Pittsburgh’s 53rd Light Up Night continues grand traditions
The 53rd-annual Light Up Night on Nov. 22 will offer an additional performance stage in Mellon Square, another new show in Market Square and a three-block area of Smithfield Street where you can enjoy nostalgic dancing in the street. And the Peoples Gas Holiday Market, returning for its sophomore year Nov. 23 to Dec. 23, will be twice the size of last year’s European-style Christmas market.
Mellon Square will host the new Northwest Savings Bank Stage, where Pittsburgh classic-rock bands The Elliotts and Totally 80s will perform on Light Up Night, overlooking Smithfield Street.
Nearby, at the Macy’s Stage on Smithfield Street, Gloria Gaynor will perform to coordinate with the unveiling of the famous Macy’s windows. And on Smithfield Street, visitors can “Dance Through the Decades” as they enjoy live music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, along with laser effects and bubble machines.
Over in Market Square on Light Up Night, visitors can watch a short show that begins every half-hour and coordinates with the BNY Mellon Season of Lights show. Throughout the evening, visitors can hear live Christmas music from Jeff Jimerson and see the display of some 150,000 lights and a 30-foot-high tree, which will be lit by Santa at 5:45 p.m..
The continuous play in Market Square and the Smithfield Street dancing will help spread out crowds during Light Up Night by giving people more places to go, and more times to enjoy the entertainment instead of everyone crowding into the same place at once, says Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, which puts on the event.
There also will be bands performing in EQT Plaza and on the Clemente Bridge, and activities at Macy’s, One Oxford Centre, PPG Place and Fifth Avenue Place.
Light Up Night typically draws 800,000 people to Downtown Pittsburgh for the weekend, he says, and the crowd control will “make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone.”
“We’re in our 53rd year, so you have a lot of folks who came Downtown 20, 30, 40 years ago with parents and grandparents,” Waldrup says. “There’s a bit of nostalgia attached to it.
“Downtown is so beautiful during the holidays,” he says. “Folks just … want to come in and kick off the holidays with this heartfelt community celebration.”
Light Up Night includes several festivities and ceremonies and lightings, and climaxes just after 9:30 p.m. with a fireworks show from Zambelli Fireworks.
But some activities continue Nov. 23. The Peoples Gas Holiday Market will open at 10 a.m., featuring all of last year’s vendors in European chalets, plus several new ones. Kathe Wohlfahrt, a German company that creates traditional Christmas ornaments, will be in an extra-large chalet that visitors can walk through.
“Last year, (the market) was a huge success — and this year, it’s going to be even more,” Waldrup says. “We really want to use (the market) as an anchor to encourage folks to shop Downtown.”
The PPG Ice Rink will feature the popular Mascot Skate at 1 p.m. Nov. 23 and the free Fifth Avenue Holly Trolley will debut for the season.
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at [email protected] or 412-320-7824.