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August 31, 2015

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New Year’s Eve:

Vegas fireworks must compete with glitz of the Strip

Image

Leila Navidi

Pyrotechnicians with Fireworks by Grucci set up the New Year’s Eve fireworks and covers them with plastic on the roof of Treasure Island Thursday, December 30, 2010.

Fireworks by Grucci

Robert Inga, left, and Doug Pride, pyrotechinicans with Fireworks by Grucci, set up New Year's Eve fireworks on the roof of Treasure Island on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Shiny green comets, red peonies with white pistils, silver palm trees and a barrage of other fireworks will burst, boom and pop over the Las Vegas Strip tonight to ring in 2011.

“Probably the part with the most excitement is after you give the fire cue,” said Felix Grucci, executive producer of pyrotechnics for the show. “You see this burst of color rise up.”

An estimated 320,000 visitors are expected to be in Las Vegas to celebrate New Year’s. Grucci, whose company, Fireworks by Grucci, is putting on the show, intends to make sure as many of them as possible can see the display.

Fireworks by Grucci — hired by Las Vegas Events, a non-profit organization funded by hotel taxes — will be shooting off identical shows from atop seven hotel roofs: MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, the Venetian and the Stratosphere.

The show will last just over eight minutes and will feature songs by Katy Perry (“Waking Up in Vegas”), the Black Eyed Peas (“Boom Boom Pow”),” and Michael Franti (“I Love You”).

Michael Mack, vice president of marketing and communications for Las Vegas Events, said tonight’s show is “kind of like punting the football. That’s when it all happens.”

“I’m always excited to see this whole process come together,” he said.

Mack, Grucci and a host of Clark County firefighters, Metro Police officers and other officials will be watching the show from a command center at the Rio — just above the VooDoo Lounge. It offers a panoramic view of what’s happening on the Strip, Mack said.

Grucci said that despite predicted near-freezing temperatures, the show won’t be impacted by the cold. Wind, however, is a concern.

If sustained winds are more than 10 mph, the Clark County Fire Department will call off the show, Grucci said.

“I don’t think we’re going to have that problem,” he said.

Planning for the show began in February, Grucci said. In September and October, Grucci’s company began putting together the specific design for the show. Seven days before Christmas, crews started setting up fireworks on the roofs along the Strip, he said. They should be finished by noon.

“We’ve performed for almost all of the hotels that have grown (or opened) during the past two decades,” Grucci said. “[Vegas] is like a satellite for us.”

Fireworks by Grucci has produced New Year’s Eve fireworks on the Las Vegas Strip for eight of the past 12 years, he said.

This year’s fireworks display cost $500,000 — the same as last year’s show.

Grucci said the most difficult part of putting on a fireworks show in Las Vegas is its already-decadent atmosphere.

“There’s no other place in the world like Las Vegas,” he said. “The ambiance of the city challenges us to match that with the elegance of a firework show.”

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