PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The unusually warm weather on Friday night attracted a huge crowd to Downtown Pittsburgh for the annual kick off to the holiday season, Light Up Night.
Anticipating a larger than normal crowd and following several recent incidents Downtown, city officials stepped up security for the event in a big way.
One of the safety measures, dump trucks were filled with sand and parked around the back of a stage set up on Fort Duquesne Boulevard to ensure no one could drive through. The dump truck technique was recently put into place around Trump Tower in New York City.
Police were on foot, on horseback, all very visible, but what were not visible were plainclothes officers in the crowd.
The mayor had said security would be increased after incidents at other Downtown events. Four people were wounded downtown after the Fourth of July fireworks this summer.
The other thing that made this year’s Light Up Night different is the weather, you really didn’t even need a jacket.
“Absolutely incredible,” said Sarah Smith, of Washington County. “My boyfriend and I were planning on coming to Light Up Night this year no matter the weather, but I feel blessed to know that we came down here on such a lovely night.”
There was plenty of music, including teen pop sensation Daya” from Mount Lebanon. Even the on-strike Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra members performed on the sidewalk.
There were tree lightings, the Holiday Market in Market Square, ice skating over at PPG Plaza, the brand-new Energy Flow Bridge Lighting on the Rachel Carson Bridge, and much more.
Also, the Santa Spectacular attracted big crowds to Point State Park.
For some, the night is a tradition.
But for others, it was their first Light Up Night.
“I think it’s really great,” said Sade Davis, a first-time Light Up Night goer. “This the first time I ever went to Light Up Night. I’ve been in Pittsburgh for 20-some years. I never got the experience because I was always working.”
Police said Saturday morning that 29 medical calls and 8 medical transports were made during the night. Two citations for public intoxication were issued, and one arrest was made during Light Up Night. Police arrested a 19-year-old from West Oakland who had an outstanding bench warrant.