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UPJ's light-up night brings residents together in Moxham

On Tuesday night, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s president, Jem Spectar, led the countdown to light 21,000 lights in the Park Avenue Playground in Johnstown’s Moxham neighborhood. (WJAC)

JOHNSTOWN -- The time to put up the lights and decorations is officially here and many throughout the region are bringing in the holiday in their own special way.

On Tuesday night, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s president, Jem Spectar, led the countdown to light 21,000 lights in the Park Avenue Playground in Johnstown’s Moxham neighborhood.

"We think the lights represent hope, represent good will and represent the good work that people in the city are doing to make our community a better place," Spectar said.

The annual UPJ Light-Up Night brings together the community to enjoy the display.

"It's really pretty and the tree's right there and everything's just really pretty," said 9-year-old Nalonai Tisinger.

While the kids admired the lights, they also received a gift from UPJ: a new book.

It’s an opportunity to keep everyone's minds active and learning.

"As a university, we're vested in getting the students, future students educated and making sure that they love to read so that they can come along to UPJ afterwards," said Sherri Rae, director of housing.

Underneath the twinkling lights, many parents were happy to have positive events to take their kids to.

"Especially with all the violence going on out here, it's great to see things like this going on for the children," Javin Christian said.

"It's good to celebrate Christmas with everybody, and some people you don't know and you still celebrate with them," said Donte Tisinger, standing with his friends.

Spectar says the event celebrates the city and the spirit of the season.

The event is part of the “Pitt-Johnstown @ Your Service Program" which has devoted more than 5,000 hours since 2014.

The decorations will be up for the rest of the holiday season.

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