Every December, a ceremony is held at the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas. It’s part of a holiday tradition, but it’s not Christmas. It’s Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, which features the annual lighting of the Menorah, celebrating the rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish population could find only enough oil to keep the temple flame burning for one night, but miraculously the oil lasted for eight nights.
Since Downtown Las Vegas celebrates with the lighting of the giant Menorah, why not expand the celebration as only Las Vegas can, with promotions and specials?
Here are my eight ideas (apologizing in advance for readers who may not be familiar with Yiddish words or phrases):
• Casinos can modify their roulette and Big Six wheel games by offering bets on the spin of a dreidel instead.
• To promote the holiday, casinos could change casino chips to Hanukkah gelt. Since they are gold-wrapped chocolate, players would have the option of cashing out at the cage or eating their winnings.
• Hotels can re-open their buffets and serve latkes, fried in the same oil for all eight days. That’s assuming the health department approves it.
• When hockey teams score a goal, it’s called “lighting the lamp.” Since the Vegas Golden Knights are playing three games the week of Hanukkah, if they score a total of eight goals, we have the perfect Hanukkah celebration on ice.
• Casino promotion departments could offer players a limo ride to Mount Charleston to look for any Hanukkah bushes.
• The player clubs can offer eight gifts to their customers. The catch? Players would have to play all eight nights.
• With a nod to Tom Lehrer, one Las Vegas luxury Strip property would run radio ads in Los Angeles, with the song, “(I’m Spending) Hanukkah in Santa Monica” changed to “(I’m Spending) Hanukkah in Waldorf Astoria.”
• Elton John returns to Las Vegas after his farewell tour for a special concert performing “Eight Candles In The Wind.”
Will casinos in Las Vegas consider these ideas? Or will they ignore the opportunity to expand the holiday spirit from Downtown Las Vegas to the whole city? Sure, it’s easy to ignore a holiday, but isn’t it better to light eight candles than to curse the darkness?