Christmas-shopping extravaganza at Macy’s

They can’t bring back Kaufmann’s, but Macy’s department store plans to carry on a holiday tradition that was established by the venerable downtown store.

Macy’s will host “A Very Merry Evening” from 6-10 p.m. Wednesday at the former Kaufmann’s at Forbes and Fifth avenues, downtown. Kaufmann’s established the annual holiday extravaganza about 10 years ago to benefit local charities and to kick off its Christmas shopping season.

And while the name and some of the brands might have changed, those who buy a $10 ticket still can enjoy a private shopping experience replete with carolers, a fashion show, live entertainment and local media celebrities serving drinks and hors d’ouevres.

This year, Macy’s continued the Kaufmann’s tradition by giving advance tickets to more than 50 charities.  One of those is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. All of the charities get to keep 100 percent of the proceeds from the tickets they sell.

In addition to a fashion show featuring brands exclusive to Macy’s, the evening will include entertainment from the Macy’s Stars Dancers, the CLO Mini Stars and the Southminster Ringers. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre dancers will perform excerpts from “The Nutcracker”. New this year will be a class in tea etiquette and a sampling of tea and scones.

Another of this year’s charity recipients usually is the one giving out the tickets. Tickets for Kids Foundation is an Aspinwall-based charity who works with social-service agencies and grassroots community organizations to provide free tickets to arts and sporting events to needy children. The tickets are donated by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Zoo and Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, among many others.

Kaufmann’s was founded in 1871 as a tailor shop by brothers Jacob and Isaac Kaufmann. In 1877, they moved their store from the South Side to Downtown, where it eventually was 755,000 square feet of merchandising space and offices on 15 floors between Forbes and Fifth avenues.

Tickets sold at the door Wednesday evening will benefit Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.