• Pittsburgh's flashy Fourth of July celebration hours from launch

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    The party will be going full blast in Downtown Pittsburgh today, and Channel 11 will be there every step of the way.
     
    The Celebrate America event, centered on Point State Park, is Pittsburgh’s official Fourth of July celebration, and it kicks off at noon with a flag raising, music, food and children’s activities. About 50,000 people are expected to attend the event.
     
     
    It will build until 9:30 p.m., when the EQT Flashes of Freedom fireworks show launches from barges at the Point. Those who can't see it in person can watch it exclusively on WPXI-TV, with coverage beginning at 9 p.m.

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    Fifty thousand people are expected Downtown for the event, and they’ll have to navigate some minor road closures and parking limitations.
     
    The area of Forbes Avenue and Wood Street will be closed to parking - city officials say motorists should take advantage of one of the several parking garages Downtown.
     
     
    Spectators heading to the popular fireworks viewing area along Grandview Avenue in Mt. Washington will not be able to turn left on Grandview from PJ McArdle Roadway until after the fireworks display is over.
     
    If you're venturing out on the water on a boat, you'll have to launch by 7:30 p.m.
     
    City officials are stressing spectator safety, with police and safety personnel meeting today to go over last-minute details. Among their plans this year are better lighting and a command center.
     
    "You'll see road blocks with the snow plows for barricade situations, with what's going on domestically and worldwide," said Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich. "We're trying to do with away with wooden barricades."
     
    Visitors will see lots of police in uniform and on horseback, and they'll be accompanied by less-visible plainclothes officers as well. Also, security personnel will be searching bags as soon as visitors enter the park. Alcohol is not permitted.
     
    The focus on safety comes a year after four people were shot near the Wood Street T station following a Fourth of July fireworks show.

     

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