People often ask me how/why I moved to Pittsburgh. I then tell them "my story". My story goes like this:
When I was in graduate school, in Albany, New York, I dated a guy who grew up partially in Pittsburgh. His father lived in Pittsburgh and his mother lived in NY. Because his dad still lived here, we came to visit a few times. The times we came to visit were during fun events like St. Patrick's Day, The Regatta and Light Up Night. I fell in love. Not with the guy, but with the city. ;)
I was solidly in my rip-roaring twenties and I declared "Any city that shuts down a bridge to have a party is my kind of city!". I also enjoyed the party atmosphere of Market Square on St. Patrick's day. What I didn't know then, but I know now, is that Light Up Night would come to really signify what I really love most about this city. It's beyond beautiful, super friendly and so family oriented. Pittsburgh is so great that way, they have the big blowout for the "young folks" on St. Patrick's day and the wonderful family-friendly Light Up Night for us "older folks". :)
So after graduate school was over, I had no plan, no job, nowhere to go. So I decided to move to Pittsburgh. All by myself,with no job and just my boyfriend's (who was staying in NY) family to call my own. They took me in, helped me get on my feel and I've been here every since. I am forever grateful to them for helping me find my home here and even though there were tough times (unemployment, failed relationships, etc.) I've never considered leaving. It's felt like home since the day I arrived in town with all my belongings packed into my tiny little clunker of a car.
A lot has changed since that day back in 1995. I've met my husband, started and finished my Ph.D., got the most amazing job as a professor and had two perfect little boys. I've met so many wonderful friends here and have had the great pleasure of helping to "spread the word" about Pittsburgh through PittsburghMom.com.
One thing that has not changed, however, is Light Up Night. It's still a wonderful tradition that we enjoy every year. This year's events promise to be just as exciting. The events span two days, Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19
Friday, November 18
Noon - Dedication of the Pittsburgh Creche, US Steel Tower
Noon - Lighting of the City of Pittsburgh's Holiday Tree, City-County Building
5 p.m. -8:30 p.m.- Musical and dancing acts on the Market Square Stag
5 p.m. - Bridge Party on the Clemente Bridge featuring live musical acts
5-9 p.m. - Fifth Avenue Place events, ice sculptures5 p.m. - PPG Place Plaza CLO Mini-Stars performance
5:30-6 - PPG Place Plaza Tree lighting around the Rink at PPG Place
5:30-9 p.m. - One Oxford Center - Holiday Music and indoor kids activities including face painting, balloon art, etc. along with free horse-drawn carriage rides
5:45 p.m. - One Oxford Center tree lighting6:15 - 7:15 - Highmark March and Unity Tree Lighting with Fireworks at the corner of Penn & Stanwix
8:30 p.m. - Celebrate Santa! Stage Show with Fireworks on the Market Square Stage
9:38 p.m. - Pittsburgh Brewing Company Fireworks Celebration
Saturday, November 19
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - One Oxford Center children's activities and free horse-drawn carriage rides
11 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Free Fifth Avenue Place Holly Trolly and Nutcracker activities at Fifth Avenue Place
Noon - 2 p.m. Mascot scate at The Rink at PPG Place
Noon - 7:30 p.m. -Musical and dancing acts on the Market Square Stage
6 p.m. - Horse-drawn carriage candlelight carriage parade beginning from the Convention Center proceeding down Grant, Fifth and Liberty.