Bright Lights, Pretty City

Halloween is so last season. Which is why the Mayor, the King of Fireworks, a half dozen of Pittsburgh's favorite mascots, local celebs and Jolly Old St. Nick himself congregated in  the Highwoods/PPG Place Wintergarden yesterday to announce the electrifying details of the 51st Duquesne Light Light Up Night(R) in Downtown, November 18-19. Now we don't want to keep you in the dark any longer on all the high-voltage happenings that put a spark in the city's annual holiday shopping season, so let's flip on the switch to discover what's in store for Downtown's most brilliant street party of the year.

Just like last year's party, the 2011 edition of Light Up Night will be twice as bright with two days of fun-filled, FREE, top-notch family entertainment, parades, food and holiday shopping throughout Downtown. Of course, Market Square will be at the center of it all. Local musicians like guitar man Joe Negri and and vocalist Etta Cox with hit all the right notes on the Northwest Savings Bank Market Square Stage, where Jeff Jimmerson and Airborne and the Borelli Dance Gallery will get the season off to a rockin' good start. For a full schedule of events on the Northwest Savings Bank stage, just check our online performance schedule for Friday and Saturday. And the party continues with free concerts on the Clemente Bridge, where the NOMaD, Johnny Angel and the Granati Brothers kick out the holiday jams with a mix of country, doo-wop and rock ’n’ roll sounds all night long.

Back for an encore, the Eat'n Park Market Square Season of Lights will will join Carin Mincemoyer's Diamond Diamonds to glow all season long in the Square. Made possible last year through the vision of Colcom Foundation and this year sponsored by Eat 'n Park, once again, nearly 150,000 energy-saving LED bulbs will twinkle throughout the evening on a 33-foot tall sphere tree and decorations on buildings and lamp posts across the Square. From November through January, the Season of Lights will entertain with a synchronized light and music show every half hour. If you missed this multi-megawatt show last year, make sure you stop by the Square to be delighted by the creation of Blachere Illuminations, the same people who made the Eiffel Tower and Disney World's Magic Castle shine. Eat'n Park will light up the Square during the showstopping "Celebrate Santa!" musical extravaganza as the Jolly Old Elf himself takes center stage with the help of some high-kicking elves.

Now there's no better way to wrap up the evening of Light Up Night(R) than with the amazing pyrotechnics of Zambelli Fireworks Internationale. Presented by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, this explosive nightcap will paint the sky with Roman candles, comets, rainbows and other sizzling signature special effects from the first family of fireworks.  Light Up Night is an alcohol-free event but it will also mark the day that Pittsburgh's own launches it's new Amber lager to join standards like Iron City and IC Light.

Okay, are you ready for more? Because there's more!  On Saturday you'll find more music, dance and other entertainment in the Square from Noon - 9 p.m. For the blade runners in the crowd, the second annual Mascot Skate at the Rink at PPG Place is a great way to break the ice, so to speak. One Oxford Centre, Fifth Avenue Place and PPG Place have plenty of activities and entertainers for some family-friendly fun. And holiday shoppers can ride for free on the Fifth Avenue Place Holly Trolley as it rolls along to Downtown's favorite shopping spots from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday will also feature the second annual Horse-drawn Candlelight Carriage Parade with celebrity riders clip-clopping along Grant St., Fifth Ave. and Liberty Ave. from 6 - 8 p.m.

Always a bright spot on the holiday schedule, Light Up Night(R) will help you get your glow on for one of the most joyful seasons of the year.

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