The winter holidays happen everywhere, but in the area around Pittsburgh,
there are places and attractions, traditions and events that make
the season special in a wonderfully local way. In a new program
Happy Holidays in Pittsburgh, WQED producer Rick Sebak
celebrates some of the things that people do in our area to help
brighten the long nights, to observe ancient customs and holy days,
and to bring in the new year with a big splash.
shot everything in the show last year between Light Up Night and
Chinese New Year," says Rick, "and now we've edited all
the footage down into a fast-moving and somewhat wacky package."
are segments about several holidays, including Hanukah, Ramadan,
Christmas and Kwanzaa, but there are also stories about the lights
at Hartwood Acres, shopping in the Strip, the big trees in the Hall
of Architecture at Carnegie Museum of Art, the Allegheny West House
Tour, and many more.
hope it's a show with lots of surprises," Rick adds, "because
I know we all were surprised many times by the wide range of local
celebrations and personal traditions that we found." And
no matter where you go at this time of year, you are going to see
lots of houses decorated with candles and greens and all sorts of
strings of lights.
the story we did about people and their decorated houses was really
fun," says Rick. "We just drove around until we saw a
display we liked, then I would go up and ring the doorbell, explain
what we were doing, and ask if the chief decorator would come out
and talk with us. Everybody said yes."
in any Sebak documentary, there is food. The Scandinavian Society
of Pittsburgh assembles an incredible smorgasbord for its annual
Christmas party. A Muslim family in Brookline makes Pakistani specialties
for dinner after sunset during Ramadan. There are potato latkes
at all the Hanukkah parties. On Christmas Eve, we visit one family
in Squirrel Hill that makes the traditional Italian feast of the
don't pretend that we have covered everything about the holidays
in Pittsburgh," says Rick. "It's a wonderful time
of year, and we wanted to celebrate just some of the things that
caught our attention and fit into our shooting schedule. We actually
hope that this program will be a huge success so that we can do
a follow-up or two in years to come."
Holidays in Pittsburgh is Rick's fifteenth program
in the unusual and multiple-award-winning Pittsburgh History Series,
his twenty-third major documentary for WQED since he came to work
here in 1987. This will be the first Pittsburgh History Series production
available on DVD as well as VHS.
Holidays in Pittsburgh was made possible by the Buhl
Foundation, with additional support from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation,
the Tippins Foundation, and by contributions from members of WQED.
Sebak produced, wrote and narrated the program; Kevin Conrad edited
it; Buck Brinson, Mark Knobil, Bob Lubomski, Paul Ruggieri and Steve
Willing ran the camera; Minette Seate was Associate Producer; Matt
Conrad was Associate Editor; and Patty Walker was Project Director.
programs are available on home video as part of WQED's Pittsburgh
Home Video Collection, available by calling 1-800-274-1307 or by