9 Pittsburgh Festivals This Fall You Won’t Want to Miss
Whether you’re looking for food, music, culture or something else entirely, there’s bound to be a local festival that checks all your boxes.
As summertime wanes and the leaves begin to turn, a wide variety of festivals are returning to Pittsburgh — some for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic — to liven up the earliest days of fall.
Whether you’re looking for celebrations of food, football, culture, music, heritage or something else entirely, there’s bound to be a festival for you coming up soon in Pittsburgh.
(Make sure to stay on top of COVID-19 trends, because some venues may require masks if Allegheny County moves into the high transmission-risk category. Always have a mask handy, just in case.)
1. Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival
From Sept. 16-18, the 12th annual Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival is coming back to Highmark Stadium in Station Square. The festival will feature more than 100 musicians, ranging from award-winning legends to new, up-and-coming voices in jazz, funk and fusion.
The festival’s lineup includes the most recorded bassist in history, multi-Grammy winner Ron Carter; jazz fusion pioneer Stanley Clarke; powerhouse vocalist Ledisi; soul funk icons Average White Band; award-winning vocalist and current phenom, Samara Joy; vocal storyteller and stylist, Vanisha Gould; and more.
While most of the festival will take place at Highmark Stadium, a special, intimate performance by Carter will be held at the August Wilson African American Culture Center in Downtown on Sept. 16, followed by the event’s signature opening night party, A Taste of Jazz, with food, cocktails and, of course, music.
For details or to buy tickets, check out its website.
2. Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival
There’s still plenty to do at Kennywood Park. From 4:30-9 p.m. on Sept. 9, the park will be home to the Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival, which touts itself as “the ultimate in hometown Pittsburgh food and fun.”
Vendors from more than two dozen restaurants will offer their take on the beloved pierogi. Some of Kennywood’s classic rides will be open, too, including the Merry-Go-Round, Thunderbolt, Kangaroo and more. There will also be a pop-up pierogi marketplace where guests can shop for pierogi-inspired T-shirts, jewelry, festival keepsakes and memorabilia.
For tickets, click here.
3. Pittsburgh Water Lantern Festival
The goal of the Pittsburgh Water Lantern Festival, organizers say, is to “celebrate life together.” Guests will have the chance to do just that when the festival comes to Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Commons Park West on Sept. 3.
Gates open at 5 p.m., at which point visitors will be able to check out food trucks, live music and other family-friendly events. Guests will also receive a floating lantern kit, and at 7 p.m., lantern designing begins. Between 8-9 p.m., the lanterns will be launched into the water.
For more information and ticket sales, check out the event’s website.
4. Pittsburgh Irish Festival
Returning to Pittsburgh — this year, at the Carrie Blast Furnaces in Swissvale — is the city’s premiere celebration of Irish culture and heritage. From Sept. 9-11, the festival will feature Irish music, food, and activities like ancient Celtic axe throwing. Guests will also be able to purchase food and snacks made in Ireland, including Guinness chocolate, Keogh’s potato chips, Irish coffees and teas.
Irish comedians, authors and other cultural figures will be in attendance throughout the event, and the Five Farms Irish Cream Celtic Kitchen will give folks the chance to watch both professional and amateur bakers and chefs try their hands at the old-world recipes of Celtic cooking.
This year, tours of the historic Carrie Blast Furnace will be available, too.
For information and tickets, click here.
5. Pittsburgh Taco Fest
Head over to the Strip District Terminal on Smallman Street on Sept. 10 for a celebration of all things taco. The annual food festival will take place from 12:30-7 p.m., with vendors including Las Palmas, Arepittas, Moe’s Southwest Grill, El Sabor and more. There will also be live music and an art market.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation and the Latin American Cultural Union.
Information and tickets can be found here.
6. Fairytale Festival
After a pandemic-era pause, Gemini Theater Company is bringing back its Fairytale Festival fundraiser from 3-6 p.m. on Sept. 18. The family-friendly festival features an outdoor setting in Riverview Park with carnival games, a unicorn, a royal petting zoo, arts and crafts, raffle games, food, dancing and more. Guests are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite royal or character attire.
7. Pittsburgh Lebanese Festival
The annual Lebanese Food Festival will be held at Our Lady of Victory Church at 1000 Tropical Ave. in Beechview from Sept. 9-11. There will be authentic Lebanese food, music and cultural celebrations, with both dine-in and takeout options available.
The festival will run from noon-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from noon-6 p.m. on Sunday — no tickets needed!
8. Festival of Combustion
Pittsburgh’s industrial era may be a thing of the past, but this celebration of the industrial arts is anything but.
Rivers of Steel will host the Festival of Combustion on Oct. 8 at the Carrie Blast Furnaces. The goal is to celebrate the American crafts and showcase the creativity and innovation of the region’s artists, makers and builders.
There will be hands-on activities for both adults and children, as well as live demonstrations, music and more. Among these activities are an iron scratch-mold workshop, where folks can create their own design cast in solid iron; a Fiestaware mosaics workshop, led by local artist Amy Burke, where guests can create their own mosaic from Fiestaware plates; and hot crayon encaustic workshops, where participants can create colorful paintings on a wood panel using melted crayons.
Live demonstrations include iron casting, welding, glass blowing, blacksmithing, graffiti painting and even tattooing.
9. Pittsburgh Craft Beer, Wine and Cocktail Festival
This celebration of the region’s brewing finesse will be held on Oct. 1 on the field and concourse at PNC Park. Unlimited samples of more than 125+ libations will be available, and guests will also receive field access, a keepsake sampling glass, two free tickets to an upcoming Pirates game and more.
There will also be the opportunity for a photo-op in the Pirates dugout, and selfies aplenty with the Pirates Parrot.
The festival is 21+ only, valid ID required. For tickets and more info, check out the event listing.