Summer Festival Preview

By: Katie Auwaerter | Assistant Features Editor

Everyone loves Pittsburgh. This city is no longer known just for steel, and it’s gaining the attention of businesses and organizations on a national level. Whether being declared ‘Most Livable City’ by Forbes or the ‘Next Hipster Haven’ by Business Insider, people are taking advantage of Pittsburgh’s potential by making it the host city for a number of festivals and conventions. Since school’s (almost) out for summer, take advantage of some of the following events san-school work.

Venture Outdoors Festival: May 17

After being stuck in the library for the entire week of finals, go outside to the Venture Outdoors Festival at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. This free event, which runs May 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., offers a wide variety of activities to get you off the couch and enjoy the beautiful weather of the Steel City.

Venture Outdoors, a local non-profit organization, brings together more than 500 public programs to get people outside, such as hiking, fly-fishing and geocaching trips.

Yoga on Fremont, a yoga studio in Bellevue, will hold 25-minute yoga classes every half hour starting at 11:30 a.m. Attendees can bike through Pittsburgh on their own or on a guided tour provided by Venture Outdoors.
For those with steady sea legs, the festival offers plenty of on-the-water activities. Kayak Pittsburgh, a project of Venture Outdoors, will have kayaks ready for you to take out on to the Allegheny River. Attendees can step aboard the RiverQuest Explorer, the world’s first green boat built for river education, and participate in activities where they can learn more about the importance of our rivers.

The nearby Fort Pitt Museum will have demonstrations of leisure activities of the 1760’s, such as archery, preparing deer hides and much more.

Three Rivers Arts Festival: June 6 to June 15

Celebrating its 55th year in Pittsburgh, the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival will be held from June 6 to 15. This free 10 day festival, organized by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, aims to show the importance of both visual and performing art to its attendees, according to the vision on their website.

The different activities of the festival can be found throughout downtown Pittsburgh and the Cultural District. In the past, the Artists market, which is made up of hundreds of artists from across the country, has been located at Gateway Center Plaza in recent years.

The Three Rivers Arts Festival has brought some big names in music, literature, and art to the Pittsburgh area. From jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald and ‘pioneer of soul’ that is Ray Charles, to pop art icon Keith Haring and Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, The Three Rivers Arts Festival continues to bring a rich artistic culture to the city of Pittsburgh.

The festival is most known for its music, garnering performances of big-name acts such as Sonic Youth and The Black Keys. Located at Point State Park is the festival’s main stage, where this year’s artists will include Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Grammy Award winner Lucinda Williams and more.

The festival will also feature smaller musical acts like British band Kaiser Chiefs, Grammy-winning vocalist Sam Bush, and hometown favorites, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Celebrate America at Kennywood: July 1 to July 6

What better way to celebrate America’s 238th birthday than with fireworks and festivities at Kennywood amusement park in West Mifflin?

While Kennywood is an attraction all summer, it offers more than just rollercoasters during the week of the Fourth of July. Entertainment and activities include magicians, ice carvers, face painters and even Uncle Sam himself.

To celebrate one of America’s iconic foods, there will be a hot dog eating contest, which has served as qualifier for Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Finals in past years.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Weiner 100 Dachshund Race, where the “wiener dogs” separate into different heats for a 100-meter dash, until the fastest dog is declared the ‘wiener’.

Concerts will be held at both Pavilion 23 and Kennyville Stage with musical acts throughout the week. To wrap up the evening in perfect Fourth-of-July fashion, there will be a fireworks show courtesy of Pyrotecnico.