With New Year’s Day falling on a Saturday, the city has gone all out and scheduled a star-packed weekend.
There may be no better example of Atlantic City’s new determination to be seen as more than just a gambling resort than the line-up of entertainment, special events and nightclub goings-on scheduled for New Year’s weekend 2011.
With New Year’s Eve falling on a Friday night, and the city somewhat of a weekend getaway specialist to begin with, this year’s New Year’s celebration may be setting a new high for Atlantic City.
Consider, for example, just the entertainment lined up in casino showrooms, which this year offers an eclectic and demographically diverse line-up.
New Year’s Eve, show-goers can ring in the holiday with blues legend B.B. King (Harrah’s Resort), current rock stars Maroon 5 (House of Blues), classic crooner and casino staple Bobby Vinton (Resorts), Grammy-award winning singer Sarah McLaughlan (Caesars) or Hoff, Longoria, Richard and Spencer from the cast of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys (Tropicana).
Think about it, Broadway tunes, classic blues, modern rock, Vinton’s classic crooning or McLaughlan’s mellow song stylings — that’s a lot of different genres and big stars in one place.
Check out Vegas this New Year’s Eve, for instance. They’ve got Tony Orlando, Kool & The Gang and David Copperfield. While we love when those guys play here, it just doesn’t come close to Atlantic City’s line-up.
And while there’s no entertainment czar making sure A.C.’s line-up is this diverse, the casinos do seem to be booking acts with the whole city in mind, rather than just every casino for themselves.
“This is what everybody has been saying and working for all year,” says Jeffrey Vasser, executive director of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitor’s Authority. “We know we have to make the city an entertainment destination. Everyone is trying to do that. We have to demonstrate to our visitors that there is so much more going on here than gambling. Whether it’s the restaurants, the nightclubs and most importantly the entertainers we’re bringing in.”
And there’s a lot more than just those groups coming in for the holiday weekend.
Hip-hop fans will start to party a little early with rapper Wiz Khalifa at the House of Blues Dec. 29 and 30. The Soup host and stand-up comedian Joel McHale is at the Borgata New Year’s Eve.
Other New Year’s Eve performers and events include Jerry Blavat’s New Year’s Eve Party at the Taj Mahal, the B Street band at Trump Plaza, Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester at Dusk at Caesars (for a second year), and the Shannon Twins from The Girls Next Door at The Pool at Harrah’s.
“There is a diversity there and you even have some crossover,” Vasser says. “For instance, Sarah McLaughlan’s fans might not necessarily think about coming to Atlantic City for New Years. But they will come and see the city, eat in the restaurants and some of them may even stay over a night and go see Carrie Underwood on New Year’s Day.”
Oh yeah. Did we mention that Saturday, New Year’s Day, is just as jam-packed with entertainment as New Year’s Eve?
Headliners for Jan. 1 are led by superstar Underwood (Borgata), R&B greats The O’Jays at the Hilton, rockers Third Eye Blind at the House of Blues, Vinton for a second show at Resorts and the immortal Franki Valli at the Borgata.
“We’re really fortunate this year,” says Vasser. “With New Year’s Eve on Friday, we’re hoping to get a lot people staying over through the weekend. There really is something for everyone in this line-up.
“There was a time when all casino entertainment seemed the same,” he says. “You had your Don Rickles, Englebert Humperdink, Steve and Edie. And they are all great performers, but there was a standard type of entertainer that you saw in the casinos. But now we’re appealing to all types of audiences and demographics.”
One just has to look at the lineups of some of the casinos, such as the Borgata, which will bring McHale, Underwood and Valli in for the same weekend, or the Showboat’s House of Blues, which has scheduled Wiz Khalifa, Maroon 5 and Third Eye Blind over four successive nights, to see the commitment the city’s casinos as a whole have made.
At the same time, Vinton’s run at Resorts, as well as The O’Jays at the Hilton and Valli at the Borgata, show the classic casino entertainer still has room in the new Atlantic City.
Throw in the pumping beats at the city’s nightclubs, parties at bars and restaurants around the resort and then, just if you’re into it, the thrill of some casino action.
“I was interviewed recently [in another market] and the reporter asked me where was my favorite place to play, and I immediately said Atlantic City,” Orlando says.
Following a weeklong break, the casino showrooms will spring to life following the Christmas holiday weekend for an all-out New Year’s Eve (and New Year’s Day) celebration.
Finding great places to party in the Atlantic City area on New Year’s Eve is not difficult, it’s sifting through so many top-notched options that is. Party packages are available at all the casino nightclubs, and with them some exceptional overnight deals in the casino hotels. The safest and ....
If keeping it local is more your N.Y.E. style your options are plentiful. Here are a few ideas for having a fun night out at your favorite local hangout, some of which offer shuttle service or have arrangements with the local cab companies to keep you and others safe
Laughing with George Lopez
Fight Night at Boardwalk Hall
Rush to the Taj