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November 29, 2014

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Las Vegas Strip lights up for Fourth of July celebrations

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Steve Marcus

People watch fireworks over Caesars Palace from a pedestrian bridge on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, July 4, 2010.

Updated Sunday, July 4, 2010 | 11:49 p.m.

July 4 Fireworks Timelapse

Fireworks light up the Las Vegas Strip in front of Caesars Palace Sunday night.

July 4 Fireworks at Caesars Palace

People watch fireworks over Caesars palace from a pedestrian bridge over the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, July 4, 2010. Launch slideshow »

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Map of Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace

3570 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas

The Strip was illuminated with two fireworks shows Sunday night, but Las Vegas Boulevard was crowded all evening with thousands of tourists and local residents looking for a Fourth of July holiday celebration.

Fireworks lit up the Strip and several locals casinos, while area cities also had their official Independence Day celebrations.

Caesars Palace, Mandalay Bay and the Las Vegas Hilton hosted fireworks displays, with the Caesars show free to the public. Large crowds gathered at Caesars long before the fireworks began – crowds apparently drawn to the only free fireworks show on the Strip.

At Caesars, the show started with pink, fan-shaped fireworks and ended with a finale of booming red, white and blue fireworks into the sky. The show started about 9:05 p.m. and lasted 17 minutes.

For Shayen Diaz and Jay Diaz, both 22, of New York, the show didn’t provide the day’s only fireworks – the couple was married earlier in the day at A Hollywood Wedding Chapel near the Stratosphere.

“Every year I’ll have fireworks,” said Jay Diaz, the newlywed wife. They had been dating for about a year when they decided it was time to get hitched, her husband said.

The couple were vacationing with a group of friends from Chicago at the Residence Inn. One of their friends, Antonio Edguardo, 21, also of Chicago, was wearing a blue and red “Nacho Libre” mask as a costume for the Fourth of July.

“I think they were awesome,” Edguardo said of the Caesars fireworks. He said he and his friends planned to stay out most of the night.

“Why would you go to the hotel when you can go to the Strip?” he said

After the celebration at Caesars, thousands of people crowded onto the Strip, clamoring to get back to their hotels or vehicles. Some walkways – such as the one between Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon and Bally's, were at a standstill.

Some jumped over – and passed their children over – walls near Caesars, Flamingo Road, and the Bellagio to avoid the over-road pedestrian walkways.

“I haven’t seen fireworks in about five or six years,” said Tyler Herron, 26, of Las Vegas, who was on the Strip with his friend, Ziqin Qi, 20, of New York. Herron said he doesn’t frequent the Strip, but he wanted to see the smile on his friend’s face from the fireworks show.

Herron and Qi, who was visiting Las Vegas for the first time, said the end of the show was their favorite part.

Before the fireworks show, Caesars hosted the “Big Air Show,” where snowboarders and skiers performed tricks on a four-story platform complete with "snow" until 8 p.m.

Las Vegas resident Isabel SanMartin, who works at the Flamingo, stopped by the pre- show at Caesars and stuck around for the main event of fireworks.

"I saw this on the news and I had to come," she said. "I was amazed that they had ice in the summertime."

The “Big Air Show” also drew Paul and Diane Climer, who live in Summerlin, to the Strip on the Fourth of July. The couple moved to Las Vegas from Michigan two years ago. They said they rarely visit the Strip anymore.

Paul Climer said he enjoyed their evening out – especially the Bellagio fountains, Diane Climer’s favorite part of the Strip.

Click to enlarge photo

People watch fireworks over Caesars palace from a pedestrian bridge over the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, July 4, 2010.

“We’re hoping the [fireworks show] is something like Station Casinos’,” Diane Climer said about 15 minutes before the show began. “Choreographed and nice.”

Mandalay Bay had a fireworks display as part of a concert with reggae band Mystic Roots at Mandalay Bay Beach. The event had a $25 cover charge. A fireworks show at the Hilton Las Vegas also had a cover.

Tourists on the Strip Sunday evening said they wanted to experience the Fourth of July holiday in Las Vegas.

Will Tong, 25, and John Wal, 24, of Tuscon, Ariz., were taking pictures with their friend, Joe Ocampo, 23, at the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. They said their plans likely would involve fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July.

"We'll be on the Strip, that's for sure," Wal said.

Wal and Tong said they had both been to Las Vegas before, but they were excited to "see what it was like during the Fourth of July."

Kobie Hawthorne, 35, of Fredricksberg, Va., was visiting Las Vegas this weekend with two friends, James Minor, 22, and Marcus Catlett, 34.

"My man wanted to come, so we planned it for my birthday," said Hawthorne, who turned 35 Sunday.

The three were staying at the Wyndham Las Vegas, but said they weren't sure of their plans for the night.

Todd Dobbs and his wife, Debra, used to live in Las Vegas, but now live in Temecula, Calif. They were watching the Bellagio fountains Sunday evening.

"We're just visiting family and seeing some of the sights," Todd Dobbs said. "It's nice to see family, but it's hot."

He already was dreading the return trip to Southern California, suggesting Interstate 15 could be at a standstill Monday.

"If you leave tomorrow, you're going to get stuck in traffic," he said Sunday evening. “Leave Tuesday, that’s my advice.”

Dobbs laughed as he said he plans to leave town Wednesday – just to make sure he avoids traffic backups en route to California.

There were also plenty of fireworks shows off the strip Sunday night.

Click to enlarge photo

Thousands of spectators gather on the football field in anticipation of the fireworks display during Henderson's Fourth of July celebration Sunday night at Basic High School.

Residents also could see fireworks at Aliante Station, Fiesta Rancho, Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock Resort and Texas Station.

Fireworks were also on display in Henderson and Boulder City. North Las Vegas held its annual fireworks display Saturday night.

About 285,000 people were expected to visit Las Vegas during this Fourth of July weekend, about 3 percent more than last year, according to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimates.

The LVCVA estimated about 87.5 percent of rooms in the city would be filled during the weekend, a 1.9 percent decrease from 2009 because of the addition of about 7,500 hotel rooms in the past year.

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