updated 1/10/2011 5:16:18 PM ET 2011-01-10T22:16:18

TEMECULA, Calif., Jan. 10, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More than 79,000 people descended upon Pechanga Resort & Casino in the two-day period of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day – 25%  of the total number of people who were expected in Las Vegas during the same period, as reported by the Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper. That is an increase of more than 5,000 people over last year's NYE at Pechanga.

"We are becoming well known as the place to spend New Year's in Southern California," said Pechanga Development Corporation President Michelle Markstrom. "No one else throws a party like Pechanga. We go to great lengths to offer something for everyone, in a world-class setting, to make for an extraordinary New Year's filled with unforgettable moments."

NYE at Pechanga was indeed a series of memorable events, headlined by recent CMA award-winner, Miranda Lambert. As one of the hottest NYE tickets in the nation, Miranda toasted guests casino-wide at the stroke of midnight, as it was broadcast on more than 50 giant LCD and plasma screens across the casino. See it here. Her guitar player sang "Auld Lang Syne" as she reportedly went offstage to kiss her fiance Blake Shelton. Shelton joined her onstage minutes later for an acoustic version of his hit, "Home."

Rap legend Too $hort and Dirt Nasty (AKA Simon Rex) performed in Southern California's largest nightclub, Silk. Guest star Andre Legacy joined them on stage for a memorable performance that began with Dirt taking the stage just before midnight and Too $hort joining the two after the big countdown.  The Pechanga Grand Ballroom saw a spectacularly decorated New York–themed Gala, complete with a Central Park entrance, street performers, vintage Big Apple cabs and even a scaled-down version of the Statue of Liberty. Twelve floors above the Ballroom, revelers were dancing the night away in the Eagle's Nest Lounge to a Flashback '80s party, while an Asian variety show was held in the Comedy Club with Rachel Tran. The Cabaret Lounge saw a free bash with two classic rock bands, entertaining the partygoers well into the morning hours.

But the real action had to be at the renowned Pechanga Round Bar, where several thousand revelers gathered for the big countdown. As Miranda was broadcast on the TVs and confetti streamed from the ceiling, hugs and kisses were in abundance and the crowd's roar was simply deafening. You can watch a video of it here

To see the festivities in more than 100 photos, check out our Facebook gallery here.

Pechanga's people counter system is a state-of-the-art Agent Vi technology that is widely used by shopping malls, mass transit, casinos, airports and many military installations, including such critical Washington D.C. sites as Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Bolling Air Force Base and the Washington Navy Yard. The results of Pechanga's people count over New Year's is certified by Agent Vi to a +/- 5% margin of error.

Robert Bledsoe Public Relations Manager Pechanga Resort & Casino 45000 Pechanga Pkwy Temecula, CA 92592 rbledsoe@pechanga.com  Office: 951.770.2776 Cell: 951.553.9588 www.pechanga.com

Located in Temecula, California, native-owned Pechanga Resort & Casino is the largest casino in the entire Western United States, with more casino floor space and slot machines than any Las Vegas casino. Located in the Wine Country of Temecula Valley, amenities include a Four Diamond hotel, Southern California's acclaimed new golf course Journey, an expansive spa, a comedy club, superstar entertainment, seven bars and nightclubs, eight award-winning restaurants and a 24-hour food court. Visit us at www.pechanga.com , 'Like' us at www.facebook.com/pechanga , follow us at www.twitter.com/pechangacasino , or check in at Foursquare.    

This information was brought to you by Cision http://www.cisionwire.com

The following pictures are available for download:

[Image] NYE Countdown at Pechanga Roundbar
[Image] NYE Countdown at Pechanga Roundbar 2
[Image] Miranda Lambert at Pechanga on NYE
[Image] Miranda Lambert at Pechanga on NYE 2
[Image] Too $hort performs at Pechanga nightclub Silk on NYE
[Image] NYE Partygoers enjoy Too $hort at Pechanga's nightclub Silk
[Image] Too $hort, Dirt Nasty, Andre Legacy
[Image] NYE at Pechanga Gala
[Image] NYE at Pechanga Eagle's Nest

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