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More than 300,000 visitors are expected to descend on Las Vegas for an extravagant party that features some of the biggest names in music and an eight-minute fireworks show launched from the tops of half a dozen high-rise casinos.
Federal officials have ranked the high-profile celebration just below the Super Bowl and on par with the festivities in Times Square, focusing resources on protecting Sin City on one of its biggest days of the year. National Guard, Secret Service and FBI agents will work alongside local police officers for the big night.
The heart of the Las Vegas Strip will be closed to vehicle traffic starting Saturday evening and police are ramping up barriers this year to prevent cars from reaching the pedestrians strolling the famous boulevard. Large bags, strollers, coolers, backpacks and glass bottles are banned by county ordinance for six hours before and six hours after the stroke of midnight.
Las Vegas police aren’t allowed to take vacation during the New Year’s weekend. The entire force will be on-call or working — some in uniform and others wandering the crowds undercover.
Casinos are pulling out all the stops for the celebration. Headliners at Las Vegas’ swanky nightclubs include DJ Calvin Harris, rappers T-Pain and Kendrick Lamar and artists Drake and Bruno Mars.
The city’s celebrity chefs are rolling out elaborate prix fixe menus complete with caviar and champagne.
A fireworks show synchronized to music — including the standard Auld Lang Syne — will usher in 2017. Revelers can drink in the spectacle from unusual vantage points, including from the windows of a helicopter tour and the cabin of the High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel.
There’s also a new way to celebrate in Nevada this year. On Jan. 1, recreational marijuana becomes legal for adults 21 and over, although tourists should take heed — it’s still banned in public places, and a violation carries a fine of up to $600.
This article was written by Michelle Rindels from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.