North Park Laser Show Is Something New in 2020

The 45-minute display, set to music, can be enjoyed from the safety and warmth of your own car.

Celebrating the holiday together has been far from easy this year, but Allegheny County’s Parks Department is up to the challenge.

The Holiday Laser Show, created by North Carolina-based Emerald Owl Productions, is set to music ranging from Bing Crosby’s soothing Christmas classics to the raucous rock tunes of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The 45-minute show, with audience members parked in the lot of the North Park Swimming Pool, is a welcome addition and it could become a local holiday tradition.

“While we may be doing things differently this year, it doesn’t mean that we can’t still be social or celebrate the holiday. We just need to do it in different ways,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in the event’s program. “By working together, and following the guidance of health experts, we will all have many holiday events to celebrate and enjoy.”

Kevin Evanto, the county’s chief marketing officer, says the event was designed to be accessible after a tough year. “One of the things that we also did was [ensure] that it was really affordable for people. A lot of people are hurting. Times are tough.” Tickets are $15 per car on weeknights and $20 per car on weekends for Allegheny County residents; a small added fee applies to visitors from other counties. “We wanted to price it at a point that we felt a lot of people would be able to afford,” Evanto says, adding that proceeds for the event will benefit The Kane Foundation, helping to enrich the lives of county seniors after a particularly challenging year.

While the audience is encouraged to remain in their cars, they are also invited to honk their horns and flash their headlights for their favorite songs. The county needed to get permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to stage the show; occasional pauses occur mid-program if an aircraft gets too close.

While the show was brought to Pittsburgh as a pandemic-era event, it could become a regular feature. “If you miss it this year, watch for it next year,” says Evanto, noting that very limited tickets (about 100 total throughout the remaining show nights) are remaining. “People are excited — especially now, [when] there’s not a lot to do, but this is definitely something you can do as a family” regardless of social distancing.

Despite the event’s popularity, it must close this weekend; the producers are headed back home for the holiday. “People just really, really loved it,” Evanto says. “We’re getting emails from people, ‘I had a great time, I told my neighbors, tickets are running out!’ I think it’s kind of taken on a life of its own.”

Categories: The 412