Let's Go Pens! Let's Go Pens! Let's Go Pens!

No matter the weather, it was a great day for hockey fans in Market Square. Because that's where hundreds of Pens supporters flocked at noon today to cheer on Sid the Kid and the rest of the lads before they take on the Wash Caps in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field on New Year's Day. With  longtime play-by-play announcer Mike Lange handling MC duties, with help from broadcast buddy Phil Bourque and WDVE's Val Porter, this pep rally was more fun than a playoff series sweep against the Philly Flyers.

Of course, showing your support for the Pens before the big game was reason enough to be in the Square. But one lucky fan took home a pair of tickets to the game during a text message contest. Sometimes it pays to be all thumbs, especially when you get to pocket the hottest tix in town for the coolest winter event in the ’Burgh.

And there were more prize giveaways than slapshots in an OT shootout. For winter sports enthusiasts, the free lift tickets will keep some lucky downhill types schussing along the sweetest slopes around — or sipping hot chocolate in the lodge — all day long. And the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious passes to the opening night performance of Disney's "Mary Poppins" at the Benedum went down easier than spoonful of sugar. 

Now, if you didn't score tix for the Pens/Caps faceoff, we hope you got your hands on the First Night  admission buttons that the friendly folks from the Cultural Trust. These festive fashion accessories are your ticket to enjoy many of the amazing performances that will push 2010 into the history books and usher in 2011 with a big bang of two separate fireworks displays. Even if you managed to skate a few laps around the rink outside Heinz Field, some lucky fans got free passes to show their ice skills at the county's rinks in North and South Parks. And so many people went home with a Great Race Gift Bags, filled with goodies like a Dick's Sporting gift card, that we lost count. 

It's not really a party in the Square until the band plays. And there was music galore on stage with local legends Jimmy Adler and Norm Nardini, who's going to open for New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi at the Consol Energy Center in February. Budding musicians also strutted their stuff, too, as the Riverview marching band entertained and cheerleaders from Brashear, Gateway and Riverview high schools pumped up the crowd noise and enthusiasm. 
For an event this big, more than a few dignitaries were on hand, including chief county exec Dan Onorato and Pens mascot Iceburgh.  But the biggest VIPs were all the generous people who donated canned goods and money to help keep the the shelves full at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. That's the real spirit of the holiday season.

And just because we can't say it enough...
Let's go Pens! Let's go Pens! Let's go Pens!

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