Published Friday, Dec. 31, 2010 | 7:17 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011 | 2:40 a.m.
New Year's Eve tweets
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- Vegas fireworks must compete with glitz of the Strip (12-31-2010)
- Navigating New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas (12-31-2010)
- Strip rated No. 1 New Year’s Eve party destination (12-31-2010)
- 320,000 revelers expected to ring in new year in Las Vegas (12-30-2010)
- Metro announces New Year’s Eve road closures (12-30-2010)
As yellows, purples and reds burst through the night sky, more than 300,000 New Year’s revelers packed Las Vegas to usher in a year many hope will be better than the last.
Partiers stood jammed together along the Strip at midnight, eyes gazing up to watch an eight-minute fireworks display. The crowd cheered boisterously — loud enough to drown out the music synchronized to the fireworks show.
The last night of 2010 brought frigid temperatures to Las Vegas, but partiers bundled in hats and coats hardly seemed to mind as they stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the Strip. The National Weather Service reported the temperature was 31 degrees when the clock struck midnight.
Don and Kathy Miller of Newport Beach, Calif., were one of several couples bundled on the sidewalk along the Strip. Traveling to Las Vegas for the holiday has become a tradition, but each year gets better, Kathy Miller said.
“I just love New Year’s in Las Vegas — the excitement, the drama, the glamour,” she said. “We come for all of it.”
Revelers blew into noisemakers, cheered, and shot silly string into the air — agitating some of those packed into a congested area outside Planet Hollywood. Observers shoved themselves into place before the show began at midnight, then cheered loudly as the booms echoed off the hotels lining the Strip.
People surged back into the casinos within minutes after the show, seeking refuge from the cold and crowds. They left behind empty plastic poppers and bottles, crushed paper hats and novelty glasses on the slick, sticky sidewalks.
Patrick Bulatao, 29, opened a can of Four Loko, an alcoholic energy drink, minutes before the clock struck midnight.
“I can deal with the cold once you pop a Four Loko,” the North Las Vegas resident said, laughing. “It’s hot now.”
Taking a long draw from a cigarette in his other hand, he said, “Good riddance 2010; welcome 2011.”
Bulatao found himself unemployed from his customer service job last year. “I want a new, stable career this year,” he said.
But tonight was all about the celebration, which Bulatao found to have a few faults.
“I hoped there were more fireworks,” he said. “More room to move, too...Other than that, it was cool. I had a good time.”
Lisa Harrison of Los Angeles was full of excitement after the fireworks show, which she said she thought was “awesome.” She said she didn’t know what the rest of the evening would hold, but she was excited to be in town with her family.
“This was my first disaster,” she said, giggling and gesturing toward the crowd. What Harrison meant — given all of the sticky mess before her on the Strip — was it was her first New Year’s in Las Vegas.
Her favorite part of New Year’s Eve was “just walking and looking at all the different people...and going in the shops.”
At the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Coldplay and Jay-Z rang in the new year at the resort’s grand opening gala. The event was invite-only, but partygoers on the Strip experienced the show live on the resort’s 65-foot marquee.
Inside the posh resort, guests were decked out in tuxedos and ball gowns for the opening party.
A group of friends from Southern California wearing blinking party hats sat at the resort’s lobby bar looking out of place among the VIP guests in black-tie attire.
The hats — blinking sombreros topped with colorful, spinning disco balls — were courtesy of the group’s Joe Cotroneo and his new business, Joe’s Crazy Hats. New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas seemed like the perfect place to show off the creations, Cotroneo said.
At the outdoor bar at Caesars Palace, Mike Turpin, 43, and his wife, Jennifer, 41, huddled beneath a heat lamp, eating frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity 3.
“It’s New Year’s Eve. Anything goes,” Jennifer Turpin said, holding up the iced treat.
The California residents’ fourth trip to Vegas for New Year’s was on a whim. Unlike their other planned trips, they decided on Monday to book a flight to see the fireworks show.
“It’s definitely the coldest I remember,” Mike Turpin said. “But everyone is here to have a good time.”
Earlier in the evening, several just-married couples wearing white, strapless wedding dresses and tuxedos braved the cold at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.
Rod Coleman, 34, a former defensive tackle for the Atlanta Falcons who started his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders in 1999, and his new bride, Sequoia Coleman, 35, of Atlanta, posed for photos. But they made their visit to the sign quick because of the weather.
“It’s a perfect place to get married for New Year’s,” Sequoia Coleman said. “There’s nowhere like Vegas.”
The couple said they have family in Las Vegas and planned to have a low-key night with family and friends after returning to their room at the Venetian.
“I’m going to remember it,” Rod Coleman said of their decision to get married on New Year’s Eve, making his wife giggle and smile even wider.
Stephanie Santos and her family traveled from the Philippines to celebrate the new year in Las Vegas. The family made the “Fabulous” landmark its first stop before a night on the Strip.
Traveling to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve is becoming a tradition for the family, Santos said. One attraction keeps them coming back — the fireworks.
“Where we are from, they don’t allow fireworks for safety reasons,” she said.
For some visitors on the Strip, New Year’s Eve wasn’t the only reason to party.
“My first time in Vegas I came here for a bachelor party. Now I’m here for my divorce party,” said Craig Shervem, 38, of Fresno, Calif. He and his friends had been planning the trip to Las Vegas for almost a year, and it just happened to coincide with his divorce.
Outside Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas residents Marylyn Ramos and Barnabas Vargas paused to take in the action on the Strip. Dressed in party hats, strands of beads and “2011” glasses, the pair were dressed the part of the quintessential Strip partiers.
“We’ve seen some real characters tonight,” Vargas said, with Batman standing a few feet away.
Ramos and Vargas said they don’t mind the large crowds, unlike some locals.
“You’ve gotta come down to the Strip on New Year’s,” Ramos said. “I mean, you live in Vegas.”
Up the street, Melvin Jackson Jr., 41, was watching the Bellagio fountains with a large camera slung around his neck. The self-described amateur photographer from California said he has been coming to the New Year’s Eve celebration on the Strip on and off for the past decade.
“I like spending time with friends and family,” Jackson said. “The lights, the glitz and the glam. That’s New Year’s Eve, Vegas-style.”