Family new year: First Night remains a Pittsburgh crowd pleaser

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This year's First Night festivities on New Year's Eve were first-rate for all ages. Pittsburgh's annual event is always organized with revelers from "one to 92" in mind.

There were early fireworks at 6 p.m. for the children and a jolly parade two hours later led by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, with "Pittsburgh Dad" creators Curt Woottan and Chris Preksta as grand marshals and lots of clowns. Indoor locations had crafts for children, with patient attendants. Outside was light snow, friendly barrels with fires to gather around for talk and warmth, and lots of bright lights and music.

Little eyes sparkled. Big eyes did, too. Various musicians performed, including Adam Brock & The Soul Band, the House of Soul and the dancing Perry High School band. Organized by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the event was directed by Darcy Kucenic and overseen by a board of directors chaired by Ken McCrory.

The family-friendly evening was successful also because of a breadth of sponsors including Highmark, Dollar Bank, First National Bank, Equitable Gas, Ideal Integrations, Bobby Rahal, Giant Eagle, PNC and several foundations. It is always a point of pride for Pittsburghers when major institutions support a community celebration like First Night.

More than 100 volunteers were a key factor in overseeing the activities, with special attention to youngsters. In answer to the musical question, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" the helpers could proudly say they were making people happy and safe, a great thing to do on the first night of 2013.

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