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No Celebration of Lights at Hartwood Acres This Year

Due to increasing costs and declining sponsorship, Allegheny County will not hold the Celebration of Lights at Hartwood Acres this year.

The holiday season will lack a bit of light in Pittsburgh this year.

Allegheny County officials said Monday that the annual Celebration of Lights at Hartwood Acres Park will be suspended this year. Increasing costs and declining sponsorships, particularly in light of the county's limited financial resources, are to blame.

“This is not a decision that we made lightly. The Celebration of Lights has been a great holiday tradition since 1991. We have been proud to partner with the Salvation Army and WTAE-TV for the past 20 years on this and are gratified that we have helped to generate $3.7 million in revenues for Project Bundle-Up and other local charities during that time,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, in a statement released Monday. “The cost to operate the event has increased year after year, and unfortunately, sponsorships have declined. Last year, taxpayers had to cover most of the Celebration of Lights’ $1.5 million cost. With the county’s limited financial resources, it is just not something that we are able to continue offering.”

The Celebration of Lights began in 1991 with 28 displays and 250,000 lights. In 2011, more than two million lights were part of the three-mile drive, which drew 170,000 visitors and generated $160,000 for charity.

“We also recognize that this decision is going to have an impact upon WTAE Project Bundle UP & Salvation Army. My administration is committed to doing anything we can do to help them offset that loss and we look forward to partnering with them to meet their mission of providing new winter outwear for disadvantaged children and seniors across Western Pennsylvania,” said Fitzgerald.

Was the Celebration of Lights a holiday tradition for your family? What do you think of the decision to suspend it? Tell us in the comments.

Jay Bahr September 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM
I am in no way, shape or form a Fitzgerald fan - but i commend him on a tough situation and a difficult call. On a much larger National Scale - Welcome to the "New Normal" my friends. Were mediocrity is applauded, success is booed and we all end up suffering. We might as well cancel Christmas altogether. The money we spend on food and gifts might be better served forwarding the the city's underfunded retirement benefit plans. Right Rich??
Becky Brindle September 11, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I missed out on driving through the light display last year. Now I really wish I would have gone!
USC Parent September 13, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Tax dollars come in and then will be eventually 100% sent to support public sector unions. No more lights, no more 4th of July fireworks. We just end up working for them. This is how Greece got started.

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