Before the stress of the holiday commercials, jingles, sales, and long lines at the mall, make time for some cherished traditions and some new surprises at the 52nd Annual Light Up Night® and First Holiday Saturday
The Burgh's official kick-off to the holiday season, and one of the largest celebrations of its kind in the country, the family-friendly festivities feature free indoor and outdoor programming presented by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
, including live music and entertainment, holiday rituals and hands-on arts activities throughout the Golden Triangle on Nov. 16th and 17th.
Traditions new & old
Kicking off on Friday at 5 p.m., music and merrymaking will converge along the streets, in the shops and even on a bridge, as the entire Golden Triangle is set aglow.
For those craving some good old fashioned holiday traditions, don't miss the official tree lighting ceremony stops at the Highmark Unity Tree; City-County Building; U.S. Steel Tower; Allegheny County Court House; One Oxford Centre; and PPG Plaza.
Look on with wonder as Macy’s unveils its imaginative holidays window displays, and then warm up inside with family activities from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The dedication of the Pittsburgh Crèche will take place at noon in the plaza outside of the U.S. Steel Tower, where it will remain on view through Jan. 6th.
Holiday stress have you frazzled? Ready to star in an idyllic Currier and Ives tableaux? Wind down with a magical and memorable carriage ride through illuminated Downtown, sip some spiced chai at a local coffee shop and unwind to the mellow velvety undertones of local jazz legends.
Sounds of the season
Ready to warm up those fingers and toes with some movin' and shakin'? This year's installment of Light Up Night® features an expanded array of musical programming, with local rock legends and a brand new Jazzmasters Stage.
Performances start at 5 p.m., with live music on three holiday stages: the Northwest Savings Bank Stage in Market Square; the EQT Jazzmasters Stage in EQT Plaza; and the Trib Total Media Bridge Party on the Clemente Bridge.
"All of our performers are distinctly Pittsburgh--they are iconic prominent Pittsburgh performers," says Ida Derrico, with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. "We are showcasing local talent and our rich jazz history."
Rocking crowds in Market Square will be local legend Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, along with Dancing Queen.
New this year is the EQT Jazzmasters Stage, which will host iconic Pittsburgh musical figures, such as the Al Dowe and Etta Cox Trio, the Kenny Blake Quartet and the Roger Humphries Quintet.
Don't miss the chance to party on the Clemente Bridge, where revelers will be treated to great views and lively performances by The Stickers; The Billy Price Band; and No Bad JuJu.
Lights, trees, action!
Whether it's a time honored family tradition in your house, or you're a recent transplant to the city looking to take in the local sights, there's no time like Light Up Night® to explore the vibrancy of Downtown Pittsburgh. Downtown-goers will have the chance to visit eight lighting ceremonies throughout the Golden Triangle, with lights on trees, decorations and in the sky.
While you're waiting on the arrival of a certain jolly big guy, don't miss the new stage show Celebrate Santa!, during
the signature Lighting of Market Square Season of Lights event. Join Santa and his merry band of magic makers as they add sparkle to Market Square in this musically-choreographed display that boasts 150,000 LEDs and a 33-foot tall one-ton sphere tree designed by the international company responsible for lighting the Disney Castle and Eiffel Tower.
It's not a party in Pittsburgh without fireworks, and Light Up Night® has your hot ticket. The event's grand finale features a theatrical production by Zambelli fireworks, complete with pyrotechnics, special effects and a white cascading Niagara Falls--all launched from the Warhol Bridge at 9:38 p.m. and set against the backdrop of the city's dramatic riverfront skyline.
Ready for part two?
The two-day holiday showcase continues on November 17th, with the First Holiday Saturday of the season.
Join the more than 300,000 merrymakers who are expected to line the streets for spirited performances by regional high school marching bands, along with elegant horse-drawn carriages, and local Pittsburgh talents. The Bottom Dollar Food Sounds of the Season Parade steps off at 5 p.m.
Join the Mascot Skate over at the Rink at PPG Place, participate in family fun activities, peruse local shops and eateries, and take a ride on the free Holly Trolley. Don't miss the chance to get a glimpse of the construction of the Peoples Gas Holiday Market™
, which will host a grand opening on Saturday, November 24th.
Inspired by the original Christkindlemarkt created in 1545 in Nuremberg, Germany, and the Christkindlmarket in Chicago, IL, the one-of-a-kind holiday shopping experience blends German traditions, international flair and local charm, and will feature European-style wooden chalets throughout an illuminated Market Square.
Spend Saturday night in Market Square, where the Northwest Savings Bank Stage will feature performances from noon to 7:30 p.m. by NoMad; Vanessa Campagna; The Granati Brothers; Totally 80's; and Jeff Jimerson and Airborne.
Revamped with a new programmatic focus in 2009, the weekend long celebration results in a tremendous boost for the city in terms of economic impact and tourism. A showcase of Downtown's retail, restaurant and cultural attractions and amenities, Light Up Night® is also designed to highlight recent growth and development to visitors from throughout the region.
In 2011 alone, the event drew more than 800,000 attendees. An economic impact study completed in 2010 determined that the events generated $21 million in economic impact, with revelers coming into Downtown from all over the city and region, as well as from the tri-state area and from around the country.
"Light Up Night® specifically programmed to keep people moving continuously around the Golden Triangle Downtown,
to see all the unique places, amenities, restaurants, and attractions, and come back again when it's not light up night. The event drives more people into Downtown, and keeps them in the area."" adds Derrico, who says the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership will conduct a new economic impact study this year. "This is a significant tourist attraction and the hotels are booked to capacity this week. We see some families who fly in from ascots the country for the events."
Download a map of Light Up Night® events, including the parade route
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