By Andy Sheehan

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STRIP DISTRICT (KDKA) — Some people were waiting hours in Strip District on Friday to get what they needed for Christmas, but despite the chaos, there was still a festive atmosphere.

“Anybody need a ticket? Ticket for fish,” a Wholey’s employee shouted to the crowd.

If Christmas is a-comin’ — you know everyone’s a-comin’ to the Strip. What better place to be immersed in the joyful chaos of the season? Crowds descended Friday on Wholey’s fish counters like never before.

“I’ve been here 36 years, and today is the busiest I’ve ever seen it,” fish monger Mike Hartman said.

Some came to prepare for the feast of the seven fishes — even if they had trouble remembering them all.

Others came just to soak up the bustling holiday vibe.

“Everybody’s in a good mood,” Denny Hudock, of Uniontown, said. “You bump somebody and everything’s good. It’s fun. It is fun.”

If it can be eaten, you can find it somewhere along Penn Avenue — especially if you’re looking for that guilt-free holiday treat. In fact, Pittsburgh Popcorn had a line out the door.

“Oh, it’s hectic today. It’s lovely, though,” one employee said.

Folks looking for that bin of chunky chocolate caramel waited for more than half an hour.

“I’m a glutton for punishment, I suppose,” Laura Richardson, of Scott Township, said. “I love it! It gets you in the spirit.”

And it was even crazier at the cheese counter at Pennsylvania Macaroni, where the crowd waited for two hours and counting.

Dan Noschese, of Bakerstown: “We pulled [ticket number] 527 and as you can see, they are on 363, so we gotta wait.”
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “All for a hunk of cheese?”
Noschese: “All for a hunk of cheese. It’s a tradition.”

But in the end, it wasn’t about the fish, the popcorn or the cheese — it was about being part of the scene and in the season.

The waits were long, but the atmosphere was festive, helping everyone get in the spirit of Christmas.

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