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Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Weather Is Starting to Get Extreme 
or it must be Three River's Arts Festival Season 

Okay, so this past weekend was the opening of the 50th annual Three Rivers Arts Festival. It's this great outdoor Art, Craft, Music, Film and food festival held yearly in downtown Pittsburgh. Usually the festival lasts 17 days, but due to financial restraints, this year's event has been shortened to ten days.

Most of the people I work with hate this time of year. Not me. I love it. Our building is right smack dab in the middle of the festival with our plaza hosting the artists market. Sure navigating through the throngs of pram pushing parents takes a bit of patience, but I love the atmosphere all the activity creates. Plus this year there's a little stage right outside our door for acoustic acts to perform. 

It's really cool to walk outside and be greeted by a breeze blowing in your hair, people milling around, music floating on the current and the smell of food wafting in the air. It's such a let down when everyone packs it in at the end of the week, leaving the plaza empty and lifeless. Kind of like after Christmas when all the decorations are shoved back in the attic and the house feels plain and ugly again.

So anyway, one of the highlights of the festival is the artist market featuring an array of goods from leather purses, jewelry, textiles, jewelry, pottery, photography, jewelry, jewelry and did I Then sometimes there's an odd booth like this disturbing one

Eeewwww. Kreepy indeed. He might as well have stocked that puppy with clown heads as far as I'm concerned. Ick! But apparently, kids love those hideous things. Oh well. As Geo always says, "that's why they make chocolate and vanilla".

I think perhaps the biggest draw of the festival is the plethora of food booths. We span the globe in the gut-buster department. There's Mexican, Chinese, Polish (we do love our pierogies here) and French. Okay they're just crepes, but that's French, right?

We have the ubiquitous corn dog. 

Not just any corn dog...a hand-dipped corn dog. Yum? What? Is that the cadillac of corn dogs, or something? I never got the whole allure of the corn dog. I just don't associate corn encased hot dogs with tasty. Although I'm kinda liking saying "corn dog" a thousand times. Corn Dog Corn Dog Corn Dog 

And of course, let's not forget there's.... 

There are also tons of tasty treats...kettle corn, funnel cakes and divine chocolate covered strawberries.

One of the big crowd pleasers is the musical acts scheduled every night. I admit I'm not familiar with a lot of the bands booked, but there are always one or two worthy of traveling back to town.'s free. 

The first act on the main stage for this year's festival was The Black Keys with Jessica Lee Mayfield as their opener. JLM is a bit twangy country and an odd combo with the hard rocking sound of the Black Keys, but hey... whatever. Like I said, it's free. Her band was pretty good, but the songs all tended to sound the same. Plus I still don't know what she looks like since she didn't take off the gigantic, big-ass Jackie O sunglasses all night. 

Her brother, however, added an entertainment factor with his antics molesting his upright bass. Once they finished playing, there was suddenly a huge crowd which rushed the stage in anticipation of the arrival of the Black Keys.

I had no idea there were only two guys in this band. They make a HUGE wall of sound for only two skinny guys. Seriously. Insanely huge sound. They were good. Even this dude with the dog enjoyed them. The baby seemed to dig it, too. (One of the many curious sites one spies at a festival)

And, of course, no festival would be complete without a little...


All in all, it has been a fine festival this year. I think there was only one night where a "Mother of All Storms" blew through curtailing activity. Not bad for this event. Everyone goes home tomorrow night, leaving our little home away from home quiet and boring again. 

Same time next year?

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