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What happens in Vegas…feels a lot like Venice. In 2012, The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino on the famed Las Vegas Strip celebrated Winter in Venice, the second-annual holiday festival featuring 50 days of seasonal experiences at both The Venetian and The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino.
It was a winter wonderland in the desert (although it was 65 degrees outside) at The Venetian. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel featured a brand-new skating rink in front of the property, complete with a large disco ball. (Conversation dropper: It wasn't real ice, but it felt exactly like it when you skated. The surface was made of state-of-the-art recycled polymer, part of the resort’s green initiatives.) Another highlight was the 65-foot LED Christmas tree. The rink featured light shows and live bands along with little elves — or friendly, knowledgeable helpers — who were there to tighten the laces on your skates.
Mind-blowing characters including 10-foot-tall Christmas stilt walkers in holiday white and Adabella, the Winter in Venice Queen, prowled the surroundings and even ventured into the casinos. Other events included a nightly parade, tree-lighting shows and a “Light of Venice” 3D light projection show.
Inside The Palazzo Theater, Grammy-winner Chip Davis’ holiday show “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Las Vegas” played for a six-week run. Other musical highlights included carolers strolling throughout the property.
Another treat was a tasty one: Guests were able to watch The Venetian Culinary Clash Master Chef Competition on Nov. 29 and Dec. 7, 14 and 21. Each showdown featured chefs from the 30-plus restaurants located inside The Venetian and The Palazzo; these contestants received mystery baskets of ingredients for their dishes, which they prepared in food trucks located at The Venetian’s Doge’s Palace.
Celebrity chefs included Emeril Lagasse (Nov. 29), Mario Batali (Dec. 7) and Sammy DeMarco (Dec. 14) headed the judging panels, and Daniel Boulud and actor Gilles Marini were on hand to judge Dec. 21 finals.