NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- As the Nashville International Airport celebrates its 75th birthday, it's also celebrating the city's best known product: music.
While McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas has its slot machines, Nashville International salutes guitars, honky-tonks and singers.
"As the first and last impression of Nashville, we want our customers to taste, feel and see Music City when they are in the terminal," says Emily Richard, the airport spokeswoman.
The 4.4 million passengers who board planes annually at the airport get a dose of Nashville culture before they head to other points.
Near a down escalator heading to baggage claim, a sign for Nashville's downtown honky-tonk area proclaims: "LIVE MUSIC all day & night. NEVER a cover charge."
The honky-tonks, in fact, even get a plug because of escalator repairs at the airport. A cardboard cutout of a smiling fellow in a brown cowboy hat and boots includes this assertion: "This (area) is closed, but the honky-tonks are open."
Tootsie's, Nashville's most famous nightspot, has a satellite site in the airport. On a recent Friday afternoon, four of the six seats at the bar were taken. Photos of Hank Williams Sr. and Jr. and Patsy Cline hung from above.
Even the written word gets promoted, but of course there's a music connection. A sign in the baggage claim area advertised Brad Paisley's book "Diary of a Player."
Pat Finnegan of Colorado Springs, Colo., visiting Nashville with his family to check out Trevecca Nazarene College, said the airport has a strong personality.
"You know you're in Nashville when you get off the plane," he said while waiting at the car rental area.
The Nashville airport has an average of 380 daily arriving and departing flights traveling to 70 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Jamaica. The terminal has more than 50 shops and restaurants. Two of the eateries feature barbecue, one of Nashville's signature treats.
The terminal blares recorded greetings from country music celebrities like Lady Antebellum, George Strait, Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker and Vince Gill:
"Hi, I'm Vince Gill welcoming you to Music City and Nashville International Airport where live musical performances are held year-round for your listening enjoyment."
Singers entertain on a small stage in a waiting area with three microphones and a piano.
Brad Hawkins, a spokesman for Southwest Airlines, said the terminal allows travelers "to experience what Nashville is all about: Great music and amazing people."
Flight attendants have been known to don cowboy hats in honor of Nashville's country music industry, before landing at the airport.
Nestled between Percy Priest Lake to the east and downtown Nashville to the west, it's 15 minutes or so from downtown, depending on traffic. The airport was an American Airlines hub for 10 years until 1996 when the airline downsized and dropped it.
A series of special events is scheduled in June to mark the birthday, including a cake cutting, art display and contest to win a trip to Nashville.
Edward Martelle, a spokesman for American Airlines, said the airport "is a crucial economic engine for Middle Tennessee" and "continues to be a vital part of our route system."
Just outside the airport, roadside banners salute it for "75 years of propelling Nashville forward."
The movies "Two Weeks" and "The Prisoner" used the airport for scenes in 2005. Taylor Swift shot her video "Ours" at the airport last November. Recent TV shows shot at the airport include "Coming Home," ''Meet the Wilsons" and "World's Strictest Parents."
"Nashville is known for its vibrant, diverse arts and cultural communities, so Nashville International is a popular location for many film and music videos year-round," Richard said.