Viva kicks off officially on Thursday!  You get your coveted wristband and swag bag as well as your Viva program.  The program is your Bible for the weekend.  It tells you everything that is going on and where it is happening.  You can also download the Viva app for your phone.

I’m not here to tell you what you should do but I’ll do a bullet point list of what we did and if I’d do it again.

*Pool Parties – there are pool parties every day.  Each day there is a vintage swimsuit competition – men’s, women’s and couples.  There is also a surf band playing every day usually around 3 pm for a few hours.  I’m not a swimming type person so I could take or leave the pool.  And honestly it is PACKED – unless you get there early finding a place to sit is near impossible.  The lines at the bar are super long so bring in your own drink (as long as it isn’t glass you can walk in with them).  Get there early – while we never had an issue getting in we did notice that on our way out the lines were LONNNG to get in.  There can only be so many people at the pool so they literally can only let more people in as people leave.   Don’t forget your sunscreen or parasol, your camera (or phone) and a good book.  There are cabanas at the pool.  I think they are around $100 to rent for the day.  However, they put names on a list and draw names to give people the opportunity reserve one.  Fingers crossed for us this year.

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*Charles Phoenix – OMG I love this man.  Charles does a slide show on Friday and Sunday – for me personally this is a must.  I missed the Sunday show because we left Viva on Sunday last year – this year we’re staying until Monday night (I learned my lesson – I also missed Nikki Hill on Sunday night!).  Charles is a genius.  He knows everything about vintage cars, Americana and vintage everything.  If you want to get a taste of him check out his website!  His test kitchen videos are especially fun.

*The Vendors – Viva veterans compare the opening of the vendor room to the running of the bulls.   The rooms open Thursday night.  I don’t recall if we went to the rooms on Thursday or Friday (Viva does become a blur at a point).  The first time we went it was packed – you could barely shop for anything because you couldn’t GET to anything.  The second time we went it was a little less insane (which leads me to believe I went on Thurs night haha).   I personally didn’t buy anything because 1. I couldn’t get to it and 2. I didn’t feel like fighting to get to it and 3. It’s pretty expensive (at least the pieces I could see) – these vintage dealers know what they have and they know the people there will pay for it.  So while it’s fun to look around if you can deal with the crowds, I’d recommend hitting up the antique malls nearby.

*The Car Show – the Viva car show is on Saturday in a parking lot at the Orleans.  There are close to 1000 cars, motorcycles and even some trailers (super cute).   They also have a large outdoor stage for music.  Last year the headliner was the legend himself Little Richard.  We were out at the car show early (I think it opens around 10 am) which was nice because it wasn’t crowded yet but at the same time by the time Little Richard came on at 9 pm we were exhausted and in our room napping!  I could hear him singing from our room though.  This year’s headliner is Imelda May.  I think my plan this year is to not go out as early (depending on the temps – it does get pretty warm walking on blacktop with the sun at it’s highest).  But I don’t know what I’ll be staying to see the acts on stage either – I’d rather be napping to get ready for Saturday night which is easily the biggest night at Viva.  All the best vintage is on display.

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*The Fashion Show – we went to the Fashion Show on Friday I think.  I wouldn’t go again.  I was thinking it would be more of a vintage fashion show but it wasn’t.  And I wasn’t overly impressed with the fashion that was on display.  So I’ll be skipping it this year.

*Viva Las Vegas Bowling – if you want to see some fabulous vintage bowling shirts make sure you check out the Viva bowling tournament.  We popped in to watch for a bit.  Check out the Viva program for times.

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Whew! There is so much more happening at Viva that I didn’t even get too – Tattooing, Tattoo competitions, Pinup competitions, hair/make up classes, and Deke’s Geek Guitar Show (that’s on my to do list this year).  For more info and a schedule (subject to change) of events for 2014 head to http://www.vivalasvegas.net.

*On another note – there is a “Viva” sickness that many people get afterwards.  I think the reason people get the crud is they get run down – no sleep+drinking+bad food+smoke+airplane rides = crash and burn.  I recommend getting as much sleep as you can.  Drink lots of water.  Watch the booze consumption.  Eat as well as you can.  Avoid the casino (where the smoke is) and get outside for fresh air.  I have a cocktail of vitamins I take all winter (and I bring them to Viva with me) – zinc, garlic pills, and Vitamin C.  I really think it does help you avoid the plague.

And if you’re a first timer again my best advice is to go with the flow, enjoy the people watching, and take notes for year 2.  Don’t overbook yourselves.  Trust me there is no way you’ll be able to get to everything! Viva changed our lives.  I started wearing vintage inspired clothes to work after Viva (before I didn’t feel confident enough), Lucas started wearing more vintage, we became even bigger fans of rockabilly music (if you want to hear rockabilly music look up Live365 on your phone – download it and tune into Motorbilly Radio).  I felt so at home at Viva Las Vegas.  Everyone was very nice.  I had heard some horror stories of catty girls or vintage snobs snubbing us newbies but I didn’t experience that and I’m thankful I didn’t.  I’m sure it does happen but luckily it seems to be pretty isolated.  These are my “people” and I can’t wait to see them!

 *Special thanks to Julie for taking so many great Viva pictures!  Her work can be found at http://www.jabnetphotography.com
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