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Pittsburghers Ring In 2012 At Annual First Night Celebration

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Thousands of people packed into the Cultural District Saturday night to ring in 2012 at the Highmark First Night Pittsburgh celebration, put on by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

A larger crowd than ever was expected to attend thanks to the forecast.

"The Cultural Trust has been doing First Night now, I think, for eight years," said Kevin McMahon, of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. "We're real excited about it tonight. We have more than 150 events."

KDKA's Ross Guidotti reports:

The celebration included something for everyone including fireworks, both in the sky and close to the ground, as well as dancing, plenty of concerts and so much more.

"We have an interactive video game, it's call Highmark First Night Bonanza," said Darcy Kucenic, of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. "It's on the Penn Avenue big screen, which is a huge jumbotron in the middle of Penn Avenue and everyone can play using their cell phone as the controller."

Meanwhile, many stopped to see a resolutions sculpture called "Message in a Bottle" by Pittsburgh artist Wendy Osher. It was designed to encourage eco-resolutions. People wrote their resolutions on recycled receipts, then put them into plastic bottles and added them to the work of art.

But not everyone chose a green resolution. Some focused on themselves, opting for the usual weight loss, saving money and working less resolutions. One woman says she doesn't bother to make resolutions, because "no one keeps them anyway!"

There were also fiery performances by the group, Steel Town Fire.

"We have to have a good chemistry on stage," said the group's Erika May. "This group is really lucky to have that. You need to know exactly where everyone is."

The devices and props vary, the only constants are exacting movement and the combination of oxygen heat and fuel.

"So, if we're out here for a half an hour entertaining, we've probably worked for individually another 60, 70, maybe 100 hours," says Chris Tsu Ruan, of Steel Town Fire. "Everybody comes from different backgrounds. We've got people from modern dance. We've got people from figure skating, people from belly dancing, everybody comes at it from a different angle, but we all have sort of a base skill that helped us get that first step."

Activities were held both indoors and outdoors and were fun for people of all ages.

Some who needed a little guidance on their resolutions, stopped to see fortune tellers.

Concerts were held up and down Penn Avenue throughout the evening, but the highlight was when Rusted Root took the main stage.

KDKA's Trina Orlando reports:

The band formed in Pittsburgh back in 1992 and is thrilled to be back celebrating the New Year with a hometown crowd. The New Year, 2012, is a big one for the band. They are preparing to launch a new album in the spring and they are also celebrating their 20th anniversary.

To help the band raise money for their new album, Fortunate Freaks, go to and click on the "store" button to get to the "Fortunate Freaks Unite" support page.

Highmark Pittsburgh First Night 2012
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