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Snow Time (and More!) at The Fashion Show Mall

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Okay, I'm a bit of a holiday Scrooge. When I can, I do my mandatory seasonal shopping online rather than face the frenetic crowds, saccharine yuletide music and garish red and green decorations. However, there were certain gifts that had to be purchased in person. So dismissing the urge to wear my Bah-Humbug sweatshirt, I headed for the Fashion Mall on The Strip.

Focusing on my objectives (including getting the heck out of there) I got the purchasing tasks done in record time. Heading for the garage escalator, I rounded a corner and what to my wondering eyes did appear but the main Christmas tree area in all its splendor.

Suspended from the ceiling, 25-foot-tall Holiday Glamour Girls are half-ornament and half-women. Dressed in velvets, brocades, jewels, pearls, sequins and feathers, the hardly traditional decor brings Erte (on a manic day) to mind. There are also two 12-foot crystal snow maidens and a 36-foot tree with a five-foot diamond-like snowburst tree-topper. Lots of giant glass sugarplum fairies, more crystal and jewels and 12-foot wreaths of diamonds finish off the decor. Impressive, even to Scrooge.

And then came the lights and music. I slowed to a standstill and watched. A fashion show. Okay. I took the bait. I wanted to see what was on display.

For the second year, the Great Hall is transformed into a state-of-the-art fashion theater. A fashion show, sponsored by Southern Nevada Cadillac Dealers, is presented on an 80-foot retractable runway where models strut their stuff, as well as the latest clothing and accessories of the season. All in about 20-30 minutes, the show moves fast enough not to bore -- if one can be bored by high-class male and female models in great duds who actually looked like they were having fun.

Before I could start moving toward the escalator again, a huge screen lowered over the runway and stage box. Another show began. Through December 24th the Fashion Show Mall makes holiday shopping more entertaining than ever. The production called "Discover the Magic" is, not surprisingly, sponsored by Discover Card.

The show features cameo appearances by stars from The Strip like Clint Holmes, Rita Rudner, Lance Burton, and the casts of Mamma Mia! and Jubilee! It all appeals to young children as well as adults. Dancers are lively and colorful, the fashions are great and this year, creating a broader who's who of Las Vegas, video segments add the sexy Sirens of TI and cast members from Mystere and We Will Rock You.

The tradition started last year when Wyatt Foley, general manager of Triumph Entertainment, was hired to bring to the mall a featured event to rival the Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall who bring in the holiday season in New York City. The decorations noted earlier were created by Stephen Stefanou who, through Design Solutions, who also waved his magic makeover wand over Rockefeller Center, Trump Tower, Embarcadero Center, Coca-Cola world headquarters and The Bellagio.

The featured Christmas show starts out with cast commenting on how it never snows in Las Vegas for the holidays. Video has local weather forecasters talking about a Christmas with clear skies, comparatively warm temperatures and sunshine. Of course because it's Las Vegas where things are everything is done dramatically, the weathermen then asks Santa Claus to bring some snow from the North Pole. When Santa arrives, he's in a 1960 Cadillac. And Santa delivers.

Snow actually falls during the finale. Real snow. Okay, I was definitely impressed with the original gimmick. So were the rest of the onlookers taking respite from shopping. It was an expensive touch, according to Foley, but one that's brought huge smiles to onlookers. Like the fashion show, the Santa segment is bright, fast and flashy; worth seeing, even if you only go to the mall for lunch. Let it snow!

The "Discover the Magic" show is performed in the Fashion Show Mall's great hall at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sundays (with last show at 6:00 p.m.) until Christmas Eve. The fashion show featuring clothing and accessories from select Fashion Show Mall retailers is presented Thursday through Sunday at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 p.m.

Mall holiday hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays through December 19. Christmas week and the week after, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For information on the Fashion Show Mall's tourism programs, visit website: www.thefashionshow.com and click on "travel and tourism."

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