Frigid Weather Prompts Some Changes To First Night Festivities

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With temperatures expected in the single digits on New Year’s Eve this Sunday, First Night organizers are doing some last minute rearranging to their festivities that attract thousands to downtown Pittsburgh.

“Ninety percent of the activities are already programmed to be inside,” First Night Festival director Sarah Azziz told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Thursday.

“We have almost 30 indoor venues already activated, so the changes that we’re making are really bringing some of the things that were programmed outside indoors just to make it a more comfortable experience for all the guests that come down.”

KDKA’s David Highfield Reports:

Obviously, some things remain outside, like the fireworks that kick off the event at 6 p.m. and ring in the new year at midnight, but live outdoor music will move indoors, says Aziz.

“We had planned a longer set towards the midnight hour with Lee Fields and the Expressions headlining, but we’ve moved that performance inside the Benedum Center,” she said.

Other performances scheduled on some outside stages will also move indoors.

One of the casualties of this ultra-cold, single digit, First Night celebration is the cancellation of the parade up and down Penn Avenue.

But all the bands and the puppeteers can still be seen — warm — inside the August Wilson Center.


One activity that stays outside in the cold is the popular fire and ice display at Penn and Ninth.

“Their set times are going to be adjusted — shorter but more frequent,” Aziz said.

KDKA’s Jon Delano Reports:

And three warming stations will be set up outdoors.

“There will be a series of patio heaters, if you are familiar with those. They’ll keep you nice and toasty,” said Azziz.

Aziz tells the “KDKA Morning News” there will be plenty of businesses and venues for people to stay warm.

“A lot of the larger venues that we sometimes close a little earlier in the night are going to be open all the way until midnight. So the Benedum Center, Highmark Fifth Avenue place, all those places will be open all night for people to pop in and warm up,” Aziz said.

And, cold or not, everyone will be outdoors to see the Future of Pittsburgh Ball rise in the air to ring in 2018.

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