I’ve never had any occasion to give away any of my money to craps tables, poker games, or slot machines. But when the best flight deal for the hiking and camping trip to Utah was round trip to Vegas on NYE 2020, I realized it may be a fun opportunity. Usually, in a non-pandemic year, the NYE flights from Atlanta to Vegas are very expensive. Obviously people love it, and I have plenty of family and friends who would also not be excited to lose any money to gambling, who’ve been and had a great time. And many of those people go back again and again. Having grown up in Nashville, Tennessee, I do love to be entertained.
Shannon had been to Vegas before, coming and going from museum building trips, and as I’d offered to be the one to figure out where we’d stay when we were there, asked his opinion. He said “what about that old section – the street starts with an ‘F’.” Fremont Street was what he was talking about. As this was still mid Covid-19 shutdown, many of the main hotels and shows and attractions on “the strip“were not yet re-opened. A few were opening with restrictions in place, and not a lot of people were out and about yet. I decided that if we were going to go and do this, and if we were going to submerge in the Fremont street experience for our one night in Vegas on NYE, that I wanted to stay somewhere that embodied that. And oh Boy did I nail it with the Four Queens.
Four Queens has been operational since 1966, and has been a backdrop to some movies in the 70’s and 80’s and all of those things in my opinion make it cool. We had a lot of research and prep to do to be in the Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness, and the mountains of Utah for the bulk of our trip, so we didn’t plan anything for Vegas except that we would stay at Four Queens.
We’d heard that the street was covered in an awning with LED lights that made videos to music, and we’d read that you could “fly” over the street on a zip line. Unfortunately, the zip line was closed but I felt no loss at missing out on that. I was not prepared for how great the video/music/lights show was going to be and it was plenty entertaining.
What we didn’t know beforehand, was that any guests of the hotels on Fremont Street, including Four Queens, Golden Nugget, The D Casino and hotel, and about 6 others, were going to be given exclusive access to Fremont street for NYE 2020. It also meant that anyone not staying in one of the 9 Fremont Street hotels would not have access. So we were basically VIP’s for the night. We were given a wristband to come and go in any of the Fremont Street hotels and it was an absolute blast!
Another thing we thought was fun, was that there was a live feed from the end of the street. One of Shannon’s sisters had the live feed up and running, and we made sure that we got ourselves in front of the camera so that she could find us. She was face timing with Shannon and showing him the video footage of us that she was watching back home in Alabama. We found this to be great fun, perhaps fueled somewhat by beer and champagne.
The music, the people, the constantly changing movie on the ceiling, and the festive atmosphere on Fremont street, far exceeded our expectations. It was by far the most fun New Year’s I’ve ever had, and one that I doubt can be topped. As the clock struck midnight, there was a massive fireworks show just on the other block beyond Fremont Street, and we found an opening in the awning to watch it. Just as the fireworks ended, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” played overhead, and literally everyone there was singing it at the top of our lungs, together like an anthem. It was awesome! We had a hard time leaving the fun to go get some sleep, but we did manage to catch a few hours sleep before waking up on January 1, 2021 to drive to False Kiva.