Share This Page

Crowds greet a chilly 2013

| Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 12:24 a.m.
Tribune-Review
A 2013 ice sculpture graces one of the stages for entertainment during the First Night festivities in Downtown on Monday, December 31, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Kristin Ward, 35, of Highland Park, swallows fire as part of her act during the First Night festivities in Downtown on Monday, December 31, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Trib Total Media
Ravi Ramani, 40, of Shadyside, gives his daughter Maya, 7, a good view to watch the fireworks from during the First Night festivities in Downtown on Monday, December 31, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Rogue chickens dance for diners in a restaurant window while taking a brief detour along the parade route at First Night in Downtown on Monday, December 31, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Davi Della Fiamma, of Charleston, WV breathes fire as part of Steel Town Fire's demonstration at First Night in Downtown on Monday, December 31, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Lamar Glover, 19, of West Side, dances before a flash mob of dancers at First Night in Downtown on Monday, December 31, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review

Snow flurries added to the festivities for revelers braving the cold Downtown on Monday as tens of thousands of people gathered to ring in 2013.

“It's a little colder than last year, and there is snow, but that's part of the fun,” said Darcy Kucenic, director of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Last year, 50,000 people attended First Night, when New Year's Eve was on a Saturday night and the weather was unseasonably mild.

Monday's forecast called for temperatures in the low 30s and light snow throughout the evening. A thick dusting had descended by the time the event kicked off at 6 p.m., but within an hour the flakes had tapered off.

It wasn't enough to deter many families who sloshed through slushy sidewalks to watch singers and artists perform.

Bethany and Mark Angle brought their bundled-up infants, Landon, 1, and Roman, 9 months, to town for a Zambelli fireworks display held at 6 p.m. geared for young ones who might not make it to midnight.

“It was a little slick,” Mark Angle, 35, said of the commute from their Dormont home. “It got bad quick.”

Ruth Craig and Matt Plunkett, both 34 of Stanton Heights, brought daughter Mara, 4, for her first First Night.

“It's very wintry and cool to see fireworks in the snow,” said Craig.

This year's celebration included 150 events scheduled in 45 venues throughout the city, with an emphasis on family–friendly activities, leading to the ball-raising atop Penn Avenue Place and Fifth Avenue Place at midnight.

American Idol semifinalist Adam Brock, a Washington County native, kicked off the party with a performance at Seventh Street and Penn Avenue. Pairs of people in their warmest parkas danced and sang along in the streets. Children tossed snowballs into a nearby fountain, and groups gathered around garbage can fires monitored by event volunteers.

Serving as marshals for this year's First Night Parade were “Pittsburgh Dad” creator Chris Preksta and star Curt Wootton. The duo's popular web series about a Yinzer everyman has had millions of views on YouTube, and they released a DVD in December.

“We're thrilled,” said Preksta, a Munhall native. “It's such a fantastic event.”

Wootton said his character likely would be happier if the Steelers were headed to the playoffs, but he's sure he'd love the parade.

“As long as he has somewhere to park, he's loving it,” Wootton said with a laugh.

Helene Finegold, 39, and Chuck Gottschalk, 45, of Point Breeze made the event a family affair with children Megan Gottschalk, 15, and Elsa, Rosie and James Blodgett, ages 6, 8 and 9 respectively. All were adorned with festive head wear, including fuzzy hats and neon mohawks.

“We came last year and had so much fun we came back,” said Chuck Gottschalk.

Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or rweaver@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.