Last Warning: Don't Miss the Baller BBQ

Pittsburgh's premier party for young professionals returns for its 14th fiesta this Saturday.

Yet another piece of evidence that Pittsburgh loves a good party (as if we needed convincing on that fact) is the ascension of the event now known as Baller BBQ. As we previously detailed, this is a gathering that’s grown from a cookout with friends to a sold-out block party extravaganza, organically and naturally. For more reasons than ever before, that makes this Saturday’s Baller BBQ 14 a can’t-miss event.

A group of six friends and ‘Burgh residents—Michael Brant, Kevin Heher, Alex Palma, Luke Skurman, Serge Smailbegovic, and Bobby Zappala—decided to start throwing parties for young professionals that had resisted the urge to leave town after college graduation. Their mutual interest in fostering growth and creativity ‘round these parts eventually turned the celebrations into fund-raising efforts, and, most recently, gave birth to Business Bout—a competition offering $5,000 in seed money to startups with a desire to stay local. The crowds grew. Sponsors got involved. After a bakers’ dozen of fiestas, this week’s edition has space for 1,000 revelers, and it is expected to sell out (so click here for tickets already).

The main event Saturday will be the crowning of the Business Bout champion. Six local startups selected as finalists from a pool of more than 120 entries will be on hand in hopes of scoring the cash. The groups represent a wide cross-section of entrepreneurial ambition, including: WinkApp, a game changing social media idea; Find Notice, a tech company that has discovered an untapped market; Pulse Motors, which aims to get more green vehicles on ‘Burgh streets; and TerraShift, linking recent grads up with great opportunities. There are also two finalists of particular interest to the nightlife scene: Bar Marco, who have leased the building that formerly housed the Firehouse Lounge, and are planning to turn it into an all-local bar and restaurant; and PortaBeer, finding innovative ways to improve your imbibing.

The presentation of a big check doesn’t usually get people dancing, though, so there will be plenty of music on Saturday, as well. Guaracha, who the folks at Baller BBQ call “The best Latin band in Pittsburgh,” will headline, and Paul Luc will get things going. DJ Zan will be on hand to keep things funky for the rest of the evening.

Owing to previous incidents where the grub ran out early, the group is promising “1,000 pounds of food” for this Saturday’s event—which works out to a pound per person, if you’re keeping score. Iron City has been a long-time sponsor for the event, so I.C. and I.C. Light will be flowing freely, as will the cocktails from co-sponsor White Diamond Vodka.

Everyone who attends gets a free pair of sunglasses, there are after-party specials at Bites and Brews and the 1947 Tavern, and every Baller BBQ has been full of surprises, spontaneity, and energy. Oh, and as for your ticket price, that will go to a good cause: Business Bout II, coming soon.

We’ve warned about it since early August, but seriously, this is it: your last opportunity for a great big outdoor blowout that doesn’t involve huddling around a bonfire. It’s time to get that last bit of party out before we start to hibernate. Just get your tickets now, while you still can.

(5850 Ellsworth Ave, Shadyside. Saturday, 3-10 p.m., rain or shine. $20. 21 and over. Info and tickets: http://www.showclix.com/event/ballerbbq14)

Categories: After Dark