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35th Annual Regatta to Bring In New Attractions

Yearly patrons of the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta probably don't need any additional incentive to visit the Fourth of July weekend event.

However, the 2012 Regatta Board has arranged for a few new attractions to supplement perennial favorites like the fireworks display, powerboat championships, music, and the "anything that floats" boat race.

First of all, an artificial ice rink will be erected at Point State Park so people can skate in mid-summer.

"That's Point State Skate Park, a 40' × 100' artificial ice surface that looks and performs like frozen ice, but doesn't melt," said Regatta Board Chairman John Bonassi. "There will also be some surprises by our beloved Pen[guin]s."

Secondly, a new type of powerboat race is coming to Pittsburgh this year. Andrew Biddle of the P-1 Superstock Championship Series said his race requires that all entrants use the same exact equipment, so the trophy would go to the most skilled team of driver and throttle-operator.

Lastly, the Regatta will be reintroducing laser shows as a stand-alone event. Regatta spokesman Michael Dongilli said this year's laser show will be shown at 9:30 PM nightly from June 30 through July 3. He said it features a forty-foot projection screen, but there are some extra special effects as well.

"There will be aerial lasers that will actually be thrust out over the crowd, sort of like a Star Wars effect if you remember how that goes, and a Matrix-like effect — sharp lines of imagery in a very tight-beam format," said Dongilli. "And if that isn't enough, we actually have eight flame projectors that, on cue, will spit balls of fire up into the air."

Ten bands will be featured throughout the Regatta, including an Independence Day performance by the rock group America.

The "Flashes of Freedom Fireworks Fantasia" will be launched on the night of July 4 by Pyrotecnico, a company based in New Castle. Plenty of other mainstays will be found at this year's Regatta as well, including the Frisbee dog show and another massive sand sculpture.

The Regatta will be held along the city's river banks from June 30-July 4. A full schedule can be found at the Regatta's website.