The New Year will get off to a flying start in Las Vegas. A local man won a social media contest to jump off the Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod tower at midnight Thursday in an illuminated jump suit.
The winner of the Midnight Mirror Ball Sweepstakes, Ryan Smith, will leap from the resort’s SkyJump feature 829 feet above ground. The Strat, formerly called the Stratosphere, is at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, just inside city limits. Lighted gateway arches welcoming visitors to downtown Las Vegas recently opened at the Strat’s base.
The thrill rides at the top of the Strat tower normally are closed on New Year’s Eve out of precaution because of the annual fireworks show on the Strip.
With COVID-19 concerns, this year’s fireworks show is canceled. It will be conducted virtually, with viewing available on the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority website, its Facebook page, and its YouTube channel.
The Strat compares Thursday’s jump to the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City’s Times Square.
Stephen Thayer, the hotel-casino’s vice president and general manager, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the jumpsuit will be lit up “as bright as we can get it.”
“The SkyPod lights will go dark,” Thayer said. “You’ll see this lit-up suit up top. And we’re going to time it so he’s landing right at the New Year. We’ve got some confetti cannons at the bottom.”
The SkyJump is billed on the Strat’s website as the only similar jump in North America and the highest in the world. At the launch pad on the resort’s 108th floor, participants are strapped into a harness and attached to a cable. The cable is “connected to a descender machine” that slows jumpers down before they reach the landing site, the website states.
Under normal circumstances, tickets for the jump are $99.99. However, Smith and three friends will be given wristbands for unlimited free thrill rides.
Among other rides at the resort is Big Shot, shooting participants 160 feet up at the top of the tower. The Strat’s rides are open to the public on Friday until 1 am.
Downtown Fireworks Show
The normal New Year’s Eve celebration downtown also is being scaled back this year, with no live music or entertainment. Visitors age 21 and older will be permitted into the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall beginning at 6 pm Thursday for a $25 security fee.
The Plaza Hotel and Casino on Main Street in downtown Las Vegas plans to put on a midnight fireworks show from its south tower on Thursday. The Plaza is at the western end of Fremont Street where the now-demolished passenger train station one stood.
Also downtown this week, Circa Resort opened 512 of its 777 hotel rooms for the first time. The adults-only hotel-casino is the first resort built from the ground up in downtown Las Vegas in 40 years. Its gaming areas opened Oct. 28.
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