Citing increased costs and decreased sponsorships, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced Monday that he is suspending the annual "Celebration of Lights" display at Hartwood Acres.
"This is not a decision that we made lightly," Fitzgerald said in a press release. "The Celebration of Lights has been a great holiday tradition since 1991.
"“The cost to operate the event has increased year after year, and unfortunately, sponsorships have declined."
Fitzgerald says the event costs a total of $1.5 million to run every year with the proceeds going to local charities. Last year with corporate sponsorships on the decline, county taxpayers had to pay the majority of those costs.
The full release follows the jump.
Fitzgerald Suspends Celebration of Lights Due to High Costs, Low Sponsorships
PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County announced today that the Annual Celebration of Lights at Hartwood Acres Park will be suspended due to increasing costs and declining sponsorships, particularly in light of the county’s limited financial resources.
“This is not a decision that we made lightly. The Celebration of Lights has been a great holiday tradition since 1991. We have been proud to partner with the Salvation Army and WTAE TV 4 for the past twenty years on this and are gratified that we have helped to generate $3.7 million in revenues for Project Bundle-Up and other local charities during that time,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The cost to operate the event has increased year after year, and unfortunately, sponsorships have declined. Last year, taxpayers had to cover most of the Celebration of Lights’ $1.5 million cost. With the county’s limited financial resources, it is just not something that we are able to continue offering.”
The Celebration of Lights was begun in 1991 with 28 displays and 250,000 lights. This past year, over 2 millions lights were in the three-mile drive, drawing 170,000 visitors and generating $160,000 for charity.
“We also recognize that this decision is going to have an impact upon WTAE Project Bundle UP & Salvation Army. My administration is committed to doing anything we can do to help them offset that loss and we look forward to partnering with them to meet their mission of providing new winter outwear for disadvantaged children and seniors across Western Pennsylvania,” said Fitzgerald