What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas…or does it?

They say “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But if you are a fan of Donny and Marie Osmond, you know otherwise. Fans of the brother and sister singing duo love to spread the news about their Osmond adventures, especially on one of the Osmond Facebook groups like Anything Osmond or The D&M Fan Page.

Images of Donny and Marie tower over Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip) at the Flamingo Hotel, where they have performed for 11 years.

I was lucky enough to make a trip to Las Vegas last month to see the Donny and Marie show for a bucket list trip to celebrate my 60th birthday. I have a bit of Osmond history and had hoped to attend the Meet and Greet after the show, but there were no tickets available. (For more background on the significance of the Osmonds to me and of this trip, read I’m Leaving it all up to you, Donny. This post is a follow up to that post.)

My friend Cheryl and me arriving in Las Vegas on October 4, 2019 to celebrate my birthday. Let the adventure begin…

While my friend Cheryl and I were in Vegas, Donny and Marie were inducted into the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. The induction ceremony was another chance for me (and probably my last chance) to meet them in person (and fulfill a childhood dream). Humor me as I share about my Donny adventure in Vegas (and for the fans who couldn’t be there).

A Bucket List Trip to Las Vegas

We arrived in Vegas a few hours before the Walk of Stars induction ceremony. We checked in early to our room at the Paris Hotel and had a wonderful outdoor lunch at Mon Ami Gabi with a wide open view of the Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace and down the Strip. It was a great way to start our weekend adventure.

The view from our table at Mon Ami Gabi Restaurant, Paris Hotel, Las Vegas.

The induction ceremony was a few blocks away at the Flamingo Hotel on the sidewalk near the main entrance to the casino on the Strip. After lunch we walked to the location of the ceremony that was scheduled to start at 3:00. I heard that fans wouldn’t be allowed to show up until 2:30 to prevent people from blocking the sidewalk.

Our view for the Walk of Stars ceremony.

When we walked up to the site at 1:45, there was already a crowd of fans 1 row deep. A stage with a backdrop printed with ‘Donny & Marie’ on it was set up blocking one of the entrance doors. A chest-high barricade was also set up to keep the crowd a short distance from the stage. Security guards were also visible at the site.

Cheryl and I scoped out a place to stand and wait on the Strip side of the barricades. A red piece of fabric and cushions (like kneeling pads) in a square shape surrounded and covered the pavement block where the Star was imbedded into the sidewalk.

Although it was early October, the temperature was in the mid-80s and the Vegas sun was still hot on our backs. Being fair skinned, I put sun screen on my back before we left the hotel. However, some people behind me told me that the back of my neck was getting red. Some nice fans offered to help me cover my neck. The sun intensified the wait, and oh my aching feet!

Pre-Ceremony Activities

To pass the time, I periodically checked some of the Osmond Facebook groups that I belong to. I hoped to meet other Osmond fans from the group. As luck would have it, I noticed a post 1 minute earlier from someone who posted a photo that had the same camera angle that we did. I asked if anyone was ‘Cindy’. The lady in front of me turned around with a surprised look on her face. “I’m Cindy,” she said. (She is a big fan and regularly posts on the Osmond Facebook groups.)

As the time passed, people would stop and ask us what was going on. We’d tell them about the induction ceremony for Donny and Marie. A few tourists stopped to wait, but more so as the time neared 3:00.

Also while waiting, we got to see the framed ‘Walk of Stars’ plaque that Donny and Marie would both receive (similar to how they received Gold Records years ago). The plaques were being displayed by someone on the Flamingo staff (and his wife and son). They walked the plaques around to show the waiting fans.

Half an hour before the ceremony started, the media showed up. They came in with their big cameras, video equipment and tripods. They were closer to the stage (and the Star). Unfortunately, they were now blocking our direct line of vision for the Star’s unveiling.

A Surprise Guest

Shortly after the media arrived, the fans were surprised by the arrival of Alan Osmond, one of Donny and Marie’s older brothers. Alan was the oldest member of the original Osmond Brothers group. He is 70 and has Multiple Sclerosis.

Alan Osmond greets the fans.

We later learned that he wasn’t aware of his sibling’s induction ceremony. Alan and his wife Susan were there to host a prince and princess of Ethiopia for Donny and Marie’s show that night. The fans were thrilled to see Alan in person. He graciously rode his motorized wheelchair along the barricades and shook our hands (including mine).

Of course, as we stood outside waiting in the heat, I took lots of photos and video on my phone. At one point, my camera was so hot, it started to overheat. I had to shut it down. Fortunately, I was double loaded for shooting pictures and also had my large SLR camera with me.

Fifteen minutes before the ceremony started, Donny and Marie’s music was piped through the outdoor PA system. The excitement was definitely building at this point. Some people were singing along, but maybe it was just me.

Introductory comments by Robert Alexander, VP of the Las Vegas Walk of Stars and Damian Costa, vice president of entertainment operations for Caesars Entertainment.

A few minutes before 3:00, the ceremony began with some remarks from Robert Alexander, VP of the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. (Wayne Newton was the first recipient of a star back in 2004.) That speaker was followed by Damian Costa, vice president of entertainment operations for Caesars Entertainment, representing the Flamingo.

Marie, center left, (in her stiletto heels) greets the fans.

Donny & Marie Take Center Stage

The fans cheered and screamed at the introduction of Donny and Marie. They entered from the right of where we were standing. They entered from E. Flamingo Road and walked through an aisle of barricaded fans. Marie surfaced into the center of the area first. They announced Donny’s name several times before he finally emerged from the crowd. He stopped to shake people’s hands, sign autographs, and take photos. (All the while I was hoping he would come our way.)

Donny (center) greets the fans.

When Donny and Marie took the stage, they thanked their fans and spoke about their residency at the Flamingo. Did you know that Donny and Marie have performed more shows in Vegas than Celine Dion and Elvis Presley combined? They included some of their good-natured ribbing in typical Donny and Marie fashion. Donny joked that since they already had the key to the City, he was going to run for Mayor of Las Vegas. Marie countered by saying she would run for President. Fans cheered even louder in response.

Donny and Marie at the Las Vegas Walk of Stars ceremony, October 4, 2019.

A Star is Born

That was followed by the unveiling of their new Star on the Vegas Walk of Stars. My cell phone was working again by this time but our view was partially obstructed by the media. Even with my big zoom lens, I couldn’t get a good photo of the unveiling. But I snapped away regardless.

From Marie Osmond’s social media post on Instagram.

The unveiling of the star was followed by lots of media attention. Donny and Marie posed with the dignitaries, and others including their brother Alan. Cheryl and I (along with the fans) patiently stood waiting and hoping for our chance to meet Donny and Marie. I didn’t know what to expect next. I hadn’t really thought any of this through in advance. I only knew that I had traveled from Washington State hoping to meet him.

Donny, Marie, Alan and Susan Osmond, and a prince and princess of Ethiopia.

My Chance to Meet Donny

I wanted to get that long lost photo with Donny in person. So when it seemed like Donny was leaving (on the opposite side of the barricaded area), I tried to get his attention by yelling his name. I think that other fans followed suit, because he turned around and headed in our direction. Now I was nervous. What next? What would I say? Would I get a moment of his time to talk? Would he remember that day on the set of Northwest Afternoon?

He walked along the barricade heading towards me while shaking people’s hands. My heart started racing. The main thing that ran through my mind was getting a photo with Donny. But how? Cheryl and I were separated by a few people. The memory from the last time I met Donny 20 years ago was fresh in my mind. I was reliving it all over again (when no one volunteered to take our photo together). I was juggling cameras and trying to take photos—all the while trying to keep my wits about me. And here he came…

My moment was gone in an instant. Donny wasn’t stopping for anyone. He quickly shook his fans’ hands and went to the next person. He DID shake my hand and…more than that, I don’t know what got into me…I kissed Donny’s hand. If you are an Osmond fan, you’ll understand why and what happened inside of me. (I’ve read similar reactions and experiences from others in the Osmond Facebook groups). As crazy as it may seem, I felt like a teenager again—swept away off my feet–like A Teenager in Love.

It all happened so quickly, but it wasn’t over yet. Marie came over to our area as well. She was more deliberate with her fans, shaking hands and stopping for photos. I wasn’t able to get a photo with her, but I did shake her hand. Of course, I took photos as best as I could along the way too.

Marie stops for a photo with a fan.

I was giddy with delight and in somewhat of a state of shock for the next few hours. Back at our hotel room, we unwound from the afternoon’s events over a drink and watched the story on the local TV news station.

The Donny and Marie afterglow…

Life is Just What You Make It

While our tickets to the show weren’t until the next night, this event was really the highlight of my Donny weekend. (And it wasn’t even announced until after we had our tickets to Vegas that weekend). I didn’t get any other chances to personally meet him. So maybe I’ll never get that elusive photo with Donny Osmond. If I ever get another chance, and if I want it bad enough, I know that you have to not be shy in ASKING and trying to get his attention.

I can’t imagine what life would be like in the stoplight like that. It’s all that Donny and Marie have ever known though. I’ve heard that Donny thrives on it. So maybe someday, after the Donny and Marie show comes to an end (in a few days) and he goes on his world tour, I’ll get another chance. For now, I’m content with the memories, and my A Million to One shot at meeting Donny Osmond in Las Vegas.

We were here! (What happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas!)

Thank you Donny and Marie for such great musical and whimsical memories throughout my life and your millions of devoted worldwide fans.

Donny Osmond Facebook post after the Walk of Stars ceremony.

  • WELCOME to my site!

    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

    I am thankful to God for Making Me Bold in the process. Now I use my writing and speaking voice to help others on their journey to turn healing into hope.

  • Returning to Spain

    Arrival on Spanish SoilApril 29th, 2018
    Vamos a España!
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 371 other followers

  • Recent Posts

  • Ardis A Nelson ~ Writer ~ Speaker

  • Most Popular Topics

  • Journeys to Mother Love

  • What I Write About

  • Songs Composed by Pedro Gonzalez Arbona

  • Copyright Notice

    © Ardis A. Nelson and MakingMeBold, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ardis A. Nelson and MakingMeBold with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

%d bloggers like this: