Charles Bradley, fireworks, 'Special Delivery' parade highlight 20th year of First Night

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The countdown  to midnight on New Year's Eve should be in good hands with Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires.

The R&B/soul group, led by a singer who once worked as a James Brown impersonator, will headline the 20th anniversary celebration of First Night, performing Tuesday on the Highmark Stage in the Cultural District, Downtown.

The evening will include nearly 150 events at nearly 50 indoor and outdoor locations within the 14-block district, with such highlights as fireworks, a parade, musical performance and an ice labyrinth.

Here's what to watch for:

• The Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale countdown to midnight, with the raising of the 1,000-pound ball above Penn Avenue Place and a Zambelli fireworks finale.

• The FedEx Ground Parade, themed "Special Delivery" and featuring Grand Marshals Mr. McFeeley, First Night Pittsburgh founders former Mayor Tom Murphy and Jamee Todd, giant puppets, art cars, marching bands and a bicycle parade.

• The 5-foot-high and 40-by-30-foot ice labyrinth, created by Ice Creations of Churchill and featuring a walk-through maze of giant ice blocks with LED lighting. It will be next to Fire & Ice Plaza at the Eighth Street parking lot.

• "It Was the Coldest Winter Ever," a variety show by Miniature Curiosa that will create a miniature city from medicine cabinets, desk lamps, Victorian dollhouses and repurposed junk. Inside, among the tiny copper-wire trees and within the cramped bedrooms of the pocket-sized residents, puppeteer Zach Dorn reveals the miniature city's hidden stories.

• Bricolage Production Company's "First Look First Night," an immersive urban adventure where audiences will be invited to embark on a personal 30- to 40-minute journey interacting with the world of art.

• The WYEP Music Station on the fourth floor of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Education Center with pop/folk/R&B artist Joy Ike and indie-folk group Broken Fences.

• Sean Jones leading the Mission Statement 2014 Reunion Band, which played regularly at Dowe's on Ninth, in a 10th anniversary performance at the Peirce Studio of the Trust Arts Education building.

• Performances by country rock band NOMaD on the Dollar Bank Stage, with the Dollar Bank Children's Fireworks Display, Johnny Angel & the Halos at the Benedum Center and the River City Brass at the Byham Theater.

• Performances by Attack Theatre, which debuted at First Night 1994, in the August Wilson Center Theater.

• First Night Food Trucks in the parking lot at Ninth Street and Penn Avenue, near the Penn Avenue Big Screen at Sixth Street and Penn Avenue, full of surprises and throwback images celebrating the past 20 years of First Night Pittsburgh.

• First National Bank Family Tent with hands-on activities for kids and adults, led by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Citiparks, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh International Children's Theater and more.

All-Access Highmark First Night Pittsburgh buttons can be purchased at participating Giant Eagle locations, TrustArts.org/FirstNightPGH, 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square, 655 Penn Ave. Buttons are $8 in advance and $10 at the event Dec. 31. Children 5 and younger are free.

Some indoor performances will require free seating vouchers, but must be reserved by calling the Trust phone number or at the Box Office at Theater Square.


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