By Jay Jones
10:45 AM EST, January 25, 2013
Las Vegas will celebrate the Chinese New Year next month, replete with dragon dances, firecrackers, fabulous food and stunning floral displays along the Strip and in downtown Las Vegas.
The fun gets underway at the Fremont Street Experience at 6 p.m. on Feb. 8. Dragon dancers will perform as virtual firecrackers explode on the Viva Vision canopy overhead. Through Feb. 10, the pedestrian mall will be alive with cultural performances and vendors selling Asian food.
At 3:30 p.m. Feb. 9, a dragon dance will wind its way through the Venetian. The performers will eventually make their way to the resort’s Waterfall Atrium, which is already bedecked in a colorful display featuring “Sophie Chow,” an animated, 98-foot-long blue snake that welcomes the arrival of the Year of the Snake.
Another display awaits through March 3 at the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at Bellagio. The vibrant floral creations are rich in Chinese tradition. Guests are greeted at the entrance by an 18-foot-tall money tree symbolizing prosperity, good fortune and nobility.
Inside, a 35-foot-long junk boat floats in a pool stocked with koi. Nearby six “children,” each made from 1,800 carnations and mums, frolic. The Las Vegas-based Beijing Trio performs from 5-6 p.m. daily. Admission is free.
Bellagio will also host a culinary celebration Feb. 14-16, when a team from the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse visits the U.S. for only the second time. Executive Chef Hao Baoli, who usually cooks for royalty and other dignitaries visiting Beijing, will prepare an eight-course meal each evening, served on tableware flown in from the Chinese capital. Tickets, at $500 per person, are available online (or by calling (866) 406-7117.