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In recognition of its 50-year legacy at the center of the Las Vegas Strip, on Friday, August 5th, Caesars Palace celebrated its golden anniversary with an opulent birthday pool party, featuring a five-tier cake, champagne toast and a 10 minute fireworks extravaganza hosted by award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay.

The anniversary festivities continued the following day with a once in a lifetime gala headlined by world-renowned entertainers Tony Bennett, Jennifer Lopez, Howie Mandel, Wayne Newton, Donny & Marie Osmond, Matt Goss and the Righteous Brothers. Special Icon Awards were also presented to honorees that have helped shape Caesars Palace‘s rich history, with Ramsay, Elton, Calvis Harris, Celine Dion, and Jerry Seinfeld among them.

“During the past five decades, Caesars Palace has set the standard for the Las Vegas experience,” said Mark Frissora, President and CEO of Caesars Entertainment. “Tonight not only do we thank our great entertainers and world-renowned chefs but we say a special thank you to our customers, employees and community partners for helping to shape our rich history and our bright future.”

As the establishment first opened its doors on Aug. 5, 1966, the celebratory weekend kicked off exactly a half-century later with an evening pool party for hotel guests at the picturesque Garden of The Gods Pool Oasis. Host Gordon Ramsay led the birthday champagne toast and cake cutting with nearly 3,000 guests. Poolside guests and crowds outside the resort on Las Vegas Boulevard admired the 10-minute anniversary-themed fireworks show above the re-imagined Julius Tower at Caesars Palace. Cocktail servers dressed in bubble costumes poured glasses of champagne for guests surrounded by special lighting and an art display with ping pong balls in the Neptune Pool. Live entertainment included a performance by a roller-skating duo from ABSINTHE and DJ set by OMNIA Nightclub resident Mark Etson. The poolside celebration concluded with the announcement of the 50th anniversary nationwide cocktail competition winner. J.R. Starkus of Las Vegas created the Lazy Stroll, made with Plymouth gin, Cointreau, chamomile-infused honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, egg white, garnished with dried chamomile flowers. This winning cocktail will be served in select bars at Caesars throughout the rest of the year.

On Saturday, Aug. 6, Caesars Palace continued to commemorate its rich history of world-class entertainment and iconic sporting events and stunts with a red carpet arrival and Grand Gala event for nearly 3,000 invited VIP guests. Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino headliner Jennifer Lopez made a surprise appearance during the opening of the gala. Tony Bennett, who was the second performer to ever appear at the Circus Maximus Showroom in 1966 and in 1969 was the first and only entertainer ever offered a lifetime contract to perform at the trailblazing resort, headlined the extravagant evening and received a Caesars Palace Icon Award.

Comedian and actor Howie Mandel hosted the evening’s festivities. He also brought out a giant birthday cake to celebrate Bennett’s 90th birthday at the party. During the opening musical number, Caesars Entertainment headliners Wayne Newton, Donny and Marie Osmond, and Matt Goss performed Viva Las Vegas on stage together. Later that night, the Righteous Brothers sang Time of Your Life and You Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.

Throughout the evening, Caesars Palace saluted individuals who have made significant contributions to its colorful history and shaped the enduring legacy of the world-renowned resort. International Boxing Hall of Famer Thomas “Hitman” Hearns presented an Icon Award to Rasheda Ali in honour of her father, Muhammad Ali. Other recipients of the Icon Award included: the Knievel family, Larry Ruvo and Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner, as well as the Colosseum at Caesars Palace headliners Sir Elton, Celine Dion, and Jerry Seinfeld through acceptance speech videos.

As part of the ongoing Summer of Caesars celebration, the resort is also continuing to offer a free, self-guided walking photo tour and exhibit highlighting the most memorable moments and people in the rich history of Caesars Palace available through the end of August.