Wind might blow fireworks show on Las Vegas Strip

LAS VEGAS - Rain may dampen revelers below, but only wind would keep the fireworks from lighting the sky over the Las Vegas Strip for the first minutes of 2005, officials said.

"We can fire in a deluge if we have to," said Phil Grucci, producer of the Las Vegas New Year's Eve fireworks show. "But anything over 10 mph and the fire department closes us down."

As many as 300,000 people were expected to swarm Las Vegas Boulevard for the fifth annual New Year's Eve fireworks celebration that organizers have dubbed "America's Party."

City officials also planned to use the show to kick off a year-long centennial celebration. Las Vegas was founded with a May 1905 railroad land auction.

The National Weather Service was forecasting a 30 percent chance of rain, with chilly temperatures and winds of 10 to 15 mph - a crucial marker for planners with their fingers on the fireworks button.

Grucci said the final decision would be made just before midnight whether to launch the $500,000 computer-fired show.

It features lasers, lights, confetti and a 10-second fireworks countdown before 40,000 fireworks begin firing for eight minutes from 10 casino roofs.

The downtown Fremont Street Experience planned to host 25,000 people at a New Year's Eve celebration including live entertainment on stages in a pedestrian walkway between casinos.

Local, state and federal law enforcement officials were planning tight security, from electronic surveillance to a ban on cans and bottles on the street.

Plans called for backpacks, satchels and other bags to be searched.


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