At the Lake: Stateline's new twist is dance party on the street

Justin Eddy has been coming to the South Shore for eight years to take part in the New Year's celebration at Stateline, and he noticed something was missing: The informal street party lacked music.

Eddy took care of that this year, setting up a music player and speakers outdoors in the casino corridor Monday night for an impromptu dance party.

The music drew a crowd just outside Harveys Resort Casino that, for the most part, was well-behaved.

"It keeps these people entertained. It keeps them out of trouble," Eddy, 28, said over the booming beat.

Eddy, an East Bay resident, said he initially set up by the Horizon Casino Resort but was asked to leave. No one complained when he moved his gear next to Harveys, although he was told his equipment was his own responsibility.

Law-enforcement personnel didn't seem to mind the dance party, either.

"He hasn't caused that big of a problem," said Douglas County Sheriff's Capt. Keith Logan, who noted the gathering wasn't blocking law enforcement's path through the area.

As midnight approached, Logan said the only trouble at the party had been one near-fight that was averted.

Eddy's dance party was just one part of the New Year's celebration that stretched along Highway 50 from MontBleu and the Horizon to Harrah's and Harveys, all the way to the state line.

Temperatures in the teens didn't stop tens of thousands of revelers who packed the Stateline casino corridor to ring in 2008.

Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini estimated the size of the crowd at about 30,000 as of 11:30 p.m. But that number swelled to about 45,000 in the moments before midnight as crowds poured out of the casinos and into the street to greet the New Year.

That crowd size was about the same as last year, Pierini said. So were the arrests, which stood at about 20 as of midnight for the Nevada side of the state line, mostly because of "intoxication-related" incidents.

But scuffles and arguments seemed less prevalent than last year, the sheriff said.

And the lack of snow on the sides of the street prevented one unwelcome pastime: throwing snowballs or ice chunks at fellow revelers, or attempts to break marquees with the projectiles.

"All in all, it's a pretty orderly crowd," Pierini said.

The total number of arrests for either the Nevada or California side of the state line was not available Tuesday.

An El Dorado County Web site listed 19 bookings at the South Lake Tahoe jail from New Year's Eve into New Year's Day " most appearing to be alcohol-related. It was not known how many of those arrests were made during the Stateline festivities.

Parkas and winter boots were the preferred attire for celebrants; party dresses were nearly nonexistent in the chilly night air. A few wore more creative outfits: one man covered himself in what appeared to be aluminum foil, while another reveler wore a gorilla costume.

The traditional large street gathering is more than 20 years old.

The highway was closed to vehicle traffic at about 9 p.m. Monday, as has become routine for the event, with traffic rerouted onto Lake Parkway.


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