At lunchtime on Friday, November 22, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will officially kick off the City of Pittsburgh’s holiday festivities just hours before Pittsburgh’s skyscrapers illuminate the skyline during Light Up Night.
Music will fill the air on the Portico of the City-County Building as “The Ties That Bind” serves as the theme of this year’s gathering to celebrate the illumination of the City’s official holiday tree.
“Lighting the holiday tree at lunchtime kicks off a day full of holiday celebrations downtown,” according to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. “The noontime gathering continues to grow in popularity each year, and it features free refreshments, entertainment and an opportunity to donate to the Salvation Army.”
As the crowd gathers before noon, the Salvation Army Ensemble will perform on the Portico. Throughout the City’s lunchtime celebration, individuals will have an opportunity to donate new and gently used toys as well as non-perishable food items to the Salvation Army Food & Toy Drive.
Beginning at noon, the CAPA 6-12 Middle School Concert Choir will entertain the crowd. The lunchtime festivities will include an opportunity to meet and greet Santa Claus and numerous mascots including the Pirate Parrot, Steely McBeam and Pittsburgh Zoo Polar Bear.
At 12:35 p.m., Mayor Ravenstahl will lead the countdown to illuminate the decorated holiday tree.
Students from City of Pittsburgh public, private, parochial and charter schools have participated in the holiday tree decorating project. Citiparks has once again sponsored an ornament competition for school students in kindergarten through college, and all entries will hang on the holiday tree.
“This year’s theme of ‘The Ties That Bind' encourages students to create ornaments that show how they are tied together to family, friends and community during the holiday season,” said Mayor Ravenstahl. “By using neckties, students can weave together stories or create collages. Throughout the weeks ahead, the beautiful hand-crafted ornaments decorating the tree will serve as a visual reminder of our talented students attending schools in the City of Pittsburgh.”
Following the tree lighting ceremony, the holiday music will continue until 1:00 p.m. on the Grant Street Portico of the City-County Building. All attending the gathering will enjoy cookies provided by the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, premium hot chocolate and coffee compliments of Crazy Mocha as well as hot apple cider.
For more information regarding the City’s Tree Light Ceremony, call Citiparks at 412-255-2493 or visit www.Citiparks.net.