Get Some Potato Patch in Your Stocking
Kennywood Park is transformed into a holiday wonderland, complete with the state's tallest Christmas tree.
Photo by David Fulmer on Flickr
ADD POTATO PATCH FRIES TO YOUR LIST OF HOLIDAY TRADITIONS
Got a Grinch on your hands? In need of holiday activities for a Mr. Scrooge of any age? Kennywood’s Holiday Lights will be up and running from 5-9 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night through Dec. 27. In addition to a selection of weather-friendly rides and plenty of signature park food — yes, the Potato Patch is open — there’s plenty of holiday cheer trimming the park.
Kennywood’s 90-foot tall Christmas tree, breaking Pennsylvania records this year, will be ceremoniously lit each night. Feel like heading inside and warming up? Kennywood’s 4-D Theater will be screening a selection from “The Polar Express.” Hyped up on gingerbread cookies? Jingle all the sugar away at Parker’s Dance Party. Our own Rick Sebak (Dec. 12) and Meghan Klingenberg (Dec. 20) will be among the special guests performing public readings of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Space is limited for dinner buffets with Santa himself, so sign up ASAP. And don’t miss the model trains, cookie decorating, and pictures with Santa either.
(4800 Kennywood Blvd., West Mifflin; click here for more info and tickets)
— Lauralei Kraski, PM Editorial Intern
FROM THE EAST COAST, A NEW BURGER APPEARS
We’ll admit it: The fact that Pittsburgh gets the first inland outpost of buzzing restaurant Bill's Bar & Burger gets us excited, even before we try the offerings. Bill's Pittsburgh is just the fifth joint in the chain, which launched in Manhattan in 2009; three are in New York, one is in Atlantic City and the other opened in April in the former location of the Original Fish Market inside the Westin Convention Center hotel. While we appreciate the local nods on the menu — seems they figured out we like pierogies — this week’s edition of After Dark is determined to evaluate the specialty ground-beef blend and signature shakes, to see if this newcomer can stand up to our favorite local burger masters.
THE PEOPLES GAS HOLIDAY MARKET IS DEFINITELY BETTER THAN THE MALL
Don’t get too mad at yourself. No one can really remember what gifts they’ve bought for family members year to year — at least not more than a couple of years back. Have you done candle holders yet? Scarves? Who did you buy a record player for? What happened in 2012? You can drive yourself to distraction trying to answer these questions, or you can simply head to the Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square for a one-of-a-kind gift for everyone on your list. It’s not just shopping, either — catch live entertainment, take in a dazzling light display and (with a canned food donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank) get a free photo with Santa. Who says holiday shopping has to be a grind? Come downtown and browse in style.
(Market Square, downtown; opens daily at 11 a.m., closes at 8 p.m. Mon-Thu, 9:30 p.m. Fri-Sat and 6 p.m. Sun; click here for more info and Santa’s House hours)
— Sean Collier, PM Associate Editor
IN THEATERS: That relative quiet at the multiplex is the calm before “Star Wars” hits later this month. This week’s new releases include the holiday horror-comedy “Krampus” and Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq,” but most studios are taking the next few weeks off before “The Force Awakens” breaks records — and is followed by a wave of Oscar hopefuls.
Suit the kids up in their holiday best and show them what a fancy downtown party is like this Sunday, as Pittsburgh Mercy hosts its 12th annual Reindeer Ball. Get your tickets here (and do so now, as they won’t be available at the door). — S.C.
Been on a submarine lately? After getting a fresh coat of paint, the U.S.S. Requin at the Carnegie Science Center once again is open for self-guided tours tours. Stop by daily through Jan. 3, weather permitting. — S.C.