Pittsburgh’s very own family friendly New Year’s Eve Celebration is back! Presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Highmark First Night turns 28 this year and with it comes the six hour party we’ve come to know and love. Featuring fireworks, a larger than life art exhibit, ice creations, acrobats, the annual parade, live music, the rising of the Future of Pittsburgh ball at midnight and much more! Keep reading for a list of all the free events and activities happening throughout the Cultural District.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is often known for bringing eye-catching and colossal art installations to the ‘burgh, (we all remember the infamous giant yellow rubber duck from 2016), and this year is no different. Intrude is a family of four very large bunnies illuminated in stark white light. The largest bunny stands at a whopping 50 feet tall and will be located on the Eighth Street block of Penn Ave. The three smaller bunnies are ten to twelve feet tall and will be placed at the Trust Oasis, 133 7th street. Intrude comes from the talented mind of Australian artist Amanda Parer, whose inspiration behind the project may be a bit more serious than one would think. “In Australia, the rabbit simultaneously represents a cute, cuddly character from our childhood and is an animal known to impose great destruction of the island continent’s delicate ecosystems. It has been fun to use these motifs to explore our relationship with the natural world”, says Parer. The rabbits will be open to view and interact with from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and will continue to invade Pittsburgh until the end of January. Learn more about the artist Amanda Parer and her inspiration behind Intrude in this recent blog by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
Kick-off the event and enjoy the annual spectacular Pyrotecnico fireworks display by Dollar Bank with sounds from the Dollar Bank Stage, 237 7th Street, from 6:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Move Your Body
Stick around after the fireworks and dance in the New Year at the Baby Rave at the Dollar Bank Stage from 6:15 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. This child friendly dance and music event features jams from DJ RNBOUS and is perfect for children 0 – 5 and their families. The dancing doesn’t stop there, catch performances every other half hour from the ZuZu African Acrobats at the Highmark Stage, Liberty & Stanwix, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Fire and Ice
Head over to the Fire and Ice Plaza, Penn Avenue & 9th Street, for a one of a kind ice carving show by artist Richard Bubin and performances by Steel Town Fire, Pittsburgh’s premier fire performance company. Watch as they both delight audiences of all ages with their skilled manipulation of ice sculpture and fire props. Both shows will alternate every half hour starting with Ice Creations at 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
See a Short Film
If you’re looking for a chance to get off your feet, make the short journey over to the Harris Theater, 809 Liberty Ave, for A Harris Theater Time Capsule on the Big Screen, 35 minutes of cartoons, comedy shorts, and more celebrating the history of the historic theater. Showings begin at 7:45 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. Free tickets are required for entry.
Watch the Parade
The annual arts-focused New Year’s Eve Parade presented by Giant Eagle is packed with performance groups and loaded with artistic surprises, including signature giant puppets that have become synonymous with this family-friendly tradition. Find a great view of the parade on either side of Penn Avenue running through the entire Cultural District. It starts at David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 8:00 p.m. and ends after turning right on Stanwix Street toward the Allegheny River.
Rock out with the Byron Nash Trio
Gear up for the last hour of the celebration with electrifying music from Byron Nash, one of Pittsburgh’s most exciting and impactful musicians from 10:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. at the Highmark Stage. He’s been one of the most sought after artists having played the Allegheny Overlook Stage more than any other performer this past summer, rocking the Market Square Music Series, Picklesburgh, and the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival with his power trio. Known for his electrifying guitar playing, powerful stage presence, and explosive energy, Nash is the perfect choice to get us excited and pumped for going into 2022!
The Rise of the Future of Pittsburgh Ball
It’s the grand finale we’ve all been waiting for! Countdown to midnight at the Highmark Stage, with the raising of the Future of Pittsburgh ball atop Penn Avenue Place, a spectacular Pyrotecnico fireworks display, and continued music from Byron Nash on the Highmark Stage. The countdown begins five minutes before the clock strikes midnight.
These are just a few of the featured events at the 2022 Highmark First Night Pittsburgh, but there’s still more fun to be had. For the full schedule of events visit trustarts.org/firstnight. Can’t make the event in person? Catch a live one hour broadcast of the event with hosts Heather Abraham and David Highfield on Pittsburgh Today Live on KDKA from 11:00 p.m. to midnight.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.