Light Up Night is back, not just the event, per se, but the moniker.
It seems the folks behind the sparkle season hoo-ha believed they should get a tribute from all those communities that were using the ‘Light Up Night’ phrase without their blessing. Last year, in Sewickley, I think it was called Get Lit, or Sparkly Bulb Night, Tinkle Time or something like that, but everyone still, in hushed tones and darkened allies, called it Light Up Night.
So this year, Sewickley Borough paid the 100 bucks to the Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership, and, now, we can proudly and boldly, without fear of ridicule, litigation or broken thumbs, call the kickoff event for Yuletide in Sewickley Light Up Night ®.
This will be the first Light Up Night that I will miss since, probably, 1996. I have to work that night…for someone else.
I’ve put a lot of time into Light Up Night in my years as store owner and as a member of the Chamber of Commerce. There was one Light Up Night, probably in '96 or '97 where the Open Mind Bookstore was packed. I mean you could hardly move, but it was a blast, and we sold a lot of stuff. But every year was different.
The weather is always a factor. More than a couple of times it’s been so cold that dogs were frozen to fire hydrants but still people attended. (At least for a while, anyway.) On those cold nights, the restaurants and bars seemed to always be packed to the rafters, and that’s a good thing.
It looks like the weather on Friday is going to be ideal.
One year, it snowed all day and then got warm late in the afternoon. The streets were covered with inches of slush, and a thick fog dimmed the streetlights. It was like being in a Charles Dickens novel, but instead of charming street urchins who lived by their wits, we had slush balls flying through the air courtesy of local twits; they were the only ones brave enough to walk into the Village.
The most fun, though, that I had was probably dressing up as Frosty the Snowman.
It’s amazing to see the eyes of a child light up when they see one of their favorite holiday characters up close and life size, although sometimes it would scare the heck out of them. I posed for so many pictures as Frosty over the years. There were times though when I would get punched or the zipper on the costume would get pulled down, but overall it wasn’t so bad although they did rough up Larry the Laundromutt and the Ultimate Pastry Shop’s Pink Flamingo one year. It must have been a full moon.
One of my costume partners was Elmer Bohr. Elmer is still going strong reprising his role as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Elmer would always start asking me about being Rudolph in March and to make sure that I got the Rudolph costume. One year I picked up the costumes, and the reindeer’s nose did not light up. I made sure never to repeat that mistake.
So when you see Rudolph on Light Up Night or at the Santa Parade on Saturday (here’s a video featuring Rudolph and Frosty during the parade), make sure to wave hello or have your picture taken with him. It would mean a lot to him.
The promotion for this year’s Yuletide in Sewickley has been outstanding, and kudos to Village Green Partners for the work it's done, not just for this event but for all the group has done in the past year via Explore Sewickley. I think it’s made a huge difference in perception as well as performance; the holiday shopping season is off to a great start.
The new Web site, www.yuletideinsewickley.com has all the information readily available, and for those with smart phones, you can scan the barcode on any of the posters and get information directly to your phone. You have no excuses not to attend unless you are a stick in the mud.
Or you have to work.