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Holiday Kidsplay, a new seasonal tradition in Downtown Pittsburgh

Jill Greenwood
November20/ 2014

Over the coming weeks, droves of Pittsburgh families will head Downtown to celebrate the holiday season through their favorite traditions–shopping at Macy’s, ice skating at PPG Place, watching the Nutcracker at the Benedum. The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is hoping that families will also adopt a new seasonal tradition this year–Holiday Kidsplay in the Cultural District.

The new Holiday Kidsplay program, sponsored by Highmark, will offer free interactive activities for children from noon until 5 p.m. on weekends from Nov. 22 to Dec. 23 at a variety of venues on Liberty Avenue.

“We kept hearing from people that they wanted more to do in Downtown Pittsburgh during the holidays with their families, especially on Sundays when some businesses are closed,” said Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “We hope this will fill that void.”

Among the Kidsplay destinations is the Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, which will offer free 20-minute Improv Workshops to teach families silly warm-ups and easy games.

The Harris Theater, 809 Liberty Avenue, will join Pittsburgh Filmmakers for a drop-in showing of family-friendly short holiday films. On Dec. 7 and 14, they will also offer live performances of a short holiday musical by Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts.

Over at the Trust Arts Education Center, 805 Liberty Avenue, there will be a drop-in program to create holiday crafts and gifts with Macaroni Kid and a reading area for families to enjoy holiday books together. And on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 11 a.m to 2 p.m there will be a special one-day-only workshop where families can work together to create puppets for the First Night Festivities on New Year’s Eve. Space is limited for that program and advanced registration is required by visiting www.trustarts.org.

The free Holly Trolley will make stops at the Holiday Kidsplay activities on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m to 5 p.m (also on Black Friday) approximately every 15 minutes.

Waldrup said organizers ideally would like to expand the venues next year and keep Holiday Kidsplay growing.

“This program has a great focus on families and everything is free and interactive,” Waldrup said. “Generations of families have been coming Downtown to celebrate the holidays and we hope that Holiday Kidsplay can be one more way for them to create new holiday memories.”

Photo: Holiday Kidsplay will offer children free interactive seasonal activities in Downtown Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy of the PDP.

Jill Greenwood

After spending 20 years working in journalism across the country, Jill returned to her native 'Burgh in 2005. When not parked in front of her laptop writing or searching for good stories, she's checking out cool happenings in her North Side neighborhood or shuttling her daughter to and from soccer fields.