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A Las Vegas New Year: In With a Bang

3 January 2005

LAS VEGAS -- As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "The final minutes of 2004 were filled with uncertainty as revelers wondered whether Mother Nature would cooperate with their plans, but the first moments of 2005 proved a triumph.

"Drama built throughout the evening as officials wondered aloud whether the wind would top 10 mph, which would have led to the canceling of the fireworks display. As the first pyrotechnics exploded in the sky, the crowd on the Strip roared its approval.

"...As the fireworks burst overhead, one skeptical firefighter put his hand into the air and said, "Sure felt like 10 miles per hour to me. Glad I wasn't making that call."

"...The fireworks, which cost about $500,000, were launched from 10 Strip hotels to a soundtrack, which entertainer Clint Holmes wrote specifically for the event.

"Police initially estimated the crowd on the Strip to be somewhere between 150,000 and 175,000. Shortly after midnight, authorities said the final tally could reach 300,000. Last year, the crowd was estimated at 270,000. It was 287,000 the year before.

"Temperatures stayed relatively warm -- around 50 degrees -- for most of the night.

"...Though the weather was a constant concern, security did not appear to be. Unlike last year, when rumors of terrorism swirled, officials were not expecting anything untoward, except the usual drunkenness and all that goes with it.

"...For much of the night, police officers lined the Strip like light poles, spaced evenly and not moving a muscle. Before the crowd got too large, police erected several observation towers, on loan from Nellis Air Force Base.

"...Police had made only one arrest downtown and 23 on the Strip by midnight..."

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