The two weeks before New Year’s Eve in casinos have traditionally been tilted toward the Asian market. Nothing better than a huge population not preoccupied with Christmas and one that often brings entire families in to dine and provide major income at the arcades and special places like the Circus Circus Midway, which gets downright jammed. This is the time when some arcades produce more revenue than the adult machines upstairs.
Some of the entertainment options are directly aimed at this population as well, and the biggest this year is the “Happy Heroes” concert Saturday in the Reno Ballroom, brought in by the “triproperties” – the Silver Legacy, Eldorado, and Circus Circus.
“Happy Heroes” is a quartet of stars from Taiwan television and film, all of whom can provide a healthy dose of Cantopop as well. Dicky Cheung, for instance, has been featured in or starred in 28 films and has made 36 television appearances, the most notable of the latter being his Monkey King in the 1996 adaptation of “Journey to the West.”
Joe Cheng, a model and performer, starred in a big Pacific success, “It Started with a Kiss,” and released his first album in 2009 with “Sing a Song.” Joining those two are Eddie Ng and Norman Cheung. (8 p.m.; $68-$188; eldoradoreno.com)
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Beaches and tropical drinks may be on some people’s agendas for the holidays in actual beach locations, but many will have to settle for a little simulation. Listening to the actual Jimmy Buffet in the Caribbean while sipping a margarita may be impossible, but you can catch his music re-created by Garratt Wilkin and the Parrotheads at Cache Creek Saturday. You can also hear Wilkin’s own tribute to Buffett, “Gumbo Rock Pirate.” (8 p.m.; $20 or free with club card; cachecreek.com)
When Christopher Joy, the vice president of food and beverage at Harrah’s Tahoe and Harveys, arrived this past summer, he heard stories from his bakery staff, descriptions of what used to be stunning gingerbread displays that were once a tradition at the two properties. Not only does the staff remember them, but so do longtime patrons. They’ve been missed the last few years.
They are back. One thousand pounds of gingerbread dough, 1,200 gingerbread cutouts, 1,200 tiles and shingles of sugar, 180 pounds of icing, 300 candy canes, 40 pounds of other candy and 32 pounds of dark chocolate (that last bit of sweets mostly used for a train engine and coal tender in the Harveys display).
During this week, the only other entertainment are two continuing shows. “The Unbelievables” runs through New Year’s Eve at the Eldorado with its cast of excellent, and some truly stunning, athletes and specialty acts (Friday at 5:30 and 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 7 p.m., Sunday at 2 and 5:30 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday at 7 p.m.; $29.95-$59.95;eldoradoreno.com). The other, “Borealis: A Holiday Spectacle,” runs at the Grand Sierra through Dec. 28 (8 p.m.; $15-$25; grandsierraresort.com).