People from near and far celebrate the season at Sewickley’s Light Up night |

People from near and far celebrate the season at Sewickley’s Light Up night

Tom Davidson

It’s a wonderful town.

That’s the consensus from the thousands of people who filled the streets of Sewickley on Nov. 30 for the annual Light Up night festivities that help kick off the Christmas season.

“I love it,” Alison Benge said.

She’s new to Sewickley and was enjoying her first Light Up night.

She used to live in Indianapolis and moved here last year, but missed Light Up night then, and made a point to attend this year’s event.

“It seems like there’s a festival every other week (here); it’s great,” Benge said of living in Sewickley.

Others, like Jon Bender, knew what to expect. Bender and his family have lived in Sewickley for 18 years and nights like Nov. 30 are one of the reasons they do so, he said.

“The cool thing is Sewickley’s become a destination of sorts,” Bender said, noting the number of people who make visiting Sewickley a holiday tradition.

“It’s a good place to raise a family,” Bender said.

Carol Zdziarski of Baden agreed. She lives in Baden, but worked at Sewickley hospital and has always enjoyed the town.

“It’s just so different than any other town. It’s friendly and you can walk the streets,” Zdziarski said.

It’s similar to Squirrel Hill, the Shins, Edward and Allie, said. It’s where they live, but they made the short drive north because their son Lucas was performing at Light Up night.

“It’s great. It has a real small-town feel, but it’s close to the city,” Allie Shin said.

Jim and Donna Egal of McMurray also made the trip to watch a family member perform, their granddaughter, Finley Egal of Moon.

They came to town early and enjoyed dinner at the Sewickley Hotel before walking the streets that were filled with people, vendors and festive music.

“It’s fantastic,” Jim Egal said.

Six-year-old Evelyn Primis was also among the performers. She’s from Clinton and was in town with her brother Oliver, 8, and their mother Mary.

“It’s beautiful,” Mary Primis said of Sewickley. This was their first visit to Light Up night.

“We like the decorations,” Oliver said. “And it smells like popcorn.”

The event is a cooperative effort from many organizations, businesses and borough officials and it’s both well-organized and well-executed, orthodontist Dr. Tom Forrest said.

He grew up in Sewickley and his father practiced here before him.

“Look around,” Forrest said as he handed out festive red balloons to children passing by on Beaver Street.

“It’s a good community event and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Forrest said.

To see more photos of Light Up night, visit

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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