Arts, parade, fireworks to celebrate Pittsburgh's First Night
Happy Noon Year! Visitors to the Children's Museum ring in the new year with a countdown to noon at the museum's family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration.
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Geez, Louise. If we wanted to see "Pittsburgh Dad," all we have to do is go on our computers in the comfort of our own homes. We don't need to go Downtown and watch some parade with a bunch of yahoos who don't have enough sense to get out of the cold.
Ah, but then again, think of all the fun we'd be missing.
Tonight, of course, is First Night, Pittsburgh's annual celebration of the new year in the Cultural District, Downtown. Produced by the Cultural Trust and sponsored by Highmark, First Night gives revelers the chance to dip themselves in culture under the guise of partying.
"The Trust views this as an open house for the Cultural District, because there's so many people who have never been to a show or never been there before," said Darcy Kucenic, director of the event. "It's an inexpensive way to bring you, your family and everyone Downtown to experience all of the theaters, all of the galleries, and so many of the spaces in the Cultural District."
And you don't have to dress up like some toff in pants with stripes and cutaway coat. Black and gold parkas are welcome.
Like so many Pittsburgh moments, it starts with fireworks at 6 p.m., when Adam Brock & The Soul Band take the Dollar Bank Stage at Seventh Street and Penn Avenue.
At 8 p.m., make sure you're streetside for the First Night Parade, with grand marshals Curt Woottan and Chris Preksta -- the creative guys behind "Pittsburgh Dad."
"Honestly, that's like my most proud moment," said Ms. Kucenic, who wrangled the guys into the event. "I'm such a huge fan of their work. I think what they do brings so many Pittsburghers together all over the country through social media. All my friends talk about it and share the links. They truly are Pittsburghers of the Year. They have brought the city together through viral videos."
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald also is a grand marshal, but he's a politician and an elected official. "Pittsburgh Dad" is special.
"Curt and Chris will be in the back of a car waving," Ms. Kucenic said. "And we'll be showing their Christmas episode on the big screen."
The parade has a "light" theme this year, meaning all the cars, the bands, the bicycles and the puppets will be lit up, just like so many of the Downtown buildings.
If you've experienced First Night before, Ms. Kucenic said, you should do it again. There are more than 100 activities in 45 different venues, topping off the night with a performance by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and The Countdown to Midnight.
"It gets bigger and better every year, but it stays within the same footprint within the Cultural District, which gives it a feeling of cohesiveness," she said. "This year, we've expanded some of the most popular things, like the Fire & Ice Plaza and the Comedy Club at Cabaret Theater."
A First Night button is all you need to participate. Pick one up at The Box Office at Theater Square for $10. (Children 5 and under are admitted for free.) See www.firstnightpgh.org for more details.
First Published December 31, 2012 3:32 pm