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Ring in 2015 with family fun at Highmark First Night Pittsburgh

Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan
December04/ 2014

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to have more fun with your family, you can get a head start at Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2015. This annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza, produced by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, is expected to draw crowds of nearly 50,000. With 150 events at almost 50 primarily indoor venues, this year’s lineup promises fun for all ages.

The night will start out with a bang at the Dollar Bank Children’s Fireworks Display at 6 p.m. This Zambelli fireworks show is perfect for young children who might doze off before the second display at midnight.

With its giant paper mache puppets, decorated art cars and dozens of musical performances, the FedEx Ground Parade at 8 p.m. is always a favorite.

Also, families can wander through Fire and Ice Plaza where Ice Creations will craft ice carvings next to the fire dancers and the fire-breathing dragon of Steel Town Fire.

The First National Bank Family Tent is always a crowd pleaser with its collection of kid-friendly activities and visits with the Pirate Parrot and Steely McBeam. In this year’s Family Tent, children will create light-up LED pins with Assemble, decorative snowflakes with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and wooden kazoos with the Carnegie Science Center. They will also help grow the Children’s Museum’s “First Night Resolution Tree” by writing and posting reflections from the past year and wishes for the new one.

This year’s First Night will also include several family-friendly live performances. Gemini Theater Company will present its Pirates of the Mon. Incorporating local landmarks and lingo, this interactive show will challenge audience members to find the “Triangle Treasure.” Chris Ruggiero’s one-man variety show is always a hit. Also, both Lee Terbosic and Matt Sigler will present magic shows mystifying adults and kids alike. Finally, children can marvel at global dance performances showcasing belly, Indian, Chinese and Japanese sword dancing.

Other activities for families will include large-scale versions of board games, balloon animals, face painting, character meet-and-greets and storytelling with the Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater.

All-Access Highmark First Night Pittsburgh buttons (worn by attendees) are now available at participating Giant Eagle locations, online, by phone at 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square located at 655 Penn Avenue. Buttons cost $8 in advance or $10 night-of-event. Children age 5 and under are admitted FREE.

Some performances require free seating vouchers that must be reserved in advance to ensure theaters do not fill beyond capacity. Vouchers can be reserved by phone or at the Box Office at Theater Square only.

Information on parking can be found here. Also, food trucks will be on site.

A VIP package is also available, permitting special “First Night Friends” to enjoy priority seating, access, parking and more. For more information on becoming a part of this special sponsorship opportunity, please call 412-471-6086.

Featured photo: Highmark First Night Pittsburgh in the Cultural District, Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan is a writing mom on the run from Pittsburgh. She is a freelance writer for children and adults and has written for Highlights for Children, Odyssey, Family Fun and more. She hosts workshops for kids and adults and is the author of several self-published books including My Food Notebook.