Fremont Street Experience
Las Vegas, Nevada
Fremont Street, the original downtown Las Vegas "Glitter Gulch," has been blocked off from traffic and turned into a five-block pedestrian mall (and, at dusk, an occasional and fierce wind tunnel). It's lined on either side by extravagant, neon-fronted casinos and strip clubs, and infested with sidewalk performers and lonely Christian missionaries.
In 2004 the whole thing was covered with a towering canopy of more than two million electric lights, which after dusk turns into the Biggest Big Screen on the Planet. At intervals the neon along all five blocks goes dark while short animated "movies" with booming sound effects and music play above.
One example we saw involved a race of green aliens whose intergalactic starships invade the Strip and are somehow overmatched by American fighter jets. The jets blow the alien mothership to bits and save Las Vegas.
Thousands of people underneath stop and stare, and the message is clear: You don't have to do anything, Mr. and Mrs. America, but you will be victorious.
The canopy of lights has since been upgraded to 10 million bulbs.