Jun 01, 2015 11:28AM
By Hilary Daninhirsch
Music. Food. Art. Gardens. Fireworks. These are the things that make summer…summer. Pittsburgh has never lacked for outdoors activities, festivals and fairs, and the summer of 2015 is no exception.
Many Pittsburgh folks look forward to packing a picnic dinner and heading over to Hartwood Acres for free concerts in the park each Sunday evening; this year, the concerts begin on June 7 and conclude on September 6 with the Allegheny County Music Festival. This year’s line-up includes the Pittsburgh Opera, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Celtic/folk artist Eileen Ivers, the Bastard Bearded Irishmen and more. www.alleghenycounty.us/summer/index.aspx
If arts and crafts are more your thing, you’ve come to the right city. The quintessential Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, featuring 10 days of music, theater, dance, public art installations, gallery exhibitions, a visual artist market, creative activities, food and more will begin on June 5 and run through June 14. And it’s FREE. www.3riversartsfest.org
Those who appreciate the beauty of flowers will find plenty to love at the annual Sewickley Garden Tour. Sponsored by the Sewickley Civic Garden Council, the event offers a self-guided tour of six privately owned gardens located in Edgeworth and Sewickley boroughs. The tour will take place on June 19 from 6-8 p.m. and on June 20 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. www.sewickleygardens.org.
The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden will be sponsoring the Town & Country Tour on June 28, featuring 14 gardens scattered throughout Fox Chapel and Aspinwall. Guests have the option to take a self-guided tour or ride a coach bus which includes a stop for lunch. Pricing and other information is available at http://pittsburghbotanicgarden.org.
Celebrate the Arrival of Spring in Harmony
At the Harmony Museum Herb & Garden Fair on June 13, you can buy herbs and flowers, receive expert advice from master gardeners, enjoy a drumming circle and live music, and even visit artist exhibits and a fairy garden. But that’s not all.
“You can bring in plants, whether annuals or perennials that you have in your garden, and swap them for plants that other people bring with them,” said Harmony Museum administrator Kathy Luek. The event is a fundraiser for the museum, and admission is free.
On the same day as the fair, there will be a fiber arts festival and market, sponsored by the Harmony Business Association, with demonstrations, vendors, finished goods, and sidewalk sales and specials, as well as seasonal treats by Two Fraus Bakery and food and drink specials at The Harmony Inn. www.harmonymuseum.org
What is summer without a spectacular Fourth of July celebration? Though many communities hold their own July 4 celebrations, those who prefer large-scale action will find everything they need at the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta, held over the July 4 weekend. With boat races, food and fireworks to top off the evening, the regatta is quickly becoming an iconic Pittsburgh event. www.threeriversregatta.net
Have fun while helping the area’s less fortunate at the 21st annual Pittsburgh Blues Festival, a three-day event held at Hartwood Acres beginning on July 24 that benefits the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. Besides world-class music, activities include a KidZone, complete with tethered hot air balloon rides and cooking demonstrations. www.pghblues.com
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
Vintage car aficionados will find nirvana at the city’s 33rd annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, a 10-day event beginning on July 11, with about 150 racers participating each weekend. The first weekend’s race will be held at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, and the final race can be viewed from the Schenley Park golf course. “What sets Pittsburgh apart from other vintage car races is that ours is the only one that takes place on city streets,” said event chairperson Dan DelBianco.
“There is a brand new extension to the track this year, which will bring even bigger and faster cars—more muscle cars,” he added.
The Vintage Grand Prix is a charity event that raises money for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School. According to DelBianco, the organization is poised to break the $4 million mark this year. www.pvgp.org.
For more fun in the sun, visit the 17th annual Regatta at Lake Arthur, which will take place on August 1-2. The event will include the Live at Lake Arthur Concert Series, as well as instruction on outdoor activities like paddle boating and dragon boating, a children’s tent, world championship puddle duck races and the kick-off of the 2015 PDGA Pro Disc Golf World Championships. www.lakearthurregatta.org.
Enjoy a celebration of summer at the third annual Hot August Night in Portersville on August 23 at Nicolette’s Tailor Shop and Specialty Gifts, where you can enjoy music, art and a book swap to benefit a range of organizations, including the local food pantry, Humane Society of Butler, local libraries and McFarlins Music in Harmony. www.nicolettesShop.com.
And don’t forget about the 19th Annual Shadyside…the Art Festival on Walnut Street! Local and national artists will be on hand on August 29-30, along with food vendors and musical entertainment. Visit www.artfestival.com and click on the Shadyside link for more info.
Chances are, there is a festival being held at this very moment. What are you waiting for? Get outside and find one!