The Pirate Parrot stands by with Steely McBeam as Andy Wisniewski, vice president of Highwoods Properties./PPG Place, center, talks about the ice rink and the planned mascot skate during a press conference today.
By Mark Belko Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Light Up Night festivities Downtown this year will feature a new musical venue and a new parade but the biggest change will come a week later with the debut of a new European-style holiday market inspired by the original Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany.
For most of the holiday season, Market Square will be transformed into the Peoples Gas Holiday Market featuring vendors housed in Alpine-style wooden chalets, musical performances and a big new home-away-from-home for Santa Claus with a bay window, ice-capped chimney, and a candy cane entry way.
The market will kick off at noon on Nov. 24, with a ribbon cutting and fireworks show -- it's Pittsburgh, after all -- and run through Dec. 23. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 to 6 on Sundays.
Light-Up Night festivities announced
The Light -Up Night schedule of events was announced during a press conference at the PPG Place Wintergarden. (Video by Nate Guidry; 11/1/2012)
Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, which organized the holiday market, said 17 vendors have agreed to participate so far and that he expects several others to sign on before the opening later this month.
"We really, truly all believe ... that this is going to become just a mainstay of this holiday season and will continue for years to come," said Morgan O'Brien, president and CEO of Peoples Natural Gas, the market's sponsor.
The 576-square-foot Santa's house will be designed by Desmone and Associates architectural firm. Children -- and adults -- will be able to visit with Santa at the house. Photos also will be available with donations of either cash or nonperishable food items to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Vendors such as Ivana's Igloo, The Glass Haus, and Old German Christmas will be selling items like decorative candle pins and soaps; authentic hand-blown and hand-painted glass ornaments and German collectibles; jewelry; purses; Austrian nativity scenes; Polish ceramics; and tapestries, jewelry and scarves from Turkey, Russia, and Austria.
The holiday season Downtown will kick off with the 52nd annual Light Up Night on Nov. 16. The festivities will include traditional favorites like the dedication of the Nativity creche at U.S. Steel Tower, the unveiling of the Macy's holiday windows, the lighting of the Unity Tree at the former Horne's department store building, and, of course, a fireworks show launched from the Andy Warhol Bridge.
There also will be musical performances in Market Square, on the Roberto Clemente Bridge, and at a new venue in EQT Plaza where jazz will be featured.
Another new event this year will be the Bottom Dollar Food Sounds of the Season Parade at 5 p.m. on Nov. 17 -- or "First Holiday Saturday" as the Downtown Partnership calls it.
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