The dog days are here and they’re calling us all to get outdoors for the return of food, music and pop culture celebrations, Pittsburgh’s newest festival and even some extreme recreation. Here are 11 events you can’t miss this month.
1. Taco Takeover at the Carrie Furnaces: August 1
Sorry pierogi, August is all about tacos. Lovers of the tortilla-filled wonder will flock to the National Historic Landmark where dozens of Pittsburgh’s premiere mobile cocinas will showcase their best takes on the handheld street food — from the traditional and authentic to the eclectic and unexpected. The roster of mouth-watering mobile food purveyors includes Curbside Cocina, La Palapa, Taquitos, Cool Beans Taco Truck and Tocayo Taqueria. Along with mountains of tacos, there will be a free shuttle from The Waterfront, live music, brews and margs, ice cream and tours of the giant blast furnaces. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to create a picnic area on the grass. Buy tickets.
2. Millvale Music Festival: August 6-7
The return of outdoor music festivals feels like a gift from summer to the people of Pittsburgh. For these two dog days of summer in August, the place to experience and support the region’s live music scene will be along the Allegheny River in Millvale. Clubs, bars, parks, restaurants, breweries, churches, community centers and creative spaces will be filled with the sounds of 250 local bands — representing all genres under the sun — who have been itching to perform live again. For its biggest incarnation yet, the community festival will feature 24 stages throughout the borough, along with a pop-up Roadkill Mobile Art Gallery, comedy and spoken word performances, food trucks and more. For a sneak peek of the sounds, check out this Spotify playlist.
3. Asian Lantern Festival at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium: August 14
See one of Pittsburgh’s top destinations in a new light. Shining a spotlight on conservation, community and diversity, the festival’s debut will welcome visitors on select nights through Oct. 30. The glow of 50 towering wildlife-themed lanterns will illuminate the entire site creating a captivating evening experience. Handcrafted from steel and silk, the towering sculptures will embody three interconnected themes: the zoo, the conservation of global species and Asian culture. As dusk takes hold, the lanterns will start to glow — with one even soaring 30 feet high. While strolling winding pathways, festival-goers also will enjoy culturally-inspired cuisine and live entertainment from Taiko drummers, Asian dance groups and origami artists. Buy tickets.
4. PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Cranberry: August 19-21
Did you know that one of the country’s two leading pulp magazine conventions is headquartered in Pittsburgh? Mystery, science fiction and intrigue will converge for three days when PulpFest returns. Pulp magazines — fiction periodicals named after the cheap paper on which they were printed — are the main attraction, but there’s so much more to feast your eyes on. Discover how these “throwaway magazines” inspire writers, artists, directors, gamers, designers, and creators of all ilks. Peruse the dealers’ room packed with pulps, vintage paperbacks, true crime mags, genre fiction, first-edition hardcovers, dime novels, original art, comic books, old-time radio shows, games, film serials and more. Pop culture lovers will bond at panel discussions, readings and talks. New this year is a program honoring legendary women editors. Get hardboiled and register here.
5. Little Italy Days in Bloomfield: August 19-22
Get ready to live “La dolce vita” for four festive days in Pittsburgh’s very own Little Italy. Bloomfield’s Liberty Avenue commercial corridor could really use a boost after a year of shutdowns, and the return of Little Italy Days is your chance to support independent businesses while celebrating the region’s largest heritage festival. Eat your way through a street fair of scrumptious foods that’s 10 football fields long, watch pizza stretching demos and catch 30 acts on three stages. You’ll be transported to the Old Country with authentic Italian accordion music, opera singers, traditional dancing and much more. Don’t miss the excitement of the celebrity bocce tournament and the dramatic Italian procession.
6. Pogopalooza in Market Square and Wilkinsburg: August 20-22
After the Olympics mania fades, keep the adrenaline pumping with extreme pogo. Yep, there really is a Pogo World Championships, and yep, it’s really taking place in Pittsburgh. Watch in awe as the planet’s top pro pogo stick athletes perform gravity-defying tricks and flips 10 feet into the air. The eye-popping action kicks off Friday in Market Square, where high jump competitors will attempt to set a Guinness World Record by soaring over an 11-foot bar. Over the weekend, Xpogo’s Wilkinsburg HQ will host world championship competitions and never-before-done stunts in a custom-built pogo park. The exhilarating event also includes a Bounce Off Contest for kids, an open jump area with pogo sticks for the public to try and food trucks. Register for free.