Light Up Night

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Light Up Night
Genre Winter holiday season
Dates late November
Location(s) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Founded November 21, 1960 [1]
Attendance over 200,000[1]

Light Up Night is a day-long (but more recently two-day-long) family festival in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania coinciding with the unofficial start of the Winter holiday shopping season. Many retailers in Downtown Pittsburgh remain open late, and street vendors and other concessionaires sell food and give away hot beverages, treats and promotional items. The city is decorated with Christmas lights, trees, and other holiday decorations. On Light Up Night, the skyscrapers and buildings in and around downtown keep their lights on throughout the night, lending to the name. Over 200,000 people attend the festivities.[1]

Light Up Night is also a time for free music, including many choirs, street performers, and even rock concerts, downtown and in Station Square. In addition, the city offers free carriage rides downtown.

In 2009, Light Up Night was held on Friday, November 20.[2] The event is usually held in late November, usually the Friday before Thanksgiving.

With the increasing popularity of the event the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has threatened to sue other communities and organizations that fail to pay a small licensing fee for trademark infringement.[3]


The Cathedral of Learning, at the University of Pittsburgh, illuminated for Light Up Night.

The lighting of the Christmas tree in the ice skating rink in PPG Place is an annual tradition. When the lights are turned on, the ice skating rink officially opens to the public for the season. At 9,600 square feet (890 m2), the surface is over 2,000 square feet (190 m2) larger than the famous rink in New York's Rockefeller Center.[4][5] Each year, the Wintergarden inside PPG Place features a model train, gingerbread houses, and a collection of life-sized Santa Claus figures in traditional dress representing countries around the world.[6]

Macy's department store, in the old Kaufmann's building, continues the tradition of its former tenant by revealing its Christmas display in the windows along Smithfield Street.[7] The windows in recent years have taken their theme from the story of Virginia O'Hanlon's editorial to the New York Sun, asking if there is a Santa Claus.

The lighting of the electric tree on the corner of the old Horne's department store is an old tradition which continues to this day.[8] A pyrotechnics show accompanies the lighting. Trees throughout the city are also lit with ceremony.

Market Square is filled with booths offering toys, giveaways, and food. Duquesne Light has a popular booth in Market Square which hands out free glow sticks to children and adults. In the plaza behind Gateway Center, vendors offer more freebies, and KDKA provides free hot chocolate and cookies.

Many performers and mascots frequent the streets downtown, posing for pictures with children, or giving away treats. In recent years, the Kings Family Restaurants Frownie Brownie mascot has made his rounds with samples.[9]

The night usually ends with fireworks over Point State Park,[10] though in 2009, the fireworks were launched from the Andy Warhol Bridge (7th Street Bridge) and barges on the Allegheny River.[11]