First Evening Pittsburgh guarantees fireworks, music, enjoyable and large rabbits

When you think of New Year’s Eve, the first thing you probably don’t think of is rabbits.

Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2022 could change that.

“A highlight of this year’s event, ‘Intrude’ from Parer Studios in Australia is a real spectacle,” says Sarah Aziz, director of festival management at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, who is organizing the celebrations. “These gigantic, lighted bunnies that will conquer the 8th Street block of the (cultural) district are not to be missed.”

If you join the giant rabbits at the New Year’s Eve celebrations, a slew of indoor and outdoor events are held across the entire 14-block radius of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. The evening starts with a bang over the Dollar Bank Children’s Fireworks at 6:05 p.m. and ends the same way with the Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale live music and fireworks at midnight.

The midnight music headliner will be the Byron Nash Trio, playing on the Highmark Stage on Penn Avenue and Stanwix Street from 10:45 p.m. to midnight.

Intrude, presented as part of First Night and the EQT Children’s Theater Festival, will be on show at Eighth Street Lot and Trust Oasis at 133 7th Street through January 28th.

“Since the largest (rabbit) is 15 meters … the public artwork is inflated and deflated daily, which means the three rabbits wake up and go to sleep,” Aziz said.

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The New Years Eve Parade takes place along Penn Avenue during the Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2020 event.

This year’s art-oriented, family-friendly events will be presented outdoors on four stages and other activity spaces and indoors in fine art galleries and selected performance rooms. All are presented for free, although tickets are required for some indoor events.

During the six-hour celebration, visitors can partake in comedy, dance, music, magic, theater, visual arts, and more, as well as hands-on activities for all ages, including the following events:

‘Penetration’ by Parer Studio

Trust Oasis, 133 7th St. and 8th Street Lot on Penn Avenue and 8th Street, 6-11pm

The installation includes three 12-foot creatures in the Trust Oasis and a 15-foot Mama Bunny on the Eighth Street property.

Amanda Parer and her Parer Studio created “Intrude” to contrast the rabbit’s fairytale innocence with the destruction and ecological imbalance they cause in the artist’s homeland, Australia. “The piece’s visual humor draws audiences into the artwork only to reveal the more serious environmental messages that form the basis of the work,” the Trust said.

Family tent

8th Street Lot at Penn and 8th Street, 6-10 p.m.

Provides a place for families to warm up, hear a story, and participate in local organization activities.

Williams Sing-Off Competition Winner

7th Street between Penn and Liberty Avenues, 6:00 p.m.

Every year dozens of young, aspiring musicians step forward to become finalists in the Williams Sing-Off competition. The winner will appear on the Dollar Bank Stage and receive additional prizes. Adam Pascal is the special guest judge.

New Years Parade

Penn Avenue, 10th Street to Stanwix Street, 8:00 p.m.-8: 30 p.m.

Studio Capezzuti returns with its signature giant dolls for this year’s parade, presented by Giant Eagle.

EQT Plaza

625 Liberty Avenue, 6:30 pm-10:30pm

Soul Line Dancing with Roland Ford presents interactive dance sessions at 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Highlight stage

Penn Avenue and Stanwix Street

The schedule includes:

• Zuzu African Acrobats, 6:30 pm-7:00pm, 7:30 pm-8:00pm and 9:21:30 pm

Performing traditional African acrobatics, passed down from generations of Bantu people in East Africa, the troupe combines circus arts with traditional dance movement and music.

• Byron Nash Trio, 10:45 pm-midnight

The group was one of the hottest acts in Pittsburgh in 2021, performing on the Allegheny Overlook Stage, Market Square Music Series, Picklesburgh, and the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. Nash is known for his electrifying guitar playing, powerful stage presence, explosive energy and creative versatility.

Dollar bank stage

7th Street between Penn and Liberty Avenues

• Williams Sing-Off Winner, 6:00 pm

• Dollar Bank children’s fireworks at 6:05 pm

• Baby Rave, child-friendly dance and music event with a DJ, 6.15 p.m. The session is aimed at 0-5 years, but can be enjoyed by all age groups.

• Nay Hundo, aspiring rapper from Pittsburgh, 9pm

Eighth Street Stage

8th Street Lot at Penn and 8th Street

• Ice Creations, energetic fire and ice carving show, 6 pm, 7 am, 9:30 pm and 10 pm

• Steel Town Fire, local fire service company, 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm

Heinz Hall Hofbühne

6th Street and Liberty Avenue

• River City Brasstacular, a mix of holiday, classical, jazz, rock and Broadway favorites, 6:15 pm and 7:15 pm

• Jay Michaels, Pittsburgh soul and spoken word singer / songwriter, 8:45 pm

• Trinity Wiseman, pop, country and folk originals and cover songs, 9:45 pm

Indoor stages

• Arcade Comedy Theater, local stand-up comedian Suzanne Lawrence, 7 am, 8:30 pm and 10:00 pm

• Bricolage Theater, Saudade: A Sense of Play Immersive Theater, 5pm – 11pm

• Harris Theater, A Harris Theater Time Capsule on the Big Screen, 7:45 am to 8:15 am, 8:45 pm to 9:15 am, 9:45 am to 10:15 am and 10:45 pm to 11:15 pm

• Liberty Magic, sleight-of-hand magician Siegfried Tieber, 19-19: 20, 20: 30-20: 50 and 22-22: 20

A free ticket is required for select indoor performances at Bricolage, Harris Theater and Liberty Magic due to limited capacity. Tickets for these events can be reserved on the Trust website.

Fine art galleries

The following galleries in the cultural quarter are open from 6pm to 11pm:

• 820 Liberty Gallery, “InVisible” by The Colored Section Black Artists’ Collective.

• 937 Liberty Gallery, “Among Women: Contemporary Art from Serbia”, works by 11 Serbian artists.

• 707 Penn Gallery, “It’s All For Tonight” by Wren. ”

• SPACE, “FRILLS: Glories, Excess, and Getting Weird”.

• Wood Street Galleries, “New Work by Matthew Schreiber”, including drawing, performance, sculpture, video and light.

health and safety

Highmark First Night Pittsburgh events are covered by the health and safety measures of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Vaccines and masks are not required at outdoor events, but the Trust does encourage the use of masks regardless of vaccination status. In galleries, masks must be worn by everyone, regardless of age.

For indoor ticket events, guests must present a vaccination card and a valid ID with their reserved ticket and mask them for the duration of the visit. Guests under the age of 12 do not need to be vaccinated but must wear a mask and be accompanied by an adult who meets the health and safety requirements of the venue.

The Trust is also offering a First Night Friends VIP experience with perks like a First Night Friends 2022 lighted button, plus hot drinks, sweet treats, and happiness from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in the citizen-sponsored First Night Friends Lounge.

First Night Friends receive extended access to seating for selected outdoor festival events, guaranteed access to selected indoor performances and a reserved and prepaid space per household in the garage on Theater Square.

For more information or to reserve tickets for selected events, visit

Shirley McMarlin is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750,, or on Twitter.

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