inaugurations, several Olympic Games, and most recently put on its largest firework show yet at Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah. The family has been doing fireworks displays in Las Vegas for more than 20 years.
“The flashing lights of Vegas are no detriment for people who do light shows,” McKenzie said. “There really is something to be said for the boom. You have to notice it.”
McKenzie, who is in his 10th year with Grucci’s, has seen the world from a behind-the-scenes perspective -- a view he said he might not see otherwise. Despite the heat, he said he enjoys returning to Las Vegas for the Fourth of July.
“The only way to describe it is it’s like being in the circus,” McKenzie said. “You get the call, ‘You want to do a show in Vegas?’ Sure. You put a pause on your normal life and hop on a plane. Do something completely surreal in a place like Vegas that’s pretty surreal already. Then pack up, go back and you wake up the next morning like it was all a strange dream.”
Situated at the entrance to Red Rock Canyon and minutes from the world-renowned Las Vegas Strip, Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa offers five-star luxury in a modern property, built in 2006.
The casino features features 3,000 slot and video poker machines, 60 table games including blackjack, baccarat, craps, poker, roulette, a 206-seat Race and Sports Book with a 96-foot video wall a 20-table smoke-free poker room open 24 hours a day, a 600-seat bingo hall with separate smoking and non-smoking sections, open 7 days a week with sessions running every other hour from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., a 20-seat keno lounge and a private high-limit room.
A recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award since opening and named one of the world's best new hotels by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, Red Rock redefines casino resort architecture by incorporating natural light, a convenient layout and the comforts of a modern lifestyle.
The centerpiece of the property is the three-acre pool complex with 19 cabanas and swim-up gaming. Its location allows for balcony views from several of the property's restaurants and Cherry Nightclub. Aside from Cherry, guests can grab a drink at Onyx or Lucky or listen to live music in Rocks Lounge.
Dining spans the globe at Red Rock with more than 10 restaurants, including the Italian food of Terra Rossa, the Japanese fusion of Hachi, the Mexican spices at Cabo Cantina or a bit of everything at the Feast Buffet.
Unlike some resorts in town, Red Rock has activities for the whole family, such as a 16-screen movie theater and an arcade. The 72-lane bowling center features a VIP area and carpet that glows in the dark for after hours at Cosmic Bowling.
Texas Station, modeled after the Lone Star State, is a AAA Three-Diamond rated hotel with 200 rooms, a casino, restaurants, bars and lounges, an entertainment showroom, a movie theater and a bowling center about six miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
It features 91,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 1,775 slots, 27 table games, a non-smoking poker room, a 500-seat bingo hall and a race and sports book.
The hotel has several dining options, from quick eateries to restaurants, including Austin's Steakhouse and Texas Star Oyster Bar. Some family-friendly features include an 18-screen movie theater and a bowling center.
South Padre provides live music weekly. The Dallas Events Center seats up to 2,000 people for concerts and other live performances.
Boulder Station, which has the look of a traditional western train station, is on Las Vegas' "Boulder Strip," or Boulder Highway, adjacent to Interstate 515/U.S. Highway 95. It offers 300 rooms that were all renovated in 2011, dining options, a 75,000-square-foot casino and a special area just for kids.
The casino provides offers more than 1,400 slots and video poker machines, 33 tables for roulette, blackjack, mini-baccarat, progressive pai gow, craps, and three card poker, a 300-seat sports book, a 452-seat bingo hall, and a poker room offering such games as Omaha, Limit/No Limit Hold’em, or 7-Card Stud.
Surrounding the casino floor is an array of dinning options, with choices ranging from quick eats at the food court to fine steaks at The Broiler to fresh dishes at the Feast Buffet, Cabo and Pasta Cucina.
Guests can head over to the 750-seat Railhead Lounge to listen to blues, jazz, country and rock, to Kixx, a bar featuring free lounge acts and karaoke, or bring the family to catch a flick at the Regal Cinemas.
Located away from the hustle and bustle of the Strip and downtown, the Fiesta Rancho offers a friendly, locals-oriented atmosphere.
Decorated in a Southwestern style like its sister-property Fiesta Henderson, the 50,000 square foot casino features more than 1,350 slot and video poker machines, 14 table games and a 300-seat bingo hall. One of the casino's most notable features is its 100-seat race and sports book — with drive through service. There is also a 12-seat keno lounge.
Dining options at Fiesta Rancho include the Festival Buffet with six live-action cooking stations and over 60 daily selections to choose from, authentic Mexican cuisine at Garduno's and affordable favorites at Denny's.
Palace Station, located just off Interstate 15 on West Sahara, offers comfort, luxury and affordability.
Originally called the Bingo Palace, the casino changed its name to Palace Station in 1984. Palace Station has more than 100,000 square feet of gaming space, including one of the biggest varieties of Baccarat and Pai Gow tile games off the Strip. The casino also offers more than 1,600 slot/video poker machines, 45 table games including blackjack, Pai Gow poker, Pai Gow tiles, Ultimate Texas Hold'Em, craps, roulette and baccarat.
Asian Table Games Area includes Pai-Gow Tiles and Mini and Midi Baccarat with no-commission EZ baccarat, along with Dragon 7 and Panda 8 side bets, plus Dragon Bonus for Midi Baccarat games.
The casino also features a 24-hour, nine-table, non-smoking poker room, a 307-seat bingo hall open 7 days a week with sessions running every other hour from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., a 230-seat race & sports book featuring 44 screens, and a 20-seat keno lounge.
Dining options include Cabo, which specializes in Mexican food, steaks and seafood at The Broiler and Italian from Pasta Cucina.
Entertainment includes Louie Anderson and other stand-up comedians.
(If you're interested in history, the Palace Station was also the site of some international news in 2007 and 2008 — it was where NFL Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson led a raid on a hotel room to try recover some of his sports memorabilia and was later convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping after a highly publicized trial.)