Guest post by Shane.
After a year of anticipation we headed off to Las Vegas to attend Viva Las Vegas. Last year we learned about Viva about a week before the event. Prior commitments prevented us from making a last minute trip to Vegas, so we planned on attending this year instead.
After a short flight on Thursday, we landed in Las Vegas and headed to The Orleans Hotel. We were immediately greeted by the sight of a large number of guests in pinup and rockabilly styled clothes. Vintage inspired and true vintage in every direction that we looked.
Three lovely ladies shopping in the vendor area
Friday we enjoyed the fashions of a number of vintage inspired designers at the annual fashion show. Later we migrated out to the pool to watch the men’s swimwear competition. A wide variety of men’s swim fashions were modeled, but the finalists all had matching shirt and trunk sets. Friday evening greeted us with a sick baby and mommy, so it was decided that they would fly home early on Saturday.
Three finalists in the Men’s Swimwear Contest
Rachel looking fabulous by the pool
Evening wear for a dinner out
A car show on Saturday provided a well-needed break from being inside a building for hours on end. A huge number of vendor booth were available to satisfy any vintage fashion desire. Hundreds of well appointed cars greeted visitors with personalities as flashy and unique as each owner.
With the pool beckoning once again, I headed back to watch the couple’s swimwear competition. Three couples consisted of a man and a woman, but one couple was two women with the same bathing suit. Funny story for that one: one lady found the suit in a vintage store, the other found the identical suit at Goodwill for $5! With only four couples competing, the judges decided to offer a prize to the 4th place couple in addition to the top three. Upon completion of the contest, those of us in the audience were graced by a hula performance by CocoTiki.
Couple’s Swimsuit Competitors
Returning from the pool I noticed a familiar face near the elevators. It turned out that it was Bernie Dexter! I patiently waited for a few minutes to have an opportunity to chat with her, and let me tell you, she is a gem of a lady! Very kind and gracious and genuinely interested in sharing a conversation.
Shane with Bernie Dexter
At 2 AM Saturday night / Sunday morning, Levi and the Rockats took the stage in the ballroom. I enjoyed watching the band play. After snapping a number of pictures from the front edge of the stage, I ventured to the back of the dance floor, scoping out if anyone knew East Coast or Lindy Hop Swing Dancing. A few partners were found and I ended up dancing until 7 AM!
Levi Dexter singing
The hard-core crowd that danced until 7 AM!
A sleepy Sunday morning gave way to the big event of the day: Tiki Pool Party, with a women’s swimsuit competition. Fifteen competitors all wearing a wonderful variety of swimwear from yesteryear. The judges had a hard time deciding on who they wanted for 3rd place, so in the end a 4th place contestant was also named. Upon conclusion of the competition, I was in a pinup photographers paradise: a pool filled to the brim with beautiful women wearing vintage swimsuits of all designs! In all, over one thousand pictures to sort from my time in the pool area.
Women’s Swimsuit Competitors
Four Finalists (sadly this is the best picture captured)
Candi La Donna, Angie Cuen, Miss MozzyDee, Maritza Reyes Munguia, Cindy Valadez.
Crystal Dawn and Chantel Hilton
Bonnie Valentine and Chantel Hilton
The evening lead to catching the tail end of burlesque bingo, which I wasn’t planning on attending but ended up being quite a fun event. After, a trip to the ballroom was in order to conclude the evening with more dancing and spending time with new found friends.
Monday morning rolled around and it was time to say goodbye to Las Vegas for this trip and start planning for next year!
More pictures to come as the backlog of images from the weekend is sorted through. Watch Viva Las Vegas 18 gallery for more images in the next few days.