Pittsburgh is a town full of tradition, especially around the holidays. From Light Up Night events all over the city, festive displays galore and countless performances of “A Christmas Carol,” the Steel City is never light on holiday cheer. Of course, this also includes the musical treat of traditional holiday caroling. For all of you locals and visitors looking to see, hear and participate in rousing choruses, these are the best places for caroling in the ‘Burg.
Peoples Gas Holiday Market
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Dates: Through Dec. 23, 2012
Through December 23 (closed on Thanksgiving), our own historic Market Square will transform from the social and cultural core of downtown Pittsburgh into the Peoples Gas Holiday Market. Celebrating its second year, this European-style holiday marketplace will feature professional carolers, performers and special live music events, running from opening until close. After you’re done listening to or singing along with the professional carolers, you and your family can join in special events and activities, or simply enjoy the festive holiday decorations throughout the Market. Be sure to check the website for schedules and updates.
Holiday Celebration At Settlers Ridge
200 Settlers Ridge Center Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
Dates: Saturdays throughout December, 2013
“It’s like having a little bit of Disneyland right in Settlers Ridge!” expresses Courtney Czarniak when describing the holiday festivities happening every Saturday in December at Settlers Ridge shopping center. Courtney is the leader of the professional caroling troupe Holiday Harmonies, one of the two caroling groups that will be spreading music throughout the shopping center every Saturday in December from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Settlers Ridge will also be raising donations to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. A donation of your choice gives your child one-on-one time with the one and only Santa Claus on a horse-drawn carriage ride around the center. The carolers will be singing throughout the shopping center in full dress, not only taking requests, but also encouraging everyone to join in the traditional holiday songs.
Overly’s Country Christmas
116 Blue Ribbon Lane
Greensburg, PA 15601
Dates: Now through Jan. 1, 2014
What started as a traditional holiday light display by Harry Overly in 1956 has spread into an epic festive light show, with millions of lights spread across acres of land at the Westmoreland Fairgrounds. In addition to the holiday lights, Overly’s includes a country‐themed Christmas Village loaded with olde tyme celebrations, activities and shopping. Between all of the sights and sounds, you can warm yourself by an actual bonfire and sing Christmas carols along with your fellow holiday spectators. Open through January 1st, Overly’s is a non-profit organization run by over 400 volunteers. There is an entry charge, so be sure to check the website for more details.
Kennywood’s Holiday Lights
4800 Kennywood Blvd.
West Mifflin, PA 15122
Dates: Now through Dec. 22, 2013
Pittsburgh’s very own 115-year-old amusement park isn’t afraid to start new traditions, as Kennywood opens its doors for its second annual Holiday Lights celebration. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night through December 22, over a million holiday lights will brighten up the park. In addition to its regular rides and activities, Kennywood will have special holiday events and displays. Traveling carolers will be on hand to spread holiday joy throughout the park, and several local choir groups will be attending to perform famous Christmas carols. With different activities happening every day. Check the website or call for a detailed schedule of events.
Highmark Holiday Pops
600 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Dates: Dec. 12-21, 2013
After all of that outdoor caroling, it’s time to warm up with an indoor concert of carols on an epic scale. Celebrating over 20 years of its “Holiday Pops” concert series, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will be joined by the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh to perform classic carols and some slightly modern holiday hits. To help ring in the festive season, the concert will also include some special guests performing vocals and music. To add to the cultural Yuletide fun, the Heinz Hall itself will be fully decked out in holiday decorations, include the centerpiece of the Grand Lobby – an enormous 25-foot Christmas tree. The concert series runs from December 12th to the 21st, with tickets available though the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s website.
David Cohen is a freelance writer whose work can be found on Examiner.com.