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Arts, Sports & Culture

Pittsburgh Kicks Off Summer With Two Weeks of Festivities

Margaret J. Krauss
90.5 WESA

Look alive, Pittsburgh — two of the year's busiest weeks are upon us.

On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Wow! Partnership, a collaboration between some the city’s most prominent cultural, business and civic entities, announced a two-week bonanza of events meant to highlight and contribute to the city’s vibrancy.

Taking place from June 7 to June 16, events include rededicating the Point State Park fountain, playing host to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, commemorating the completion of the Great Allegheny Passage and cheering on the Pirates at a string of home games.

The two action-packed weeks are the work of VisitPittsburgh, Allegheny Conference, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Riverlife and DCNR, Delta Foundation, Pride and the Allegheny Trail Alliance. The Pittsburgh Pirates, the Port Authority and Zone 2 Pittsburgh Police are also participating.  

“We’re all about economic development," said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh. "We’re all about having people take a great amount of pride in this city, and this is a great way to show off what we have.”

Many events will take place downtown, but the centerpiece of the two-week celebration will be Point State Park’s reopening and rededication of its fountain. Riverlife spokesman Stephan Bontrager said the restoration of the fountain is due to a wide-ranging partnership that included foundations, individuals, businesses and the state of Pennsylvania.

“It’s the very best sort of project of people coming together and doing these big civic works that show city pride and are a tribute to the people of Pittsburgh,” he said.

A few weeks ago, Bontrager was privy to a test of the fountain, conducted under the cover of darkness in order to maintain suspense for the grand unveiling.

“I have to admit, I got a little misty-eyed," he said. "I’ve really missed that fountain being on. It’s just such a symbol of our city.”

Officials said the Pittsburgh Wow! Partnership has taken great pains to ensure that participating in the events is safe and easy to do, citing police and transportation measures. Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, highlighted the 38,000 parking spaces downtown, the complimentary bike valet offered by Bike Pittsburgh and the city’s many bus routes and the T.

“The bottom line is this: We want you to know we have a plan, we’re very organized and that there is going to be so much to do downtown," Davis said. "It’s going to be a very exciting two weeks.”