ATLANTIC CITY may not be the first place you think of in terms of the holiday season. But from shopping bargains to musical revues to the "Running Of the Santas," it's looking a lot like Christmas in AC.
It's at least somewhat ironic that the casino that pretty much owns the season every year is the Havana-in-the-'50s themed Tropicana Atlantic City. But, as Tony Rodio, who, as chief executive officer and president of Tropicana Entertainment, oversees operations at the property explained, The Quarter, the Trop's just-turned-10-year-old retail, dining and entertainment complex, provides a perfect venue to celebrate the holidays in a big way. And in return, the casino has the potential to strengthen its bottom line during a time of year that even in the pre-local-competition days was historically the slowest on the calendar.
"This definitely gives us the opportunity to drive some additional business to our property during the holiday season," acknowledged Rodio.
As such, Tropicana offers a full slate of Yuletide attractions and events:
* Last month, the season kicked off with the lighting of the 35-foot tree in The Quarter, That area of the facility is also the site of a festive light show that runs daily on the hour, noon to midnight, through Dec. 26.
* Tomorrow the bars at Tropicana will participate in the annual "Running Of the Santas," a mobile party for the over-21 set featuring revelers in St. Nick drag.
* December 12, the Boogie Nights dance club is staging an Ugly Sweater contest.
* The Quarter has some two dozen outlets, ranging from specialty shops, like The Hat Emporium and A Time For Wine, which also sells cigars, to such upscale chains as crystal purveyor Swarovski and women's clothier White House/Black Market.
* Through Dec. 19, the Trop's theater is hosting "Holiday Extravaganza," a song-and-dance program featuring a high-kicking chorus line and a set list boasting both secular and non-secular seasonal selections.
For more on Tropicana's holiday offerings, go to tropicana.net.
Even in the town's darkest hours, the Tanger Outlets, the sprawling, midtown retail center, has been a raging success, as its multiple expansion projects attest.
The outdoor mall's roster of stores includes such popular brands as Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Kay Jewelers, Nike; Abercrombie & Fitch and Toys "R" Us.
Beth Tinnon, a casino-lounge fixture for many years, is teaming with Stockton College for a one-night-only presentation of the holiday musicale, "Boardwalk Christmas."
"Ebenezer: A Musical Christmas Carol" is a tuneful telling of Charles Dickens' beloved tale of spiritual redemption being staged in the intimate Screening Room, at Resorts Casino Hotel.
The Edwards Twins, who between them offer singing impersonations of dozens of celebrities, are back with a holiday-themed show.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's perennial Christmastime favorite filled with dancing sugar plum fairies, battling rodents and toys come to life is being staged by the Atlantic City Ballet.