Colorful bulbs reaching to the sky will alight on Thanksgiving eve in a decades-long tradition that’s transformed into a block party full of holiday cheer.
The lights running up the radio tower atop The Scranton Times Building, 149 Penn Ave., will turn on tonight at 6 during the free annual festivities that include food, music, movies and fireworks.
“It’s a good little family thing to do while the family’s getting together,” said Ian L. Lopera, marketing and events coordinator for Times-Shamrock Communications. “Especially (with) a fireworks show, it’s always nice to get out and have a spectacle like that. … Anything associated with the Times and family kind of makes sense.”
The action starts at 4 p.m., when the building will open to guests to watch holiday movies in the fifth-floor auditorium. Short films will be shown at 4 and 5, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Meanwhile, outdoors, visitors can check out an exhibit of holidays photos from The Times-Tribune archives in the Newseum adjacent to the building on Penn Avenue and get a peek at Santa’s printing press through the windows of the historic pressroom along Spruce Street. Music and entertainment will take place on a stage in front of the building.
“We’ve got the Jingle Girls coming back from Ballet Theatre of Scranton,” Lopera said. “They’ll be there all dressed up, and they might bring some toy soldiers with them. And we’ve got DJ Jamie Callen, (who) is going to come and bring all the holiday classics for us.”
While they enjoy the entertainment, guests can pick up dinner and drinks, too. Zummo’s Cafe from Scranton’s Green Ridge section will bring hot beverages, while Scranton food truck Truck’n Kitchen will sell its unique eats.
“They’ve got a big variety of things,” Lopera said. “They do a Buffalo pierogie, they do cheesesteaks and kind of out-of-the box burgers. And they have a really wide variety of options.”
Former West Scranton High School and Penn State University standout football player Matt McGloin, who was recently cut from the NFL’s Houston Texans, will pull the switch to light the tower at 6 p.m.
“He’s a pretty prominent figure from Scranton, and we figured if he was available that would be great to have him along,” Lopera said.
Rock 107 will broadcast the countdown live. Weather permitting, the fireworks will immediately follow, launching from the Electric City parking garage across from the Times building. Activities will wrap up by 7.
To accommodate the event, the 100 block of Penn Avenue will close at 7 a.m., and the 200 block of Penn Avenue and the 200 and 300 blocks of Spruce Street will close around 4:30.
Lopera said he looks forward to seeing everyone coming together and filling up the streets to watch the fireworks.
“(It’s) just a good feeling to have everyone out there and be together,” he said.

If you go

What: Annual Scranton Times Building radio tower lighting and festivities

When: Wednesday, Nov. 23, 4-7 p.m.

Where: The Scranton Times Building, 149 Penn Ave.

Details: Admission is free. Call 570-348-9100 for more information