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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 4 for the past twenty 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?

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MD September 10, 2012 at 06:54 PM
It was better for the County to spend the money on reassessments,I know the courts caused them to spend the 11+ MILLIONS it keeeps growing growing growing.......
Emily Myers September 10, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I don't understand how they can only have raised $160,000 at 170,000 visitors?? Let's just say that there were only 2 people per car, thats still 85,000 cars at $15 a car... that is over $1,200,000- where did all that money go?
lemieuxscores September 10, 2012 at 09:51 PM
This is another example of things to come for Allegheny County and the US in general. Allegheny county is stuck forking out the salaries of its overpaid public employees, not to mention their bloated pensions. Taxes will continue to rise unless there are drastic changes and things like Hartwood will continue to disappear. Another sad day for taxpayers.
Reba's Pet Service September 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM
So Sad there won't be a Celebration of Lights I really enjoyed going to this with my family every year. Unfortunately the cost of everything has gone up. We really need to buckle down and try to make changes. Gas prices are insane these days, which just drives everything else up also. Hope it will come back someday, it would be a shame for it to just become a part of history.
Dawn Weichler September 11, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I would think UPMC a supposed non-profit organization can sponsor the entire event... Seeing as they said, recent figures were 10.2 billion in revenue!!! I don't think that is an unreasonable request...
Joe September 12, 2012 at 03:46 AM
It cost the taxpayers 1. 5 mil and netted 160,000 for charity what a joke just over 10 percent. Just give the 1.5 mil to charity because they will get it from us taxpayers one way or the other.
Joe September 12, 2012 at 03:49 AM
upmc u probably might consider paying taxes right
Dawn Weichler September 12, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I said that a long time ago... UPMC buys up an astronomical amount of property and doesn't pay taxes on it... We wouldn't have financial problems in this county if they even paid 1% of their supposed non-profit... With a figure of 10.2 billion how in the world does anyone justify them as non-profit... Did you ever try just going to one of their facilities to get treated without money... Not going to happen...

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