City budget cuts won’t darken Light Up Night |

City budget cuts won’t darken Light Up Night

The economy is dragging and the city is gasping, but there’s one bright spot on the horizon: Light Up Night will blaze on Nov. 21 as scheduled.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, which organizes the annual holiday marketing event, has received many questions about whether city budget cuts will affect Light Up Night, said the group’s executive director, Mariann Geyer. The city contributes no money to the event, which is self-supporting, and the holiday shopping season will kick off as usual, she said.

Geyer said the endangered Lord & Taylor and Lazarus-Macy’s department stores will be open for holiday shopping. The May Department Store Co., Lord & Taylor’s parent, has announced plans to close its Downtown store by 2005 as part of a national retrenchment. Lazarus-Macy’s has the right to leave its subsidized Downtown location without penalty after Nov. 6,

“We’re counting on having four department stores Downtown for the shoppers this year,” she said. Saks Fifth Avenue and Kaufmann’s are the other two.

On Light Up Night, building lights illuminate the Downtown and the partnership works with signature sponsor Duquesne Light Co. and Downtown merchants to put on free entertainment throughout Downtown, including concerts and other entertainment in Market Square, a Santa Spectacular show, promotions by retailers and restaurants and a fireworks finale at Point State Park.

The Downtown Partnership will stick with last year’s holiday theme: Downtown Pittsburgh — A Holiday Tradition With a New Twist . The five-week Downtown marketing campaign features evening and Saturday activities, including a free shopping shuttle between stores, free horse-drawn carriage rides, strolling carolers and street performers.

This year, however, parking will not be entirely free; shoppers can park for free only for two hours at a time on weekends and after 4 p.m. on weekdays.

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