Credit: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
By Eric Seiverling
The sun may have been shining and temperatures may have hit 60 degrees, but that didn’t deter Pittsburgh’s city officials and guests from getting into the holiday spirit on Thu., Nov. 2nd.
Gathered in the upper lobby of the U.S. Steel Tower sipping hot cocoa and mingling with Santa Claus, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership announced the schedule and list of activities and vendors for the 57th Annual Comcast Light Up Night, which begins on Fri., Nov. 17 with the first of seven tree lighting ceremonies at 11:15 a.m. at the Pittsburgh City-County Building.
The press conference was attended by corporate sponsors and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and Guy Costa, representing Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
Those not able to make the events on Nov. 17 need not worry, as holiday vendors and activities will continue in Downtown Pittsburgh through January of 2018.
This year’s event marks the second year in a row that Comcast will be the title sponsor.
“It is our privilege to work with the downtown partnership on Light Up Night,” Christine Whitaker, senior vice president of Comcast’s Keystone Region, told the crowd of media and city officials. “Every year it gets better and better.”
During light up night, Comcast will feature free interactive attractions and entertainment, including the XFINITY Experience on the Andy Warhol Bridge and Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, where revelers can experience virtual reality snowboarding, recharge their cell phones, and enjoy hot cocoa.
Twenty five Comcast volunteers will be scattered throughout the festivities handing out 15,000 Santa Claus hats to those in attendance.
Musical acts at the Comcast Main Stage at Ft. Duquesne Boulevard and Ninth Street will be Meeting of Important People, JD Eicher, and national recording artist Andy Grammer singing his hit songs “Fine By Me” and “Honey, I’m Good.”
Other musical acts during the evening include Youtube sensation Maggie Lindemann at the BNY Mellon New Music Stage at Ft. Duquesne Boulevard and Sixth Street; Pittsburgh rockers Joe Grushecky and Jeff Jimerson at the Total Sports Rockin’ Blues Stage at Stanwix Street and Penn Avenue; and the Django Festival All Stars and vocalists Etta Cox and Tania Grubb at the EQT Jazzmasters Stage at EQT Plaza on Liberty Avenue.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will offer free, 30-minute mini-concerts at Heinz Hall during the evening beginning at 7 p.m. Selections will include Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” and Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”
The 6th Annual Peoples Gas Holiday Market will turn Market Square into a European-inspired holiday village complete with a 35′ tall tree, 150,000 lights, and free photos with Santa Claus to support the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The market will feature 35 vendors of international and locally handcrafted gifts housed in Alpine-style chalets.
The market will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but will re-open on Black Friday and continue to Dec. 23.
Other attractions during Comcast Light Up Night include live reindeer, ice carving, ice skating, free carriage rides through Downtown Pittsburgh, free tours of the City-County Building and the Blast! VIP Party, where visitors can view the night’s Zambelli fireworks from the rooftop of the U.S. Steel Tower.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the events on Nov. 17, and the vendors and activities continuing throughout the holiday season are expected to generate an estimated $21 million in revenue to Pittsburgh’s economy.