In all the time I’ve lived here, I’ve never taken a photo of this sign…..until yesterday.  It seemed like such a touristy thing to do.  I mean, at any given point on any day of the year, you might see 50 to 100 or more people lined up to take their picture in front of this sign.  Thanks, Daily Post for giving me a reason to go out there with the crowds to see what all the fuss is about.

Hollywood’s sign might be the most recognized in America, but this one has to be a close second.  Printed on T-shirts and mugs and who knows what else, this sign has come to symbolize Las Vegas.  But what exactly is that symbolism?

The name Sin City has been around forever, and a couple decades ago they tried to clean up that image and market it as a family town.  That didn’t work so well and they finally realized this isn’t Disneyland.  Then they decided to embrace the image and came up with the slogan “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”  Closer to the truth is “What happens in Vegas ends up on Facebook”, but the slogan has stuck.  The PR people would like you to believe that you can come here and let your inhibitions go and live out some wild fantasy.  Movies like The Hangover perpetuate that belief.  Just remember you can’t delete what your friends post on Facebook.

So what is it that keeps people coming here?  Indian gaming has grown and there are many casinos throughout the country, yet they still come here.  Atlantic City is closer to the population center of America, yet they still come here.  There are strip clubs and bars in almost every major city in America, so that’s no reason to come here.  Prostitution is worldwide, and just as illegal here as most of America.  There’s no ‘trouble’ here that you can’t get into somewhere else.  While these darker elements are what some people think of when you mention Las Vegas, the city couldn’t exist on that.

Resorts, pools, spas, shopping, golfing, restaurants, nightlife, entertainment, and yes, the chance that you might actually go home with more money than you came here with.  Having all those options are the reasons people come to visit.  For those of us that live here, there are schools, parks, libraries, churches, grocery stores, and all kinds of businesses you would find elsewhere in America.  Sierra Club once designated Vegas as one of the best places to live.  All that combined is what the sign represents.

Last night as I was waiting for the sun to get lower, Elvis showed up with his karaoke machine.  He began performing to several people who obviously paid for this entertainment for the evening.  One of the ladies was celebrating her birthday.  I’m sure she’ll remember her Vegas birthday experience for a while.  Before I left, Elvis #2 showed up with a guitar strapped around his neck.  I didn’t get to hear him perform, as he was probably waiting for Elvis #1 to finish.  As I got back to my car, there was a third Elvis in the parking lot.  I didn’t see him having a microphone or a guitar, but as I looked around the parking lot I noticed a couple 1970’s Cadillac Eldorados.

Elvis and his Cadillac.  Symbols of a nostalgic era?  OK, more symbols here than I thought.

Only in Vegas!

Elvis impersonator performs to a group under the Las Vegas sign by Steve Bruno
Elvis impersonator performs to a group under the Las Vegas sign by Steve Bruno
Las Vegas Blvd, aka The Strip, from just north of the sign. To locals the sign means get off this road quick, or you will be stuck here for a while. By Steve Bruno
Las Vegas Blvd, aka The Strip, from just north of the sign. To locals the sign means get off this road quick, or you will be stuck here for a while. By Steve Bruno