Las Vegas is the undisputed Entertainment Capital of the World, with its blinding neon lights, wild shindigs, posh casinos, and fabulous festivals luring millions to toss all inhibitions aside and enjoy like there’s no tomorrow. Here’s a year-long view of what’s in store for Las Vegas visitors.
January. Hardcore diamond action kicks off at the beginning of the year in Vegas. And no, we’re not referring to sparkling gems, but to America’s favourite pastime, baseball. The NCAA (college baseball) treats sport enthusiasts to home run frenzies until June.
While college jocks are busy loading bases, the food junkies make the most of the High Roller Super Bowl at Showboat Casino Hotel, which dishes up lavish buffets, for free! The overflow of free food here is rivalled by the number of floats and attendees of the Martin King, Jr. Luther Parade, a commemoration of the life and work of the civil rights icon.
February. The Chinese New Year begins with a big bang in Las Vegas with Chinatown Plaza’s annual Asian food festival, made even hotter by dragon dances and martial arts demonstrations. February is also Black History Month, a celebration of the African-American influence on Las Vegas’ extraordinary entertainment culture. Sumptuous breakfast at Fitzgeralds Casino and Hotel, the largest Black-owned hotel and casino, jumpstarts the festivity.
March. Sports and art hog the limelight during this month as the annual NASCAR Winston Cup zooms off at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NASCAR stars such as Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart grace this yearly event, giving “entertainment” a new meaning.
Vegas goes green during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This Irish festival is commemorated in every nook and cranny of the city, with carnival midways, marching bands, and food concessions. The Great Crafts Festival takes place during the month, too, showcasing masterpieces by local craftsmen.
April . Put on your best poker face for the million-dollar World Series of Poker, which draws in America’s most-renowned gamblers.
The hot parties don’t only happen at “the Strip”; Fremont Street actually flickers to life during Mardi Gras, where spectacular light shows, live music, and parades take place.
End the month of April with soothing renditions during the City of Lights Jazz Festival, a popular outdoor music event.
May. Clowns invade Freedom Park during Cinco de Mayo, an annual event sponsored by the Mexican Patriotic Committee. Parades and food events take place in various parks and bars in the city.
Jazz in the Park is a mid-month series of outdoor evening concerts that feature mellow jazz tunes.
June. This month, dabble in bodybuilding, self-defence, and the martial arts in Shawn Ray’s Colorado Pro Am Classic. Then watch the mutts strut their stuff in Lied Animal Shelter “Best in Show” dog competition judged by American Kennel Club reps.
July. The City of Lights shines even brighter as the U.S. celebrates Independence Day. Catch amazing pyrotechnics on the fourth of July at various venues: Cashman Field, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Santa Fe Station Pavilion, and more.
August . Computer hackers gather together for Def Con X Underground at The Alexis Park Hotel and Resort. No, they won’t be teaching hacking secrets; they’ll instead give information about state-of-the-art security techniques.
September. Sumptuous feasts abound during this month. Sample ethnic Italian dishes and indulge in some family fun during the Feast of San Gennaro, held in honour of the martyr patron saint of Naples. The Greek Food Festival, meanwhile, offers a delicious mix of Greek cuisine and culture, a bazaar, and folk dancing.
Craving for an adrenaline rush? Then pit your running skills against thousands of other competitors at the Sunset Hotel for Best in the Desert, a 482-kilometre desert and mountain race from Las Vegas to Reno.
October. Experience a different kind of Halloween at the Fetish and Fantasy Halloween Ball, a popular event initiated by adult products manufacturers. Here, exhibitionists gather and revel in the music and join the contests.
November . Las Vegas Odyssey commences its four-day celebration of food, wine, and art, with the proceeds going to the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary College Scholarship Program and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
December. The Ethel M Chocolate Light the Night Spectacular makes the holiday season even merrier with special tours of its desert plant garden illuminated by thousands of lights. More lights blaze along the Strip and downtown as a spectacular synchronized fireworks display delights both locals and tourists looking forward to the New Year.