PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Light Up Night is Friday night, and organizers have a whole lot packed into a couple of hours, but security issues are also top of mind heading into the celebrations.
The night of revelry in Pittsburgh will come one week after the attacks on Paris nightlife.
“The best way to defeat that type of terror is to go on with your life,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. “I’ll be downtown, and I encourage everyone to join me.”
Police chief Cameron McLay says to expect a noticeable police presence.
“With the objective of making sure the people of this community feel safe, and we have the capacity to respond appropriately if an incident should occur,” McLay said.
Wrapped in that blanket of security, festivities will get rolling at 5 p.m. on the main stage of the Duquesne Light Santa Spectacular. There will be a carousel, reindeer and Santa in his workshop welcoming kids and their lists.
“You can’t have an event in Pittsburgh without fireworks,” CBS Radio special events manager Amy Mauk said. “They’ll be at 8:30 p.m. over the Point, and we’re excited by a new twist involving the Duquesne Light Christmas Tree lighting.”
Meanwhile, the Holiday Market in Market Square will be open for business. The Market Square destination has become a family favorite to the downtown holiday shopping scene, but that scene has a major change this year. Despite the sign pointing to Macy’s, Macy’s is no longer here.
“I think it’s a little more of a challenge because you don’t have that destination,” Jeremy Waldrup with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership said, “but we have over 100 small businesses downtown that have some great retail opportunities, and we’re really excited to highlight them.”
Macy’s may be closed, but the windows will still be revealed. It is a critical night of the retail year for downtown merchants.
“For all of our retailers, our restaurants, our cultural institutions, it’s a great way to remind people of all that we have,” Waldrup said, “not just on Light Up Night, but all through the year.”
Crews have been working around the clock to get the PPG Place Ice Rink ready to go. The ribbon cutting and first skate were scheduled for Thursday, but were cancelled because it was too warm.
“Hopefully tonight around midnight we can start laying water down really thick,” Derek Craft with Everything Ice out of Johnstown, PA said.
Temperatures need to reach 45 degrees for ice to be made. Crews think they will be able to pull it off.
There will be music on five Light Up Night stages, and fireworks from the Warhol Bridge to wrap things up at 9:30 p.m.
As soon as the fireworks are over, if you are heading east, head for your car. Because the Parkway East will close at 11 p.m. so the deconstruction of the Greenfield Bridge can begin, and the detour is rough and could ruin the holiday spirit of the night.
Check the Light Up Night website for a schedule with more details: http://www.downtownpittsburgh.com/holidays