Halloween on Fremont Street – 2

Fremont Street is the “heart” of downtown Las Vegas. It’s actually in the city of Las Vegas; almost all of The Strip is south of the city line in the unincorporated community of Paradise. It’s where you’ll find a lot of the older, classic casinos like the Golden Nugget and El Cortez.

Some years ago, the city fathers saw that everyone was hanging out on The Strip, making the downtown area pretty much a ghost town. Something was needed to revive the area.

They closed off several blocks of Fremont Street in front of the casinos, turning it into a pedestrian mall. They covered it with a HUGE light display for hourly light and music shows, and set up three quasi-permanent performance stages (they look like they could be easily disassembled if the need arose). Street performers were allowed, within reasonable limits.

In effect, they turned it into the world’s largest open air nightclub.

So it’s the perfect place for public parties and festivities. Like Halloween.

One thing you’ll note is that the street performers are restricted to certain areas designated by circles on the pavement. I suppose this is to limit their number, and keep them from being too annoying. There are the occasional magician or “musician”, as well as scantily costumed people offering photo ops. And bums and beggars; though I can’t see what sort of “street art” they are doing.

NOTE: Is it just me, or do a larger-than-you’d-think number of these bums claim to be veterans? I know life can be hard for the former military, but there can’t be THAT many. And when none of these beggars mention where or when they served on their cardboard signs, I can’t help being a teeny bit suspicious about the truth of that advertising. I considered going up to one and asking him about his unit and deployment, but I thought better of it. I still wonder, though…..

The spots are probably “first come, first served”, since little thought seems to have been given to the arrangement of the performers. They are about 20 yards apart, and when adjacent circles are both occupied by “five gallon drummers” (those guys who bang away on overturned five gallon buckets), they blend into each other.

With Halloween on a Thursday this year, it seemed logical to let the party run through the weekend. “Rock of Horror”, they called it. The only “Halloween” thing I noticed in the festivities was that one of the “house” bands, Alter Ego, changed their name (and look) to “Alter Igor”.

(That’s actual video from a performance on Halloween, 2019)

The bands were loud enough, and the stages close enough, so that you couldn’t really get into a spot where you couldn’t hear them. Like the street “performers”, they blended in to each other.

Personally, I preferred 80’s Station, an 80s cover band. There’s a theory that the music you like the best was what was popular at a significant time in your life. Like when you are in college, and taking your first big steps into adulthood. That may tell you something about me.

There weren’t as many people in costume as I had expected. I guess they were all at parties down on The Strip. A lot of the costumes I saw were pretty average. The best one belonged to a young boy of perhaps five years of age. His parents dressed him as a WWI-era aviator. He had the fur-lined suede jacket, the fur-lined helmet, goggles, and a painted-on mustache. If the promised costume contest was actually held, he could have easily won. My apologies; I didn’t get a photo.

You know, one would think that for Halloween, they’d have changed the usual light shows from contemporary hits like Green Day and Linkin Park to something more appropriate. Surely they could have gotten the rights to, oh, “Monster Mash” (to be bloody obvious) and conjured up an appropriate visual display to go along with it. Nope. Nothing at all spooky. Unless you find the DJ known as “Tiesto” to be extremely scary…..

To be honest, I was expecting rather a bit more from Fremont Street for Halloween. Maybe you’ll do better if you go next year.

Oh, by the way, if you do go, stop by the Mob Museum. It’s just two blocks from Fremont, and they’ve got a new exhibit in the basement on Prohibition… It’s a working “speakeasy”, and they’ve got an actual, functioning distillery down there.

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