Pageantry and celebration return to downtown Pittsburgh this New Year's Eve with the Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2013.
First Night director Darcy Kucenic said families can choose from a number of activities early on in the night, including hands-on crafts, art displays, and musical performances at the Byham Theater and the Benedum Center.
"At 8:00 p.m. I think is sort of the crown jewel of the entire evening," said Kucenic. "It is our First Night Parade, and this year's parade theme is 'light,' so all of the puppets and art cars and different participants in the parade will be lit up in different ways."
Kucenic said the evening culminates at 10:45 on the Highmark Stage with the marquee performer, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. As the new year closes in, First Night will have a countdown to midnight with the raising of the "Future of Pittsburgh Ball" and a massive pyrotechnics display by Zambelli Fireworks.
First Night is the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's single most popular event, drawing in thousands of visitors from across the region each year. Kucenic said it gives the PCT the chance to showcase the vibrant arts scene downtown.
"It's sort of an open house of our cultural district, where all of our galleries and all of our theaters are open for everyone to see and enjoy the new year together," said Kucenic.
Admission buttons can be purchased in advance for $8 at local Giant Eagle stores; the buttons are $10 on the night of the event.
A full schedule of First Night activities can be found at the program's website.