Pickles occupy an entire city bridge, pogo rock stars take over Carrie Furnaces and 2,000 arcade games descend on downtown. July is a time for new adventures and unbridled exploration. Where to start? We’ve got you covered with these top 10 Pittsburgh events:
1. EQT Flashes of Freedom Fireworks & Celebrate America Festival at Point State Park: July 4
Pittsburghers love fireworks almost as much as they love fries on sammiches. The city’s landmark architecture and breathtaking topography will look particularly dramatic when the EQT Flashes of Freedom Fireworks show is set off at the magical confluence of our three rivers. At 9:30 p.m. the dazzling display will be choreographed to a patriotic soundtrack that can be heard throughout Point State Park and on KDKA 1020 AM. Considered one of the country’s top 10 fireworks displays, the event is produced by the award-winning New Castle, PA-based Pyrotecnico. The big finale will be preceded by a free family-friendly festival kicking off at noon with a flag raising ceremony at the Fort Pitt Museum, followed by fife and drum performances, rifle and musket demos, and activities with 18th-century reenactors. In the Kids Zone, children can paint murals, get airbrush tattoos, make red, white and balloon sculptures and more. Headlining the music stage will be Gary Racan and the Studio E Band, whose unique performance will combine live music with recorded interviews from veterans. View a complete schedule.
2. Gallery Crawl & Cosmopolitan Pittsburgh in The Cultural District: July 8
A triple-header of cool culture will pulsate throughout The Cultural District with activities and events spanning the Gallery Crawl, Night Market and Cosmopolitan Pittsburgh. First, soak up the extra daylight hours to crawl your way through art, when 27 venues swing open their doors for the summer installment from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The popular quarterly showcase features a rotating lineup of world-class visual art, live music, dance, film, hands-on activities and special events—and it’s all free. Continue your cultural cavorting when The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust marks the 10th anniversary of its signature Cosmopolitan Pittsburgh bash at the August Wilson Center. Dubbed “The Art of Cool,” the sizzling soiree will feature immersive sounds and sights curated by VIA, topped off with sweet and savory bites and bevvies from Pittsburgh’s favorite eateries. During live performances by the West Philadelphia Orchestra, Boulevards, slowdanger, Chocolate Boombox and DJ SMI, Cosmo-goers will groove the night away to a soundscape of Balkan beats, Brazilian rhythms, modern funk, and electronica. Buy tickets.
3. Pogopalooza at Carrie Furnaces: July 8 & 9
You’ve heard of extreme snowboarding but what about extreme pogoing? For two days, Pittsburgh will be a mecca for the burgeoning underground sport, playing host to the Extreme Pogo World Championships (read: Xpogo). We can’t think of a better—or more dramatic—backdrop for the exhilaration of Pogopalooza than the historic and massive Carrie Furnaces. Watch all of the high-bouncing action, and celebrate the first annual national pogo day—yes, there’s such as thing—when amateur and pro athletes from around the globe complete in Freestyle, Best Trick, and High Jump events and battle for world titles. See athletes jump more than 10 feet vertically on next-generation pogo sticks—all while performing gravity-defying tricks and soaring through the air. Presented by Flybar, Pogopalooza will also feature local music, food trucks and discounted tours of Carrie Furnaces. The planet’s largest pogo stick event has been held in 15 cities and three countries since its inception in 2004. Ready to bounce? Head to the special “Learn-To-Pogo” areas where adults and kids can try out the world’s top classic and extreme pogo brands. Buy tickets.
4. Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix: July 8 – 17
You don’t have to be a race veteran or speed freak to appreciate the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP). Part of its magic is the urban setting itself, along with displays of sleek collectible cars, family-friendly activities and specialty events. What began in 1983 as a one-day race in Schenley Park is revving its engines for its 34th annual celebration spanning 10 days, six venues and a love of all things on four wheels. The excitement accelerates when the starting flag drops, signaling Race Weekend on July 16-17. The only vintage race runs on actual city streets—and the country’s largest vintage race— the highly-anticipated, culminating weekend attracts 200,000-plus spectators who watch as 150 racers test their skills along one of the world’s most challenging courses. Along with 23 turns, the dramatic 2.33-mile circuit boasts haybales, manhole covers, telephone poles and stone walls. Attractions include an International Car Show, Vintage Ride Experience, qualifying races, and a village packed with food vendors. Giving back runs deep with the PVGP, which has raised $4.3 million for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School. See a complete schedule.
5. PGH200 Bicentennial Parade, Showcase & Fireworks: July 9 & ongoing
It was the year Indiana became the 19th state, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville premiered, and Argentina declared independence from Spain. On home turf, 1816 ushered in the incorporation of our fair city. And while you might not recognize the name Ebenezer Denny (read: Pittsburgh’s first mayor), you’re invited to celebrate during one big bicentennial bash. Some 400 partners have teamed up to showcase the Burgh’s past, present and future, so there’s no shortage of ways to share your black & gold pride. A bicentennial parade creating a “human timeline” spanning downtown will anchor the highlights. Led by the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center, the parade will include 400 descendants of Pittsburgh mayors, French and Indian War and Revolutionary War re-enactors, immigrants from four continents, and 100 cultural organizations. Look for the 1903 Curved Dash Oldsmobile, Requin Submarine float, and merrymaking by Colonel Eagleburger’s Highstepping Goodtime Band, Squonk Opera and ScareHouse. After the parade, head to Market Square for concerts by local musical luminaries such as The Beagle Brothers, Roger Humphries, Norm Nardini, and Donnie Iris. At 9:30 p.m., Pittsburgh’s skyline will be illuminated by a bicentennial fireworks display at Point State Park. See all PGH200 events.