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Workers Assemble Globe Downtown For NYE Countdown

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

CRAWLEY Dave Crawley
Dave Crawley joined KDKA in April of 1988 where he reports on the...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This year marks the 20th anniversary of “First Night” in Pittsburgh.

And it’ll be the seventh time the night will end with a countdown, as a glowing globe rises into the night.

But getting that ball ready is no easy task. Long before it is hoisted, it has to be lifted up and basically put together. There are two halves, each weighing 600 pounds.

Project manager Mike McFadden says the windswept roof of the Highmark building makes for chilly working conditions.

“Each half of the globe is kept in its own storage container,” he explains, “so getting it out of the box in itself is an ordeal, because it’s been frozen in there.”

They’ll link both halves together so they can be hoisted by cable. McFadden says the only parts that aren’t custom made are the nuts and bolts.

“We have multiple sources of light,” he adds. “Power comes in here, runs through these converters, and divvies up the electricity to each separate light.”

Darcy Kucenic, director of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh, looks forward to the electric finale.

“This, what you see here,” she says, “is the culminating event at the end of the evening, that counts us down to midnight, and starts the fireworks show.”

The countdown will be carried live by KDKA-TV.

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