Taking apt advantage of Pittsburgh’s first frosty morning of the season, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership announced the city’s first scheduled dose of holiday cheer earlier today: the 62nd annual Light Up Night.
For the first time, Pittsburgh’s three Sister Bridges will join the city’s trees in being adorned with lights on Saturday, Nov. 18. The Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol and Rachel Carson bridges are all being equipped with permanent LED light fixtures.
The lights will make their debut on Light Up Night with a display created by artist and lighting designer Rob Long of Clear Story. Long’s concept, titled “Observing Light,” brings the rhythm and dynamic movements of Pittsburgh’s rivers up to the bridges.
“[‘Observing Light’] will feature a series of video images captured along Pittsburgh’s three rivers,” Long said during the unveiling. “I explore the riverside with my camera and look for highlights, texture and motion. These watery reflections will be displayed on elements of the new state-of-the-art system that is being installed on these three Sister Bridges.”
In the future, the lights will be used for other special events like game days and holidays, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
While Light Up Night is officially set for Saturday, Nov. 18, from 3 to 10 p.m., festivities around the city — like Market Square’s Holiday Market — get an early start on Friday, Nov. 17.
Peoples Gas, which has sponsored the Holiday Market for the past 12 years, will give out a custom ornament to shoppers at the market on opening day, and will also host a “Merry Karaoke” open mic event that evening, with a $500 prize in support of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The nearby PPG Place skating rink also opens the same day.
Highmark’s Holiday Block Party at the intersection of Stanwix Street and Penn Avenue will see the addition of a light-up dance floor, a silent disco zone (remember your headphones or else you’ll look really silly) and an outdoor fire pit.
Santa’s home will return to the Heinz Hall Courtyard this year. Photos are free with a donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Speaking of “Home,” Phillip Phillips of “American Idol” fame will be headlining the Riverside Stage, with additional musical performances by Joe Grushecky, Clara Kent, Pickup Line and others.