Carnivals and Fairs in Pittsburgh

by Derek M. Kwait

Pittsburgh is America's renaissance city. Although it once had a reputation for steel and smog, today it is a clean, beautiful and highly livable city eager to show off its new look at any opportunity. Whether you enjoy parades, technology, fishing, fireworks or want something for the kids, there is a carnival or fair in Pittsburgh perfectly suited to you.

Three Rivers Regatta

The annual Three Rivers Regatta is always a highlight of the summer in Pittsburgh. The Regatta is a long weekend of fun things to do on and beside the Three Rivers. Perennial favorites include the Fireworks Fantasia, ranked as one of the best fireworks shows in the country, speedboat races, the "Anything That Floats Race," which also includes prizes for "Best Decorated" and "Fastest Sinker," a bass fishing tournament, live music, a circus and water skiing shows.

St. Patrick's Day Parade

The St. Patrick's Day Parade has been a Pittsburgh institution since 1869. Each year thousands don green and flock downtown to watch local high school bands and elaborately-decorated Irish-themed floats sponsored by local companies and organizations march through the city streets. During the parade, one accomplished young woman from a local high school is crowned "Miss Smiling Irish Eyes" and two runners-up are named Court Maidens. People gather in Market Square in the middle of downtown to dance to live music, drink, shop and eat.

Carnegie Mellon Spring Carnival

While the annual Spring Carnival, held in April, is hands-down the most anticipated event of the year for students at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, it is also a popular event for the rest of the city. Aside from standard carnival rides like a Ferris wheel and Tilt-a-Whirl, the Carnival is distinctive for its booth, buggy and mobot competitions. In the booth competition, Greek and student organizations build themed booths from scratch, featuring games and food. The buggy competition features student organization-built gravity-powered buggies, and the mobot races feature student-made robot vehicles.

Pittsburgh International Children's Festival

Although the exact contents of the Pittsburgh International Children's Festival, held for five days each spring at Schenley Plaza in the city's Oakland neighborhood, vary each year, it always features lots of innovative and educational shows and attractions. Events at the 2011 Festival included "Amococo," a huge enclosed maze of light color and shape, "Magical Forest Silent Disco," a dance party for kids, clowns, a carousel plus lots of performers, live music, shows and movies.

About the Author

Derek M. Kwait has a Bachelor of Arts in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh and has been writing for most of his life in various capacities. He has worked as a staff writer and videographer for the "Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh" and also has training writing fiction, nonfiction, stage-plays and screenplays.

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