Coronavirus

Plaza Casino Plans New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show in Las Vegas

The Plaza Hotel Casino in downtown Las Vegas plans to light up the night sky with a fireworks show on New Year’s Eve. COVID-19 concerns forced an annual show on the Las Vegas Strip to be canceled.

The Plaza Hotel Casino, seen in this file photo, plans to stage a fireworks show in downtown Las Vegas to usher in 2021. The annual event on the Las Vegas Strip has been canceled. (Image: Fox5 Vegas)

Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel recently said it is a tradition for the Plaza to conduct a New Year’s Eve fireworks display.

We can’t wait to ring in the new year in classic Vegas style,” he said in a statement.

This year’s fireworks show on the Strip would have been the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s 21st annual show, according to KVVU-TV. Last year’s festivities attracted more than 300,000 people.

Steve Hill, LVCVA’s CEO, said “safety and security” factored into the decision to cancel the show this year. Hill urged revelers to “stay tuned” for alternative plans to ring in 2021, according to the television station.

“Las Vegas has always been a bucket list New Year’s Eve destination, and we are going to make sure that remains the case, celebrating putting 2020 in the rearview mirror in an ‘Only Vegas’ way,” Hill said.

September Fireworks

In late September, Jossel staged a fireworks test run at the Plaza.

Jossel joined Las Vegas casino executive Derek Stevens on a rooftop at the then-unopened Circa Resort to watch the Saturday night fireworks test. Stevens, who owns Circa and two other hotel-casinos on Fremont Street, tweeted the event with a three-minute video.

After waiting for helicopters to clear out of the area, Jossel signaled the OK to launch two brief fireworks blasts, including a “finale,” from a Plaza hotel tower. In the Sept. 26 tweet, Stevens thanked Jossel for the fireworks display, but added he didn’t want to leak the Plaza’s marketing plans. This appeared to be a reference to future fireworks shows at the Plaza.

“I hope what you’re doing pans out,” Stevens said.

A month later, on Oct. 28, Stevens held a grand opening at Circa. The gaming and recreation areas were opened in October. Some of Circa’s 777 hotel rooms will open in December.

Circa is the first hotel-casino built from the ground up in downtown Las Vegas in 40 years. It is an adults-only resort. No one under age 21 is allowed anywhere on the main property, except a steakhouse in the basement.

Circa was constructed at the northwestern end of Fremont Street. It is across Main Street from the Plaza. The Plaza opened in 1971 where the historic passenger train station once stood. At one point, the resort was named the Union Plaza.

New Year’s Eve Casino Closure

Las Vegas is not the only place where the coronavirus pandemic is a factor in New Year’s Eve plans at casinos.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, is closing at 3 pm on Dec. 31. It will reopen at 7 am on Jan. 1.

Jim Wise, FireKeepers’ vice president of marketing, said the casino has been crowded during past New Year’s Eve events.

“With our occupancy constraints due to social distancing, we can’t be the place where the public goes to party this year,” he told WWMT-TV.

The casino is planning an invitation-only New Year’s Eve event, Wise said.

 On Dec. 31, free donuts and coffee will be available for all customers from 8 am to 10 am, Wise said.

Larry Henry

Gaming Regulation, Crime, Politics — Larry Henry is a veteran print and broadcast journalist who spent more than 16 years in Nevada, including serving as legislative reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal and as political editor at the Las Vegas Sun. He's also written about popular culture for the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. As a broadcast journalist, he worked as managing editor at KFSM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Arkansas, where he now lives and where casino growth is a hot topic. A Marine Corps veteran and LSU graduate, he is also an avid movie fan, especially of classic film noir from the 1940s and ’50s.

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Larry Henry