Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fire, Ice Welcome 2014 "Ice Labyrinth,' Other Attractions Spread Cheer as Pittsburgh Heralds New Year Downtown

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fire, Ice Welcome 2014 "Ice Labyrinth,' Other Attractions Spread Cheer as Pittsburgh Heralds New Year Downtown

Article excerpt

Ice-carver Richard Bubin gave the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust three options when he was asked to build an "ice labyrinth" for the 20th anniversary of the city's annual Downtown New Year's Eve party: small, medium or large.

The trust opted for large, and Mr. Bubin and his team of about a dozen helpers got to work, building the glistening maze of 325- pound blocks, complete with two nearly 7-foot-tall ice thrones, in about two days.

"They asked me to kick it up a notch," said Mr. Bubin, the owner of Ice Creations, an ice-sculpting company in Churchill.

The labyrinth, which will be broken down and reassembled at Boyce Park as long as the cold weather lasts, was one of the signature draws among dozens of attractions, including concerts, a parade, face-painting, theater performances and fireworks, at Highmark First Night, a family-friendly celebration centered in the Cultural District that was expected to draw at least 35,000 people Tuesday night.

"They're amazed," said Mr. Bubin, 52. "There's a line around the block and down the street to get in."

Kevin Lowen, 11, and his brother Brian, 8, of Hershey, Pa., certainly had never seen anything like it.

"It's awesome," Kevin said.

The boys' parents, Barry and Michele Lowen, said they returned to First Night after a 10-year lapse because they're moving back to Pittsburgh after Mr. Lowen's retirement from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

"We're looking for all the cool, fun things to do," Mrs. Lowen said.

So was Gov. Tom Corbett, who stopped into the lounge at the Benedum Center with his wife, Susan, for his first First Night in Pittsburgh as governor and a break from the state budget process.

"It's great to be home for both my wife and I. We look forward to 2014," said the governor, who grew up in Shaler and still has a permanent home there.

Mr. Corbett, who is running for re-election this year, recalled the thrill of the Pirates playoff run and hoped for a repeat in 2014. …

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