In case you didn’t know yet, I absolutely love the holiday season and I firmly believe that it is one of the most wonderful times of the year. So it was a no-brainer that I would want to head down to Downtown Pittsburgh for Light up Night, an annual celebration to kick off the holiday season. The tree you can see above is one of the many trees in the area that were lit for this special night, but none other than Pittsburgh’s mayor, Luke Ravenstahl was present to initiate the lighting of this tree in particular. I especially love how they incorporated the building behind it as well! This year was special – it marks the 60th Anniversary of Light up Night in Pittsburgh, and accordingly, they did it big, with a celebration that spanned two days instead of one. Unfortunately, I only went on Friday as I spent Saturday enjoying Harry Potter and picking up my sister, but that is an entirely different story!
This year, I went with a group of friends and unlike last year, where I had a bit of an epic fail, I managed to not only catch a glimpse of the tree as it was lit, but also get a good view of the fireworks as well. Downtown Market Square was absolutely packed with spectators from all over Pittsburgh. Here’s a video I took of the tree as it gets lit:
Here’s another video, of the tree flashing as well as the fireworks that were shot off in the area (one thing I’ve noticed about Pittsburgh is that it LOVES its fireworks). Of course, these were nothing compared to the firework extravaganza that was to come later on that night.
This is the tree that was standing in Fifth Avenue Place – it also got lit, but unfortunately, I missed that one as my group and I spent a few minutes looking for it, only to realize we were around the corner! I don’t have any pictures that would give it a good sense of scale, but this is a tree decoration that is draped across the surface of a building downtown. If the one in the first few images was thirty-three feet tall, this one must be gigantic! Most of the Light up Night festivities were going on in this area, with music, food, ice sculptures, light up toys and decorations and even performers:
This Buddy lookalike was walking around on stilts in front of Fifth Avenue Place downtown. He agreed to take a picture with us, but my friend Jess had to kneel on the ground to include all of us in the shot!
After we spent time in awe of the trees and navigating the ultra-crowded food court in the mall, the group made our way to the Andy Warhol bridge to take in the fireworks. We came early to get a good spot, but we had to endure the biting cold and classic rock covers while we tried to pass the time. I don’t know why my face looks so angry – maybe it’s because I had to use my scarf as an ear-warmer before they fell off my head. That, or I wasn’t a big fan of the music. Either way, the fireworks were well worth the wait and started promptly at the advertised time of 9:38 (don’t ask me why the time was that specific, I have no idea).
Here is an excellent glimpse of the fireworks they shot off that night. It was an epic twenty-plus minute show, that included a medley of Christmas music and at one point, a shower of fireworks raining down from the Roberto Clemente bridge itself, the bridge directly facing the one we were standing on (!!). It wasn’t possible to get the entire show on tape, but here’s the grand finale for your consumption, if you couldn’t be there:
(Psst! You can watch this and most of the other videos on this entry in HD!)
After that, we braved the heavy crowds from both Light up Night and that evening’s Pittsburgh Penguins game to catch a bus back to Oakland. If you want to see the rest of my pictures from Light up Night (including the photos I took last year!), just visit this link.