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December 19, 2014

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LVCVA starts its ace as Wayne Newton takes the mound at Wrigley Field

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Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority

Wayne Newton rehearses with a group of carolers in Chicago during a trip to promote the “Vegas Season” ad campaign by the LVCVA.

The most famous Las Vegan to toe the rubber since Greg Maddux retired will take the mound Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Wayne Newton, a right-hander who specializes on off-speed stuff and keeping the ball in play, is to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Chicago Cubs’ home tilt against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That game starts at 1:05 p.m. PT.

"I'm more comfortable with a banjo than a baseball, but I'm proud to represent Las Vegas at Wrigley Field," Newton said today from Chicago. "I just hope I can throw the baseball farther than the banjo."

Winding up a weeklong trip through Chicago, Newton is tossing the first pitch as part of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority’s latest national advertising campaign trumpeting “Vegas Season” in the same manner as the holiday season is celebrated.

In a just-released commercial announcing the campaign, two women shopping at a mall department store note that “Vegas Season” music “starts earlier every year.” Then Newton appears in a very distinctive and dramatic manner (see the embedded You Tube clip for the ad).

Mr. Las Vegas is the star of the new campaign, which is being uncorked in Chicago largely because of Newton’s close and quirky affiliation with the city. Fans of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” understand this connection, as Bueller’s marching band medley in the middle of the street featured Newton’s “Danke Shoen.”

Newton also has been traversing the city with a collection of carolers, performing quick, unannounced “Vegas Season” tunes at various Chicago landmarks. The songs include “Put Your Booty in a a Swimsuity” and “Summa Girls, Vegas Girls.” Those outcroppings of “Vegas Season” spirit have been performed at Pioneer Court, Buckingham Fountain and on a boat ride along the Chicago River.

In an interview with Miriam Di Nunzio of the Chicago Sun-Times, Newton reminded potential Las Vegas tourists, “Summer is when the (hotel) rates are lower … there is more to do (than just visiting the Strip) … We have Lake Mead 20 minutes one way and Mount Charleston 20 minutes the other way.”

A rep for the LVCVA also punctuated that point.

“Las Vegas comes to life during the summer with unparalleled daylife, nightlife, entertainment, dining, shopping and more,” Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the LVCVA, said in a statement. “ ‘Vegas Season’ embodies the summertime spirit, freedom, fun and rewarding yourself with a much-deserved vacation.”

Which starts, unofficially, with that Cubs-Pirates game. Cut it loose, Mr. L.V.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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