Mr. Las Vegas takes stage at Gold Strike
Special to The Commercial Appeal
As with most sectors of the economy, it was a tough year for gambling resorts, but heading into 2010, Tunica casinos are doubling down with a full slate of New Year’s Eve festivities.
By far the biggest name in Tunica this New Year’s is Las Vegas legend Wayne Newton, who performs a sold-out show at 8 p.m. at the Gold Strike’s Millennium Theater. Besides bringing a bit of Vegas Strip glamor to the Mississippi Delta, the show may be one of the last chances people have to see the performer who has earned the title “Mr. Las Vegas.” To mark his 50th anniversary performing in the gambling Mecca, in October the singer of “Danke Schoen” and other hits started a new show, the career retrospective “Once Before I Go,” at the Tropicana Las Vegas amid hints that the stand, which runs through April, may be the 67-year-old’s last.
Horseshoe Casino continues the old Vegas vibe with its “New Year’s Eve Tribute to the Stars,” featuring hourly performances by Vegas showgirls and celebrity lookalikes mingling on the casino floor throughout the night. There will also be New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day buffet specials as well as a midnight countdown with a balloon drop and a complimentary champagne toast. For more information, visit horseshoetunica.com.
A very different kind of performer takes the stage at Harrah’s Event Center with an appearance by DJ Jazzy Jeff. For one night only the venue will be transformed into the Ultra Lounge as the deejay, born Jeffrey Townes in Philadelphia, spins hits from his long collaboration with Will “Fresh Prince” Smith as well as his own solo discs, including his recent Michael Jackson tribute mixtape He’s the King ... I’m the DJ. Tickets are $20 and $65 (includes free drinks) and are available at the casino gift shop and through Ticketmaster.
Hollywood Casino will ring in 2010 with music by the Big Boys performing in the Safari Lounge from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and a midnight balloon drop as well as food and drink specials at the award-winning Fairbank’s Steakhouse and the Epic Buffet, including a champagne and mimosa brunch on New Year’s Day. For more information, call (800) 871-0711, or visit hollywoodcasinotunica.com.
Likewise, Fitzgerald’s Casino is offering dining specials at its Riverview Buffet, but generally the casino, which recently opened a VIP Lounge and new high limit room, prefers to celebrate with cash, holding its first $25,000 New Year’s Day Slot Tournament. For more information, visit fitzgeraldstunica.com.
Finally, a little closer to home, West Memphis’ Southland Park gets into the festive spirit with its second annual New Year’s Eve Big Top Bash. The circus-themed celebration kicks off at 5 p.m. with balloon artists, stilt walkers, human statues, jugglers, mimes and magicians on the gaming and racing floors. There will also be carnival games and food, including hot dogs and funnel cakes, and, for Player Rewards Members, free Ferris wheel rides. In the Juke Joint lounge, Eddie Harrison & the Shortkuts perform from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the Mean Green Music Machine plays in the New Year with a 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. set. For more information, call (800) 467-6182 or visit southlandpark.com.
At Harrah’s Event Center: DJ Jazzy Jeff spins hits from his long collaboration with Will “Fresh Prince” Smith as well as his own solo discs.