Belated New Year celebrations

I am sorry, I guess my mind was somewhere else, that I didn’t describe our New Year’s celebration in St. George. First of all?? – we do it every year. Since we figured out that it is so much fun. Maybe it was the fourth year we participated in the First Night – that’s how they call it. I consider it to be an incorrect name – because the celebrations go from 7 pm on the 31st of December till 12 am. Which makes it the Last Night. But?? maybe it would sound too gloomy, like “the last night of your life” :-), almost reminds Halloween, so they named it?? optimistically.

No pictures from St. George, sorry. It was dark already, lots of trees diligently wrapped with red and blue lights and several very tall pine trees all decorated with colorful lights to the very tops. I bet they did a lot of work there. The celebrations were held in the Ancestor square – newly arranged square in the place where old library was demolished. There were stages with rock music going, vintage car show, painted kokopellies and food booths, but the main thing for us was in the Arts center – they were showing short movies non-stop from 7 pm till 11:45 pm. The movies that had won prizes in Red Rock Film festival. On the top floor of that building there is a fantastic newly remodeled hall for dancing. With a small orchestra playing swings and foxtrots. So our evening looked like this: first figuring out what where the movies worth watching and then running up and down the building – to see some movies, to dance, then again to watch, etc. The only time we sneaked out of the building during the evening – was when we literally ran to a school on the other side of the square to watch a magic show by Max the local Magician. Which was entertaining and good. The room was over packed, everyone laughed and happy so that that the good mood spread around. I think people who live around could even feel it. Why not to be happy?? – no traffic jams, no problems to park the car, all the events going on close around, just relax, consume and enjoy.

At 12 am people gathered from dances, movies and shows and saw a 15 min firework show which was fantastic! I mean fantastic for a small city like St. George, because maybe a good 10 years ago I happened to see the Independence Day fireworks in Washington DC?? – they were similarly good. And that is it – no more activities, you just find your car and head home. Oh, one more detail – no alcohol in this celebration, it is run by Mormons. Who else would desire to sacrifice their New Year’s night and volunteer…except for the saints. Therefore I doubt other cities with non Mormon population can have such a First Night.?? And the last detail – all this costs $5 a person, totally, food not included. Except for some cookies with hot chocolate in the dance hall. They were included :-).

Meanwhile we managed to visit Bellagio in Las Vegas and here is what they had for Christmas and for the Chinese New Year which started on January 24th:

Those snowmen are all made of white carnations. They smelled good!

Based on the Chinese calendar this is the Brown Cow year. Some call it Ox year. Whatever – but this bull is standing on a platform covered with real mandarin oranges…

My mom came to visit us, so here we are after we picked her from the airport.

With another version of cow in the background…

This is how she enjoyed the fountain show by Bellagio. They start at 3 pm, so we had to wait for some time and then they start it with American Anthem. Another song follows after – it means we were lucky – we got two shows! for the price of one (the price was our waiting time).

And that is it from Las Vegas.

Happy New Year, Happy Brown Cow year!