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A few miles north, the downtown Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall will stage its fifth annual TributePalooza, with cover bands playing to an adults-only crowd.

Virtual fireworks will light up the mall’s blocks-long metal canopy, which boasts the world’s largest video screen.

“I’ve been to a lot of places, and this is the best,” said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who will lead the Fremont countdown. “One hotel after another, one place to go after another. It’s all happening.”

Police plan to shut down Strip traffic six hours before midnight so that revelers can spill into the four-mile stretch of road normally packed with cars at night. Casinos will lock their doors to all but paying guests.

The city’s 2,700 metro police officers will be visible on horses and bicycles, and will also blend into the crowd and watch for bad behavior and more serious offenses.

Police made 114 arrests for drunken driving during last year’s festivities.

“Our primary mission is crowd safety,” said Lt. Jason Letkiewicz, who will be overseeing the command center on the Strip. “It’s usually a real good crowd. They want to party, they want to have a good time.”

About 300 Nevada National Guard troops will also take up stations around town, where they will be on the lookout for possible terrorist threats.

Street sweepers will move in around 2 a.m. and finish up by dawn. They typically collect 50 cubic yards of trash, enough to fill the 10,000-gallon double archway aquarium at the MGM Grand’s Rainforest Cafe.


Hannah Dreier can be reached at