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Light-Up Night in Irwin to offer something for everyone

| Friday, Nov. 13, 2009

Light-Up Night has signified the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season for decades.

While there has been a big event in Pittsburgh every year, locals know an exciting Light-Up Night exists right in downtown Irwin.

Marking its 28th year, the Irwin Light-Up Night will be held Thursday.

The annual tree lighting will take place in the parking lot at the corner of 3rd and Main streets. Entertainment begins in the parking lot at 5 p.m., although the event features performances at multiple locations throughout downtown Irwin.

The parade itself is comprised of more than 70 groups of participants for the six-block route. The annual event is a huge draw, bringing in crowds anywhere from 7,000-10,000, depending on the weather.

"Like they say, you never see parades in strip malls," said Donn Henderson, Irwin Main Street Project manager. "This is only my third year here, but the first year Light-Up Night brought in 9,000 people. That effectively doubles the size of the town which has about 4,800 residents.

"Not being from the area, I was quite stunned."

Henderson added that the obvious draw is that huge events like this get people comfortable with shopping in downtown Irwin and exposes stores to huge numbers of people."

Participants like the Youngtimers, a community theater group based out of Covenant Hall in downtown Irwin, have been involved with the parade year after year.

Artistic director Maria Pealstrom said that since Covenant Hall's creation, it has been a participant in the parade since 2006. Each year they have created a different Christmas theme for their float in the parade and for their entertainment afterwards.

This year they are doing a rendition of "Babes in Toyland."

"There are about 20 participants on the float with characters like Mother Goose, Tom Thumb and even pirates," Pealstrom said, noting this will be a musical rendition of old storybook favorites. "After the parade, we're planning to have the train from the parade and the characters from the performance available to meet kids and take pictures at Covenant Hall. We're also offering entertainment during the parade so that older people and anyone not wanting to be out in the cold can be entertained and get something warm to drink."

During the parade, Bob Spear of Spear Plumbing in downtown Irwin and his friend, Ed Lovejoy, will perform Slovenian polkas and waltzes on the banjo and button box in Covenant Hall, located on the corner of Fourth and Maple streets.

Shuttles will run 4-9 p.m. from Norwin Hill Shopping Plaza near the Excela building.

For more information on the event, contact the Irwin Main Street Project at 724-296-8074 or visit its Web site at www.irwinpa.org .

Light-Up Night Schedule

Third and Main street parking lot

5-5:25 p.m. Mistro Minds

5:25-6 p.m. Janet's School of Dance

6- 6:25 p.m. Queen of Angels Show Choir

6:25 p.m. Tree Lighting

6:30 p.m. Parade

S&T Bank parking lot

(immediately after parade)

Visit with Santa

First Presbyterian Church

(Performances immediately after parade)

Norwin High School Show Choir

Norwin High School Select Choir

Norwin Chamber Orchestra

Covenant Hall

(Bake sale and hot beverages and entertainment throughout the night)

5:30-6 p.m. Laurel Youth Ballet Company

6 p.m. Bob Spear and Ed Lovejoy (Slovenian music on banjo and button box)

After parade

Youngtimers' performance of "Babes in Toyland"

Elena's Elite School of Dance

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