Unusual Events and Things Good to Know in Pittsburgh

This month: The Tekko anime convention, 2016 U.S. Open Events and Voodoo Brewing Company's new business model.

photo courtesy of tekko


#Unusual Events

Each month, PM asks contributor Amy Whipple to attend an out-of-the-ordinary happening somewhere in the city.

What: Tekko
Where: David L. Lawrence Convention Center    
When: April 9

Remember that feeling when you finally found your tribe — the people who got you at your most you? While I’ve never been an anime fan, the energy at Tekko 2016 (teamtekko.us) of 7,800 people who had most certainly found their tribe was electric.

The 14th annual anime convention, hosted by the Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society, brought in a record number of visitors; like Anthrocon before it, Downtown Pittsburgh welcomed the guests with themed deals at restaurants and a general sense of hospitality as cosplayers packed the sidewalks around the Convention Center.

My trusty toddler and I reveled in the bright colors and creativity of the weekend’s highlight event, the Cosplay Masquerade. Participants performed short skits based on games, movies and the like. The host kept his material broad enough that even I — bearing two weeks’ knowledge of Sailor Moon in 1997 as the sum total of my relevant experience — found myself laughing out loud.

The highlight of the highlight was the wedding of Michelle Fialkovich and Shawn Gallant. The couple met at a previous Tekko convention and brought family, friends and their whole tribe to witness their union. They dressed as Cassiopeia and Talon (respectively) from the game League of Legends.

While I’ve found my own tribe elsewhere, Wee Dude has years to find his, and I sleep better at night knowing that, no matter who he turns out to be, there will be people ready to take him in as he is. Even if who he is is dressed as someone else.



5,000: The number of thoroughbred racing wins for jockey Deshawn Parker. Parker, from East Liverpool, Oh., recorded his 5,000th win on May 2 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort; he is only the 32nd jockey to reach the milestone.

Artist and Pittsburgh native Burton Morris was commissioned to create this original painting for the 2016 U.S. Open.

#Point by Point: 2016 U.S. Open Events

As of press time, tickets to watch the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club are still available. But even if you’re not headed to the links, there are events scheduled throughout the region to spread the excitement of the Open. (usopen.com/openforall)


  • U.S. Open Trophy Tour (through June 12) — The iconic U.S. Open Trophy will leave the USGA’s headquarters in Far Hills, N.J. to begin a “whistle stop” tour en route to Oakmont Country Club. Track the trophy’s progress: usopen.com/trophytour
  • Heinz History Center (through June 19) — As part of the USGA’s ongoing commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, the USGA will present its “Learning Science Through Golf” exhibit at the Sen. John Heinz History Center.
  • Carnegie Science Center (through June 19) — The history of golf in America is illuminated in a new, interactive display, “American Golf History: Coming to Life.” Featuring a custom-built hitting bay and golf simulator, the exhibit allows guests to try period-based golf equipment and compare performance against previous U.S. Open Champions.
  • Merchandise Preview (June 9-12) — The Merchandise Pavilion will open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Oakmont. Admission and parking are free, giving fans a chance to shop 500,000 items from apparel to golf towels and more. Oakmont glassware artist Amanda Lee will be selling hand-painted glasses with the Oakmont Country Club logo.
  • The Epic Putt Challenge (through June 11) — Held at select Dick’s Sporting Good locations, the Epic Putt Challenge will offer an opportunity to relive epic moments from previous U.S. Opens on an artificial putting green. Participants will be entered into a sweepstakes to win two tickets to the 2016 U.S. Open.

photo courtesy of Voodoo brewery

#Explain It For Us

Voodoo Brewing Company announced in February that they are now operating as an employee-owned business; in addition to cash, each of the outfit’s 17 workers would be paid in shares of the company. The Meadville-based brewery (which opened a Homestead branch in 2015 and operates a food truck in the area) is the smallest employee-owned brewery in the country. We had to ask: Why make the jump? Voodoo vice president Jake Voelker explains.


“This is how we create our team and look our employees in the eyes and say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna grow this thing, and we’re gonna be here for a while.’ … This was a commitment to our people: If you work hard for us, we’re going to create a team that’s going to continue to grow a company in the long run — and you’re gonna have rewards from it as well.”
Categories: Things To Do