TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Several celebrities visited the City of Tampa on Thursday to help the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino celebrate its $700 million renovations.
Rita Gilligan, the first-ever Hard Rock employee, was in attendance and was the first to walk the red carpet. Gilligan has helped the brand open over 160 locations across the globe.
“Today I’m here in gorgeous Tampa, the weather is shining and the place is electric and it’s amazing,” she told 8 On Your Side’s Daisy Ruth.
Country superstar Keith Urban will be playing at the Hard Rock Friday at 9 p.m. He and wife Nicole Kidman also walked the red carpet Thursday. Though they didn’t stop to speak with media members, they were gracious and thanked us for welcoming them to Tampa.
Tampa’s own Titus O’Neil took the time to talk to 8 On Your Side about how this location differed from other places he’s traveled as a WWE Superstar.
“All lot of times people are bragging. My friends that live in Vegas brag all the time about their Hard Rock. And people in Miami, they brag about their Hard Rock. I truly believe that Tampa is the greatest city in the world,” he explained. “We’ve got some of the great people, we’ve got some of the greatest food and now we have definitely one of the greatest casinos in the world.”
Former model and actress Christie Brinkley also spoke with media along the red carpet. She talked about why she decided to visit Tampa for the festivities.
“I thought it sounded like such an amazing day. I mean, the second I walked in the door and I saw that underwater aquarium slot machine, I was in a fun place,” she said.
Brinkley said she was excited to see the Wallendas, though she did admit she was a “nervous wreck” about the stunt.
Before the Flying Wallendas took center stage, a ceremonial guitar smash was held, counted down by Kidman. Brinkley participated.
The Flying Wallendas’ stunt was an untethered wire walk between two of the Hard Rock’s buildings. Nik Wallenda and his mother Delilah took to the high wire for a stellar performance.
The pair spoke to us after the event.
“As you guys could tell, I was at home, comfortable doing what I love,” Wallenda said of the walk. “And to do it with my mom, who’s done it longer than I’ve been alive. She did it with me while she was six months pregnant, I was in her belly, so we’ve been doing this a long time together.”
Delilah, who underwent back surgery and a hip replacement in recent years, said it would be her last walk but did admit that she would love to do another walk at 70 years old.
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s celebrations continue throughout the weekend.
In addition to Keith Urban’s performance Friday night, celebrity DJ Brody Jenner will host a pool party on Sunday at noon to close out the weekend.
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