Remember that age old complaint most of us had at least once as kids? There’s nothing to do. Well, that excuse doesn’t work when you live in the Steel City, a vibrant city that is jam-packed with plenty of activities throughout the year. The Burgh hosts countless festivals throughout the year, celebrating the cultural diversity of our unique city. Here are 10 festivals in Pittsburgh that you really have to experience at least once:
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1. First Night Pittsburgh
Kick off the new year by celebrating with your fellow Pittsburghers at First Night Pittsburgh. A Pittsburgh tradition, First Night culminates in the ball soaring upward at the stroke of midnight. First Night events are family friendly and include such fun as ice creations, artistic performances, fireworks, comedy, and live music. Keep an eye out in late December when the buttons for First Night go on sale and ring in 2017 with Pittsburgh's biggest New Year's festival.
2. Steel City Blues Festival
Embrace the blues at a festival that is as unique as Pittsburgh itself. The Steel City Blues Festival, slated for March 17 through 19 in 2017, features a jam-packed schedule that allows Pittsburghers to feel the blues. Events held during the annual festival typically include workshops, dances, and musical performances. Weekend passes are available, which can be purchased closer to the festival dates.
3. Art All Night Lawrenceville
Artists of all styles and experience levels descend upon Lawrenceville the last weekend of April every year to celebrate Art All Night Lawrenceville. The community art show, which is free to enter and doesn't feature a jury, encourages artists to share their work without censorship. Art All Night generally runs from Saturday at 4 p.m. until Sunday at 2 p.m. with plenty of kids and adult activities scheduled during that time. Check with the schedule next April for specific child-friendly times and activities.
4. Pittsburgh International Children's Festival
Children – and adults who want to experience childhood again – head to downtown Pittsburgh every May for the annual Pittsburgh International Children's Festival, a four day event that features plays in the Cultural District and plenty of free activities, such as arts and crafts, dressing up for a photo booth, creating your own newspaper front page, and much more. The 2016 Children's Festival runs from May 12 through the 15.
5. Doo Dah Days
Doo Dah Days celebrates the life and accomplishments of musician and native Pittsburgher Stephen Foster, who has rightfully earned the designation as pop music's original founder. Generally held outdoors, this year's Stephen Foster Music and Heritage Festival will be held on July 9 from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. The 2016 indoor festival promises plenty of music, including a contra dance. The 2017 Doo Dah Days will return to its roots and head back outdoors.
6. Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival
Everyone will find something that strikes their fancy at the annual Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival, slated for June 30 through July 3 this year. Held at Twin Lakes Park, the festival features plenty of fresh food, booths with handcrafted items, and activities for the whole the family. The kids will want to check out the Children's Area, which provides age-appropriate activities. Musical and artistic performances are scheduled throughout the four day festival.
7. Three Rivers Storytelling Festival
Engage in the age old art of storytelling during the annual Three Rivers Storytelling Festival, set for August 5 through the 7 this summer. Listen to stories as told by some of Pittsburgh's best spoken artists, including Adam Booth, Antonio Sacre, and Kim Weitkamp. Test your own storytelling skills by entering in the Liar's Contest, a competition to see who can tell an outrageous story that just rings true.
8. Pittsburgh New Works Festival
A cultural haven, Pittsburgh has inspired writers, artists, and musicians for generations. The annual Pittsburgh New Works Festival, a six week festival that kicks off each September, celebrates playwrights by producing their one-act plays. Eighteen brand new one-act plays are introduced each year, to which the public is invited to attend. The festival is held at the Carnegie Stage in Carnegie, just outside of Pittsburgh. Purchase tickets individually or buy a festival pass.
9. Pittsburgh Folk Festival
Celebrate the rich diversity of the Burgh at the annual Pittsburgh Folk Festival. Since debuting in 1956, the Folk Festival has grown exponentially each year. The 2016 festival, scheduled for September 3 and 4 in Oakland, features a full schedule of live performances as well as a marketplace with products from such countries as Peru, Ukraine, Greece, and China with authentic food offered from numerous countries, including Vietnam, India, and Slovakia.
10. Three Rivers Regatta
Enjoy the outdoors – and the Three Rivers, in particular – at the annual Three Rivers Regatta, which will be held from August 5 through 7 in 2016. The Regatta, a celebration of Pittsburgh's waterways, features a full schedule of events including the Anything That Floats competition, fireworks, and live musical performances.
These 10 festivals in Pittsburgh are just a sampling of the many events held throughout the year in the Steel City. If you’ve got an interest, you’ll likely find a festival for it somewhere in Pittsburgh. Did your favorite Pittsburgh festival make the list?