December 29, 2014: How Vegas Plans to Reach Even More Visitors, Disney Closes Parks After Reaching Capacity on Christmas, Facebook Expands Developer Conference

By Beth Kormanik December 29, 2014, 8:11 AM EST

1. HOW LAS VEGAS PLANS TO REACH EVEN MORE VISITORS: With 340,000 people expected to attend the New Year’s Eve gathering America’s Party in Las Vegas, the city is prepared for another blockbuster year in tourism and events. After topping 40 million visitors for the first time in 2014, Las Vegas Events president Pat Christenson says the city is looking to expand in several key areas. Las Vegas Sun: “We will be continually looking for events, looking for conventions, looking for things that continue to push the envelope. Let’s maximize the number of visitors we can bring here through the different specific programs we have. … We have two things we can develop over the next five to 10 years, and one is festivals. When you look at what has been going on and the different investments that have been made in festival sites and festivals, we have a great opportunity there.”

2. DISNEY CLOSES PARKS AFTER REACHING CAPACITY ON CHRISTMAS: Disneyland and Disney World both temporarily closed on Christmas morning after attracting maximum crowd capacity. Los Angeles Times: “Disneyland officials wouldn't say how often they must close entrance gates because of excessive crowding, adding only that it happens very rarely. … Theme park experts say the park has two options: keep hiking daily admission rates until the crowds become manageable or expand the park.”

3. FACEBOOK EXPANDS DEVELOPER CONFERENCE: Facebook’s developer conference, called F8, will expand to two days next year, meeting March 25-26 in San Francisco. “The scope of the company’s products has broadened, and there’s more content to share than can fit into a single day,” the company told the blog AllFacebook. “The additional day means double the number of technical sessions, product demos and onsite experiences for Facebook’s growing developer community.”


Cheryl Cecchetto, owner and president of Sequoia Productions, has published an autobiography, Passion to Create: Your Invitation to Celebrate, about her career as an event producer for high-profile gatherings such as the Emmys’ and Oscars’ Governors Balls. She discussed how to lead a strong event team with BizBash in 2012:


BOSTON:  A soft opening for the Stage American Vaudeville Nightclub took place last week. With multiple bars and stages, the theatre district venue has decor inspired by the Prohibition era.

CHICAGO:  The Main Event, a new benefit for Catholic Charities’ Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide program, is February 6 at Drury Lane in Oakbrook. The boxing event will offer cocktails, a raffle, and ringside seating with dinner.

The 2015 Charity Poker Championship benefiting Children’s Oncology Services Inc. is February 19 at the Montgomery Club. Organizers expect some 240 poker players and 100 spectators.

The Peninsula Chicago will host a Chinese New Year celebration on February 19.

LAS VEGAS:  Donny & Marie has extended its residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas through 2015.

Smashburger debuted its first Strip location December 23.

The first West Coast Shake Shack is slated to open on the Strip near New York-New York today.

LOS ANGELES:  Marina Abramović will be the creative force behind the Art of Elysium Gala on January 10. Abramović will collaborate on fashion, film, fine art, and music experiences for guests.

Last week the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles announced its new board of directors and officers. Beginning Thursday, 20th Century Fox international president of international marketing Kieran Breen will be chair.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  Michael Anthony, who previously worked at Gramercy Tavern, has been named executive chef and managing director of Untitled, the restaurant operation inside the new meatpacking district location of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Grub Street:

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

TORONTO:  Fewer tacos and more bar snacks were among the trends at Toronto’s restaurants this year, according to Toronto Life:

YOUR NEWS: What are you doing? Tell us:

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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