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Sights And Sounds Of Pittsburgh Holiday Traditions

On this special edition of Essential Pittsburgh we'll enjoy the sights and sounds of the Steel City's holiday traditions. Included in our jaunt around the city, via a decorated Port Authority bus, are stops at the Benedum for a dress rehearsal of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker, tour Clayton Mansion at The Frick and more.

Christmas at Clayton

Our look at the holiday sights and sounds of Pittsburgh begins with a tour of Clayton – the home of Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Decorative arts curator Dawn Reid explains the planning behind this year’s holiday theme and gives us a glimpse of an early 20th-century Christmas. 

The Nutcracker

It wouldn’t be the holidays without a performance of the Nutcracker. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr tells us about the staging of this year’s production which includes some special Pittsburgh touches. 


Holiday Bus

A talking Santa Claus, a snow machine blowing bubbles and Christmas lights; all adorn Bill Sanfilippo’s Port Authority bus as he drives his route through Allegheny County. Decorating his bus has become a holiday tradition and we'll take a ride with Bill Sanfillipo as he spreads Christmas cheer. 

Lighting the Menorah

Our celebration of the season continues with the lighting of the menorah with Mayor Bill Peduto. We'll also learn about the meaning of Hanukkah with Rabbi Yisroel Altein and hear a song from the Yeshiva Boys Choir.  

A Yinzer Night Before Christmas

We’re all familiar with the classic poem A Visit From St. Nick, better known as the Night Before Christmas. Cartoonist and pop-culture contributor Joe Wos gets into the holiday spirit by giving the beloved narrative a Pittsburgh spin.

Sounds of the Season

The PPG Winter Garden stage is hosting a number musical performances during the holiday season. We’ll hear from the Penn Trafford Community Band and speak with founder and  band manager Ron Rometo and trombonist Brian Silowash.


Christmas Around the World

How do the many nations of the world celebrate the holidays?  E. Maxine Bruhns, director of the University of Pittsburgh Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs serves as our tour guide for a sampling of Christmas around the world.

More Essential Pittsburgh Segments can be heard here.

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