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Pittsburgh’s Children’s Festival Returns for 28th Year

The Cultural Trust’s Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival is making a “leap” from Oakland to Downtown May 14-18.

The 28th annual frog-themed festival is moving to help fulfill the Trust’s mission to make Downtown a “vibrant and inviting place.”

“It’s nice to find opportunities for family-friendly environments where parents and children can come together with both arts and culture and with education,” Charlene Petrelli, President and CEO of EQT Corporation, said. “And bring the children Downtown so that they can see that Pittsburgh is a safe Downtown and there are a lot of great, fun things happening.”

The location is not the only change to the festival this year -- it also picked up EQT as a new sponsor.

“We have a focus on both children and education and the arts in the community and so this just appeared to be the perfect project for us to come together with the Cultural Trust to do Downtown,” Petrelli said.

The festivities will stretch from the Byham Theater to the August Wilson Center and include performances and public art installations -- one being LilyPad Park.

Pamela Lieberman, Executive Director of the festival, said the park will include a free community stage, food vending and roving artists.

“It incorporates a variety of artificial grass surfaces with natural elements, it creates a plaza in Downtown Pittsburgh,” Lieberman said.

The park, which was created by Chatham University’s landscape architecture program, will also feature an outdoor luminarium from the United Kingdom’s Architects of Air.

“It’s an enormous, vibrant, colorful fabric sculpture that is inflated and you enter through air locks,” Lieberman said. “It’s a transformative, immersive environment, there’s ambient music, it’s other-worldly, it’s completely transportive.”

The festival will also include stories by Temujin from West Africa’s Yoruba culture, Canadian performances of Pinocchio and games of “Invisi’BALL,” which is like soccer without a ball.

“I’m really excited about the frogs and how the whole theme of frogs, the LilyPad Park and I’m sure there will be a number of other things that will align with the frog theme,” Petrelli said. “But seeing the children here this morning [at the press announcement] in their frog hats just kind of brings it all to life, it’s great.”

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations. She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.
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