Tuesday, March 5, 2013 | 1:05 p.m.
Map of Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
Las Vegas may lack the rolling green hills of Ireland, but this month it won’t lack for Irish spirit.
Friday marked the start of Irish-American Heritage Month and to celebrate, one of Las Vegas’s most iconic landmarks will be going green for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
All 89 light bulbs on the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” will be swapped out for green bulbs starting March 13 to kick off the holiday.
“I think people will see that we are serious about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Las Vegas,” said Terry Murphy, Ireland’s honorary consul in Nevada. “We want to make St. Patrick’s Day a signature weekend in Las Vegas as well as celebrate Irish heritage throughout the world.”
The Chicago River has been dyed green every St. Patrick’s Day for years, but recently other countries green with envy have begun setting up their own tributes to Irish heritage.
In addition to the Las Vegas sign, the Eiffel Tower, the pyramids in Egypt, the Empire State Building and many more landmarks will go green for the holiday this year.
Other Irish-themed festivities in the Las Vegas Valley include the four-day Sons of Erin St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in Henderson, which starts March 14, and a March 16 show by Celtic rock group Flogging Molly at the Cosmopolitan. Numerous casinos and bars throughout the city also have special events planned for the weekend.
With Big League Weekend and basketball conference tournaments also that weekend, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority spokeswoman Courtney Fitzgerald said it’s difficult to tell how many visitors travel to Las Vegas specifically for St. Patrick’s Day.
“March is one typically one of our busiest months,” she said. “Anytime people want to celebrate something, they come to Las Vegas.”
It’s unclear how many people of Irish descent live in Las Vegas, but Murphy said a good attitude is all that’s needed to join in the celebration.
“We’re very welcoming. Our culture is one of great strength but also great fun,” she said. “We definitely know how to have a party.”