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Three Rivers Art Festival 2019 Review

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

Like I've mentioned before, June is my favorite month of the entire year, and the fact that it's home to the Three Rivers Art Festival each year is just an added bonus!


For those of you who aren't a Pittsburgher, let me enlighten you. The Three Rivers Art Festival is an arts and food festival that takes place for ten days in June. It covers a vast majority of the downtown area, from Point State Park to Market Square and everywhere in between. The two weekends of the festival are when the crowds are the biggest and the concerts and food are more prominent, but during the week, you'll be able to maneuver through the artists with ease!

There's always a ton of really cool pieces that get showcased throughout the streets, and it's always an important idea to support local artists; you'll get a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork while helping them to continue their journey. Normally, there are a few bigger installments, as well, so you're more than welcome to take some pictures!

The most eye-catching installments this year were Ocean Sole Africa, the Pittsburgh Time Capsule, the Los Trompos Spinning Tops, and the Juried Visual Art Exhibit.


Ocean Sole Africa had their art spread throughout Gateway Center (which is where KDKA is stationed). This group from Kenya created colorful animals made from recycled flip-flops (or sandals, if you don't speak Pittsburghese). People were encouraged to touch them and take pictures with them, and the animals included were a herd of giraffes (which were almost life-size!), an elephant, and a large turtle.

The Pittsburgh Time Capsule was also at the Gateway Center. Everyday, artist Toby Fraley came out and asked the public if they would like to leave a minute long message for the future. They would step inside the structure, a handmade box crafted by Fraley himself, and with the help of his trusty camera, participants would record themselves talking about whatever they would like. Fraley plans to put the footage, of which, as of Tuesday, was over five hours long (thanks to over 300 submissions!), and give it to the city to be opened in 2120 (the exact date would be my 122nd birthday!). I think that this is such a cool concept, and speaking to him made the experience even better. Fun fact for my fellow Pittsburghers/Washington County PA What's Going On? users: He's a fan of Osso's Pizza and likes to get two slices when he's in town.

If you head over to Point State Park, you can enjoy a concert at the outdoor stage, eat some fantastic food (like the buffalo mac and cheese I had below!), and unleash your inner child on these spinning tops. The Los Trompos Tops are made with a wearable Mexican fabric, and do exactly what they say: Spin. Up to six people can sit on the giant tops at a time and spin to their hearts content. Not only do they provide a bit of entertainment, but they are also beautiful, with multiple colors radiating from each one.

If you're more into your typical art exhibits like one in a museum, you may want to check out the Juried Art Exhibit on the fourth floor of the Trust Arts Education Center in the Cultural District. It showcases the art of numerous local artists, and the central theme is one of acceptance and remembrance of the human form. The exhibit showcases all types of visual art; everything from photography to sculptures.


This year, Pittsburgh's Pride Festival took place on the first day of the Arts Festival, so the crowds were bigger and more diverse than ever before. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go until that evening, when most of the pride community had disbanded, but it was heartwarming to see the aftermath of it, and those who decided to stick around for dinner and the outdoor concert at the Point.

If you still haven't managed to make your way to the festival, don't fret; you still have today and tomorrow (June 15th and 16th, from noon until around 8 or 9 p.m., depending on the attraction). And even if you've already visited all of the wonderful creations Pittsburgh and its people has to offer, there's no shame in going one last time!


And obviously... seeing that many dogs? Biggest highlight of the festival, hands down.


xoxo, Madison

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