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Identity & Community

Put On Your Party Hat: Pittsburgh To Celebrate Bicentennial With Year Of Festivities

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Mike Richards
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90.5 WESA

City officials announced months of celebrations planned to commemorate Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial at the City County Building on Wednesday.

“In 1816, the legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania gave Pittsburgh the right to become a city. And it was in March of 1816 that the incorporation of the city was made possible,” said Andy Masich, CEO of the Heinz History Center and chairman of the Bicentennial Commission. He opened the event with a brief history of the city’s roots.

But didn’t we just celebrate the city’s birthday back in 2008?

Yes and no.

That was actually the 250th anniversary of the founding of Fort Pitt, which was also an important moment in the city’s history, Masich said. This year's bicentennial celebration will focus on the 200th anniversary of the incorporation of Pittsburgh.

Celebrations will begin with “Incorporation Day” on March 18, featuring an open house of 200 years-worth of Pittsburgh artifacts, a gallery crawl through Downtown and the inception of "tourist visas" for folks new to the Steel City.

“We’re going to celebrate this city through an entire year, and we’re going to give every city resident, and those who come to visit this city a passport to see it,” Peduto said.

The passports are currently under development and their exact usage is still being determined, officials said.On July 8, the Heinz History Center will host another event dubbed the "Bicentennial Bash."

The following day, Peduto said descendants of more than 50 former Pittsburgh mayors will join Peduto in recognition of their collective contribution to the city. The event is slated to culminate in a bicentennial parade to Point State Park for an all-day party with concerts and cultural events.

“It will be a year of celebrating the greatness that is this city through its people," he said.

The National League of Cities will gather in Pittsburgh for the 2016 NLC City Summit Nov. 16-19. About 4,000 mayors, council members and city leaders are slated to attend the conference, which coincides with 2016 Light Up Night festivities.

The bicentennial wraps up First Night, Dec. 31, 2016.