The Three Rivers Arts Festival is one of the most popular annual events in Pittsburgh.
This two-week long festival in June celebrates all things arts and includes dozens upon dozens of booths of art vendors, live performances and music, extended gallery hours, and so much more in downtown Pittsburgh.
While you may need to visit this one multiple times in order to truly experience it all, a visit during any day of the festival has enough to keep anyone busy.
Hundreds of Artisans and New Art Installations
If you like buying art from (mostly) independent artisans, the Three Rivers Arts Festival is for you. Point State Park is transformed into a collection of hundreds of tens from artisans both local, regional, and national. Yes, it is not all Pittsburgh artists at this one.
In fact, the tenants of the tents also rotate out throughout the event, meaning you could return for the second weekend of the festival and find even more unique shops and artisans to shop at (although many do remain both weekends). This is an important distinction when it comes to the arts festival, and is one we'll touch on more later on in this article.
Moving on to the art installations themselves, the Three Rivers Arts Festival uses its name to help promote many local art exhibits that are permanent year round, as well as other custom exhibits that can be found at places like the August Wilson Center and other free art galleries in downtown Pittsburgh.
But they do create some specifically for the festival, and an art installation we loved from the 2017 festival was the Umbrella Sky Project, a roughly one hundred foot stretch of sidewalk at the Gateway Center that was covered with hanging umbrellas of varying color.
Naturally, it was the most Instagrammed installation for the entire festival for the color overload alone.
Time Your Visit for the Performances
One of the things that can be a bit frustrating about the Three Rivers Art Festival is that there are numerous performances that vary in schedule.
The musicians, naturally, play one act on the stage. The choreographed art displays, however, can be a bit more varied and may be as brief as one or two performances or have daily shows for the entire festival.
At the 2017 Three Rivers Arts Festival, for example, the Blue Lapis Light (an aerial dance group that performed on the side of Fifth Avenue Place) only had two shows scheduled the first weekend of the festival. Those who came down the second weekend for headliner Sarah Jarosz missed out entirely. As such, it really is the kind of festival where you have to pick and choose your priorities as there is, at times, too much to see.
I'll call that a good problem, even if we ourselves missed out on a lot.
Overall, the Three Rivers Arts Festival is one of the premier festivals in Pittsburgh each and every year. This multi-week festival attracts tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout its duration, and offers a fairly intense schedule of events that in all honesty make it quite difficult to experience it all.
So be sure to plan your visit to this one well in advance, know you're not going to experience it all in a single visit, and have a great time!
The Three Rivers Arts Festival typically takes place in Pittsburgh each June. Information about vendors, performances, and art installations for the next art's festival can be found at thei event's website at the previous link.
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