Fremont St. in downtown Las Vegas used to be the hot spot for all ages. It’s filled with light shows and street performers to dazzle kids and endless bars and casinos to entertain adults. One of the most popular events to reach Fremont St. is First Friday.
On the first Friday of every month, artists and musicians gather in the art district showing off their favorite pieces and celebrating with live music. Age has never been a question along these artsy celebrations, but the City of Las Vegas feels underage shouldn’t reach the bright lights of Fremont St.
It first began with simple restrictions of purchasing alcohol from stores along the street. City Council debated whether to impose closed paper and plastic bags with alcoholic purchases inside. This means, if someone buys a six pack, they must have the bag tied up with a receipt stapled to the side. Obviously, store owners fought against this limitation.
The city began to focus more on the youth flooding to the streets. In an attempt to protect underage drinking and havoc, Fremont St. now has a permanent 9pm- 5am curfew. Violators consequences is at the discretion of the Metro police including removal from premises, detention, or (most embarrassing) personal deliverance to their parents.
As if an 18+ crowd wasn’t already outraged enough, including youth staying at the surrounding hotels, weekends are off limits to underage visitors and requires patrons to obtain a wristband from their hotel. Without a wristband, guests are turned away and virtually trapped in their hotel. Unfortunately, the hotels are then crowded with couped up children dying to get into mischief.
Aside from the negative response of out of town families and Las Vegas youth, violence and havoc has become slightly more controllable. Like cattle, Fremont St. visitors are confined to gated areas with designated entrances and exits. Metro and Fremont Police patrol every break in the gate. Casino security monitor doors forcibly controlling who leaves the hotel.
Fremont St. may be filled with pretty lights and exciting people, but it’s no place for kids. Councilman Ricki Barlow said it best, “What kind of downtown do we want?” Downtown is place for adults. “I don’t believe we can serve both the youth and adults.”