PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s Pittsburgh’s biggest New Year’s Eve party and everyone was invited.
Betty Anderson, from Freedom, brought her whole family, even family from Seattle where they don’t have a First Night celebration.
“I like that it’s exciting, there are families here,” said Anderson.
“They only do fireworks; we don’t have anything going on downtown. They have something at the Space Needle, but it’s nothing like this. It’s fantastic,” said Jill Hostetter, of Seattle.
Despite a chill in the air, thousands showed up in the Cultural District, and volunteers made sure there were burn barrels so people could warm up.
“Especially when the temperature drops, you’ll see rows of two or three people sometimes,” said John Henry Harrison, a First Night volunteer.
Speaking of fire, Steeltown once again amazed the crowd.
“It was six months of practicing every day before the first time I ever lit it on fire,” said Emay, a Steeltown Fire performer. “I recommend anyone who wants to try this eventually should really practice.”
Next, it’s over to the kids’ craft tent.
That’s where 10-year-old Kira White was making a New Year’s Eve pin.
KDKA’s David Highfield: “They don’t let you use the hot glue gun?”
Highfield: “They wouldn’t let me use it either, trust me!”
Their finished product was worthy of a thumbs up.
There were about 150 family events scheduled for the night, and it all started at 6 p.m. with a performance by an electronic brass band called Beauty Slap.
And Cheryl Capezzuti’s towering puppets were part of a parade that started at the Convention Center and made its way through the Cultural District.
There was also the River City Brass Band, Cello Fury and Texture Contemporary Dance.
Meanwhile, over at the Highmark Stage, Zach and Colton Swon, known as “The Swon Brothers,” said they’re ready to ring in the New Year – ‘Burgh style.
The brothers, whose star started to rise on the reality show – “The Voice” – say getting here has been quite a journey.
“Everyone watching has taken a couple of dorks from Oklahoma and changed our lives, and we appreciate it so much,” said Colton.
Music seems to come easily to the brothers.
For these southern boys, their biggest feat on New Year’s Eve night is staying warm in the Pittsburgh chill.
“I love the cold, I love hunting and I love being in the cold, but singing and playing guitar in the cold is gonna be a new challenge,” said Zach.
But the country duo said the 50,000 to 60,000 expected at First Night Pittsburgh, heat up the bitter temperatures.
“I’m excited to see all the people here… it will get warmer here with all these people here,” said Zach.
And with a Top 15 single and a January tour with Brad Paisley lined up, the brothers say Pittsburgh is a great place to welcome what could be one of their best years yet.
“We’re blessed guys, and we’re happy to be in Pittsburgh tonight,” Zach said.
Finally, there’s the sparkling, 1,000-pound Future of Pittsburgh ball. The ball features 1,100 LED lights on the outside, almost 50 strobes and over 70 dimmable, internal, halogen light bulbs.
When the ball rises at midnight, the public will also be treated to, of course, a spectacular fireworks show.
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