Monday, August 06, 2007



ABOVE PICS: The front of the building...People waiting to go inside....BELOW: Peopel near the red carpet....A band playing as people wait to enter the building....

A fire juggler entertains as people wait to get inside....Another shot of the waiting crowd....

INSDIE: People walking inside the gaming area of the new Queen

People playing video poker at the video bar, Island Bar....

A Frank Sinatra (vocal) impersonator at the staging area, Vegas Style at the Stage Bar.

He did it "his way"

People gettin their eat on at one of the snack shops in the gaming area.

Gamblers at one of the slots

One of the blackjack tables

One of the fast food restuarants that serve various types of ethnic foods.

A longer view of Market Street Buffet

People walking down the corridor

Elvis has entered the Casino Queen!

Some of the showgirls posing on one of the platforms

More patrons

An Ice sculpture in front of the VIP room

A Stilt walker/juggler entertaining the gamblers inside the facility.

A Marilyn Monore "impersonator." (Check the Event viewz below to see what I called her.LOL)

The line went all around the hotel and the Old Casino Queen.

People waited in line for hours to get in.

People ready to enter the new facility

A fire juggler outside with the waiters.

Confetti was everywherr !

Confetti blowers!

EVENT-VIEWZ. Last Thursday, I checked out the grand opening of the new Casino Queen facility in East St. Louis. On that day, I was able to get press credentials through Julie Hauser PR of the Hauser Group who informed me all I needed to do come up and she would hook me up.

I got therre about 7:15 p.m. It didnt take me long to gett herre cause I was just around the corner from the facility wherr I was at my job getting relieved by an officer. So, I changed clothes from my JOB garb to my street garb and drove around to wherr the Casino Queen was.

Of course I wasnt able to find a parking spot close by (I had to park near the Metrolink parking) . Therr were people waiting to go inside that was a good mile long. They had festivities going on all day on that day (They started with a local dignitary ribbon cutting, including newly elected Mayor of East St. Louis, Alvin Parks, then a VIP party and later on it was opening for the public)

When I parked and walked up near the front, I callD Julie to let her know I was therre. They had a band playing out front near the door area to entertain the waiters (and so much other stuff as the pictures above indicate) She told me to go up to one of the security guards to get directions to what I need to do to get press credentials.

So, when I walked up near the doorway to one of the security guards and told him who I was, he said I needed to walk nearthe backway to the security offices to get a media pass. I walked a good 200 steps to the back entrance to the security offices to get a media pass. I had to trade my drivers license in order to receive the pass.

After that, I walked back up and entered to the front without having to wait in that line. I stood in front a quick shop called Java to see if she was nearby (She said to meet her at Java). I couldnt who was who in the sitting area, so I called her and saw which white lady was goin to pick up their cell phone. So when she did I told her to look over to see me.

We geeted each other and she gave me a mini tour of the facility. Here is what she gave me a tour of:

The new Casino Queen is a 38,0000 square foot "boat in a moat"facility(there is 340 thousand gallons of water added under the gaming floor to "float" it)

There are Five food spots: Java--a coffee ice cream shop taht will be open to morning recruiters going to work; Gateway CAfe, a casual cafe; Prime Steakhouse--a fine dining resturant with a small bar; Market Street Buffet, a casual dining buffet with different ethnic cuisines from American, Mexiacan and Asian; Deli and Chips, a grab and go vnue inside the gaming area

A couple of beverage spots:The Stage Bar thats eats 50 that will feature enertainment and the Island Bars that feature video poker

There are more than 1,000 slot machines.

Meanwhile, I was given strict rules from Julie as far as taking people's pictures and all. They didnt want me to take people's pics of their faces. Taking pics of their backs were OK. The whole thing of taking pics of people gambling at the facility could be a liability if they wanted to file suit.

Through Julie, I also met Garett Cizek and Tom Monaghan, the marketing director and general maanger of the Casibno Queen respectively. I gave them my business card (and vice versa). I also saw Jim Koman, who is the president of the Casino Queen (That was a name from an infamous past. I remember him back in the days when I was a reporter for the Fairview Heights Suburban Journal and he was--and still is--a shrewd real estate developer and I covered the big hoopla of his company receiving eminent domain to take property of peoples' homes in the Fairview Heights area in order to build a shopping and resturant facility).

I ran into my father (I knew he was goign to be therre)who was therre gettin his gamblin on.

I also ate some free samples of the food in two places. One was in the VIP room in the gaming area. It was more foo-foo with lamp chops, sushi, and salmon. I tried a little bit a of each (I didnt care too much for the sushi). Then I walked out of the gaming area to the lobby area to go to the Prime Steakhouse and they had more palatable foods like chicken, jumbo boiled shrimp and fruit (It would have been nice if they had some beverage samples).

I had a funny moment happen while I was gettin jumbo shrimp. As I got the tongs to get some shrimp, this sista who hasd about three small plastic plates of food stacked in her elbow said to me, right before I put the tongs down, "Excuse me baby could you put about three of those shrimp on my plate." CLASSIC

They also had a Marilyn Monroe (more like Marilyn OH NO ) and Fat Elvis impersonators for people to take pics with, showgirls and a stilt walker (pics are above).

Before I left out I took a pic of the confetti blowers blowing confetti (again) in the air (They did it earlier but I missed it).

I stayed until about 9 ish and decided I had enough. So I walked back to the security offices to get my drivers license and return the press pass (the lines of people were still long!) I was tired from working and I just wanted to check it out (and so did err body livin on the East Side too).
Just as as I pulled out of the parking lot, I got a call from Julie who callD to remind me to see if I got my drivers license back from teh security office and didnt pull off without returning it. Awwww, that was nice.

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