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Light Up Night Expected To Light Up Cash Registers

With an estimated 850,000 holiday celebrants heading into downtown Pittsburgh this weekend for Light Up Night and the carryover events Saturday, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is hoping to generate as much revenue as possible for its members. 

Duquesne University marketing professor Audrey Gusky predicts shoppers will leave about $20 million downtown this weekend, which is much more than it has been in the past.

“If you can believe it this is the 54th annual Light Up Night, and it has really blossomed and changed over the last 50 years,” Guskey said.

Events have been planed for the Golden Triangle for every weekend between now and the end of the year, and Guskey thinks that is important.

“It gets people more comfortable with going Downtown. It makes them realize the wonderful opportunities as far as different retailers and shops that they have,” Guskey said. “And perhaps, in addition to just coming down on Light Up Night, people will continue to shop really throughout the entire holiday season downtown.”

Guskey notes that while there is only on department store still downtown there are still specialty shops that could draw consumers.

It is unclear just what the event will do for the city’s coffers. Parking will be free at the lots and meters controlled by the city and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority and some complain that other business districts in the city suffer. However, others like Guskey believe much of the spending comes from those that would have more likely gone to suburban shops and malls. 

“When you’re coming downtown it’s a full package. In addition to shopping adventures you have restaurants and entertainment venues. So it really a great downtown area,” Guskey said who also notes the free parking is an important part of that package. “If you can all of those amenities and even more in the downtown area then I think people are recognizing that and looking forward to coming to the Golden Triangle and spend some money.”