Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011 | 2 a.m.
Treasure Island’s rooftop is normally home to satellite dishes and metal ventilation system coverings. But in preparation for New Year’s Eve, the hotel’s top has welcomed a few explosive guests.
Arrangements of yellow chrysanthemums, pink peonies and red dahlias have been placed on the rooftops of TI and seven other Las Vegas properties. No they’re not bouquets of flowers, but rather bundles of fireworks ready for a party.
“There’s no party like America’s Party,” said Felix J. Grucci Jr., executive vice president of Fireworks by Grucci, the company commissioned to set up the Strip’s firework display.
Grucci is also the choreographer of the eight and half minute show worth $500,000.
He chooses what fireworks will be set off and when, while the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority foots the half million-dollar bill.
Grucci says he bases the firework display on a musical score selected by his sister, Donna Grucci Butler, who is president and CEO of the family business that started in 1850.
More than 56,000 fireworks will be launched above the Strip in tune with music from such artists as LMFAO, Lady Gaga and ZZ Top.
“The music dictates the types of fireworks, but the insulation doesn’t change,” Grucci said.
Grucci’s crew has been setting up the fireworks since Tuesday on the rooftops of MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, TI, The Venetian, the Stratosphere and Tropicana, a new addition to the annual show.
“It’s a lot of work for eight minutes,” Grucci said.
The crew will spend time before the show conducting final diagnostics tests.
One firework will be launched off the tops of each of the eight hotels about 20 minutes before the midnight show, Grucci said.
As a precaution local fire department officials will be on each rooftop making sure the show goes off without a hitch.
Anthony Magno, chief pyrotechnics technician, doesn’t anticipate any challenges this year.
“We expect to be ready for 12 o’clock tomorrow night,” he said.
Magno and members of the crew weren’t dressed for winter weather. They wore T-shirts while they tinkered with the wiring system hooked up to the fireworks cylinder launching tubes that were lined in rows.
“Mother Nature is doing good this year,” said Magno, who’s worked on five of the city’s previous New Year’s Eve shows.
Mother Nature wasn’t so kind to Grucci’s team last year, as fireworks went up in windy 20-degree weather.
This year the winds will be down and the temperature will be in the mid-40s during the midnight show, according to forecasters.
That means audiences viewing the show outside won’t freeze while they take in the spectacle.
“You get to paint the sky,” Grucci said, explaining that's what a writer and friend once told him.
Grucci says one of the aspects he enjoys is the audience's reaction that in those eight minutes the vision in his mind’s eye comes to fruition.
But for Magno, what he mostly likes is the gala crescendo at the end of the show.
“The finale," he said, "it’s an Italian thing.”
Treasure Island, now known as TI to many, is a Strip casino and resort that features a tropical pool, a variety of restaurants and Las Vegas' first resident Cirque du Soleil show.
Before even entering the casino, Treasure Island treats visitors and Strip passersby with a raucous and free pirate show, "Sirens at TI," each evening in the lagoon in front of the property.
Inside, guests will find a 95,000-square-foot casino with thousands of slot machines, a race and sports book, a poker room and plenty of table games. Treasure Island boasts a variety of dining options, from unique barbecue at Gilley's, to Vietnamese at Pho, to Carribbean with flair at Kahunaville.
After dark, head over to Senor Frogs for nightlife "where anything can happen," or pick up tickets to the visually stunning "Mystere" by Cirque du Soleil.