by George Bao
LAS VEGAS, United States, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- From the world famous Strip to most of the big hotels, Las Vegas is adorned with images of horses, red lanterns and Chinese characters.
This global entertainment capital is gearing up to welcome the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Horse.
In front of the famous Venetian hotel-casino complex on the Strip, a big sign bearing the characters "GongXiFaCai (Wish you good fortune)" and "GongHeXinXi (Happy New Year)" can be seen from several blocks away. These are the two most popular greetings among Chinese during the New Year.
The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has a tradition of decorating Chinese style before the Chinese New Year. This year, a big horse statue stands on a three-tier mountain in a beautiful flower garden filled with tangerines, Chinese lanterns, models of children playing with firecrackers and a gold coin money tree.
Shop owners have also seized the opportunity to woo customers. Omega at Bellagio has decorated a window with a red horse.
Palazzo has placed several horses in its waterfall and Atrium Gardens. The galloping horse, which stands 16 feet high, carries a load of treasure to offer good fortune to visitors. This special art will remain on display till Feb. 16.
The Venetian and Palazzo will also celebrate the Year of the Horse with a ceremonial dragon dance featuring a parade of dancers and drummers. The festivities include firecrackers and a face painting ceremony.
Visitors to Las Vegas are attracted by its various shows. For the first time, Palazzo will have a show focusing on the panda as part of its New Year celebrations.
Wynn Las Vegas has already decorated a golden horse on the side of a big dragon in its gardens.
Aria, one of the newest hotels and casinos on the Strip, will celebrate the Year of the Horse with a traditional lion dance.
Visitors who have visited Las Vegas in the past years have found increasing numbers of hotels and casinos celebrating the Chinese New Year.
Las Vegas is not only a world entertainment capital, it is also a convention capital with the year 2012 seeing more than 4.9 million people attending 21,615 conventions, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
The year 2012 saw a record 39.7 million visitors, and about 500,000 more people visited Las Vegas in 2012 than in 2007, the previous record-setting year. The record visitation translated into more than 40 billion dollars for the local economy, the organization said.