The NEXTpittsburgh event guide is underwritten in part by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

What’s going on this week in Pittsburgh, Sept. 5-11? Find out here. Visit each organization’s website and social media for changing Covid protocols. Know of a cool event? Email us.

Monday, Sept. 5: Labor Day Parade Downtown
10 a.m.
Start your holiday by honoring the U.S. labor movement at one of the country’s largest and oldest Labor Day parades — where you just might even meet President Joe Biden. Hosted by the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council, the route takes parade-goers from Centre Avenue to Grant Street to Boulevard of the Allies, finishing at the United Steelworkers Building.

Lord of the Rings film still courtesy of Row House Cinema.

Monday, Sept. 5-Thursday, Sept. 8: Lord of the Rings Festival at Row House Cinema
12 p.m.-12 a.m.
Forget cookouts and camping: Travel to Middle Earth this Labor Day. It’s a rare chance to see Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy on the big screen screened chronologically: “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King.” Coinciding with the release of “The Rings of Power” on Amazon Prime, the fantasy marathon culminates with a steak and ale hand pies dinner from The Pub Chip Shop on Sept. 8. Buy tickets.

Monday, Sept. 5: Kickoff and Rib Festival at Acrisure Stadium
Noon-9 p.m.
Fill your Labor Day plate — and palate — with mouth-watering, stick-to-your-ribs, well … ribs while ushering in the football season during this North Side tradition. While devouring all the ribs, festival-goers can attend street parties, pop into the Steelers Pro Shop and Farm to Table Farm Market and snap selfies with Steely McBeam. Monday’s festivities include the Steelers Experience and Youth Mini-Camp and live music. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of the Gateway Clipper.

Monday, Sept. 5: Labor Day Polka Cruise on the Gateway Clipper
1-4 p.m.
Spend the holiday on the river swaying to classic polka sounds. Polka Hall of Famers and 12-time Grammy nominees Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push will entertain boaters. Stroll around the grand riverboat and ascend to the third deck for fantastic views, snap boarding photos, sip specialty cocktails and more. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of Allegheny County.

Monday, Sept. 5: Allegheny County’s Pooches in the Pool
4-6:30 p.m.
Dry off hoomans, it’s time for pooches to rule the pools. As the outdoor swim season sadly comes to a close, the region’s furry besties are invited to cool off in one of the county’s spacious pools at Boyce Park, North Park, Settlers Cabin and South Park. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of Britsburgh.

Monday, Sept. 5-Sunday, Sept. 11: Britsburgh Festival in Pittsburgh
Various times
The British are coming (back!) for seven events all around town — and many are free. Don your fanciest fascinator to kick things off at the Mansions on Fifth during a royal afternoon tea. You’ll become a dedicated Anglophile as you sip the newest Britsburgh Ale, see productions by Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks and the New Renaissance Theatre Company, meet bestselling British author Damien Lewis and more. View a schedule.

“Under the Lights.” Film still courtesy of ReelAbilities.
“Under the Lights.” Film still courtesy of ReelAbilities.

Wednesday, Sept. 7-Sunday, Sept. 11: ReelAbilities at Pittsburgh Playhouse
7 p.m.
The only cultural event in the city presenting a comprehensive showcase of the lives and talents of people living with disabilities is celebrating its 10th-anniversary milestone. The landmark cinema festival features 25 feature and short films, an art exhibit featuring Creative Citizen Studios, lively films receptions and more. Don’t miss tonight’s opening night screening of “The Specials,” a presentation of the Richard Meritzer Award and a Q&As with directors and film subjects. View a schedule and buy tickets.

Wednesday, Sept. 7: Judy Collins at the Byham Theater
8 p.m.
Fans of Judy Collins can’t miss the cultural treasure when she lights up the intimate Downtown theater with her prolific song catalogue and unparalleled voice. Collins’ 50-year career spans a wide range of musical genres and numerous collaborators, a Grammy Award, an Oscar nomination, and passionate social activism. In February, the poetic storyteller and songwriter released her 29th studio album, the first by Collins to contain completely original material. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of One Day to Remember.

Thursday, Sept. 8: One Bite One Day at The Highline
6-9 p.m.
This foodie fundraiser is back for a perfect pairing: Local chefs and mixologists will craft a bite-sized signature dish with a complementary cocktail — and all the proceeds will help children who have a parent with cancer. It’s the first time that One Day to Remember is hosting the event outdoors at the city’s new South Side venue, so don’t sleep on tickets.

Photo courtesy of Squonk Opera.

September 9: RADical Days in Allegheny County
Various times
Back for an entire month with more free experiences than ever before — there’s even more to love about RADical Days. It’s the best time of year to visit the region’s attractions and amenities — with 75 free events hosted by 65 entities. Play four-square with professional dancers, tour the towering Carrie Furnaces, help maneuver giant purple hands, preview an opera and so much more.

Friday, Sept. 9-Sunday, Sept. 11: A Fair in the Park in Mellon Park
Various times
Showcasing 85 fine artisans, the Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh’s signature event is a gathering space where art lovers can spend the weekend exploring handcrafted products representing a wide range of media. Along with the juried artisan fair, the free event features a scavenger hunt, food trucks and tented seating areas. View fair hours.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Irish Festival.

Friday, Sept. 9-Sunday, Sept. 11: Pittsburgh Irish Festival at Carrie Furnaces
Various times
A steel industry landmark seems like a fitting new HQ for one of the country’s leading Irish-American festivals. Step into the Emerald Isle (without trekking 3,374 miles!) to experience culture, cuisine and lore. New this year is a stage where chefs and bakers will demonstrate recipes for concocting traditional treats. International headliners include Fierce fiddlers The Bow Tides, Celtic harpist Dennis Doyle, Glaswegian siblings The Friel Sisters, Santa Monica’s Gaelic Storm, and Donegal’s sister powerhouse The Screaming Orphans. Sample Guinness-infused fudge, visit the Genealogy Pavilion, cuddle with Irish canines and try ancient Celtic axe throwing. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival.

Friday, Sept. 9: Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival at Kennywood
4:30-9:30 p.m.
Where else can you ride the world’s oldest wooden roller coasters while noshing on Pittsburgh’s favorite finger food? Amusement park thrills meet culinary delights at this pierogi paradise. In a festival first, the event takes place on a Friday night. Boasting 100 inventive dishes from 20 vendors, anything goes on a plate — from rogicones, pierogi egg rolls and peach cobbler paczki to Caribbean pierogies and even “Pittsburgh in a Cup.” In between bites, hop on seven classic rides, pop into the Pierogi Market and Biergarten, and paint your own pierogi. Buy tickets.

Weston Lambert, Stone that Flows, 2022.

Friday, Sept. 9: Transformation 11: Contemporary Works in Glass at Contemporary Craft
5:30-8 p.m.
Contemporary Craft brings back its flagship exhibition with tonight’s opening of the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize exhibition, Transformation 11: Contemporary Works in Glass. The prize winner and honorable mentions will be announced during the free event. Featuring new work by 17 glass artists from around the world, Transformation “will make viewers see glass and its possibilities as a material in completely new ways.” Return on Saturday for a dialogue with the artists from 1 to 3 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 9: Pittsburgh Left Opening Reception at SPACE Gallery
6-8 p.m.
Tonight’s opening reception for the playfully titled Pittsburgh Left exhibition celebrates work in a wide variety of media by 11 artists whose creative practice is connected to our city. Artist and exhibition organizer Tom Sarver says: “In developing The Pittsburgh Left, I’m interested in how other artists think about the city and how it has influenced their work.” While in the Cultural District, pop into 707 Penn Gallery, where auto-didactic, multi-disciplinary artist atiya jones presents her debut solo exhibition, Use What You Got.

Friday, Sept. 9: Art for Change at Stage AE
6:30-11 p.m.
Persad Center knows that creativity can change lives. The nonprofit’s core fundraiser is also one of the region’s most impressive art auctions. And there’s a lot that’s new this year. At a new venue, Art for Change will debut five curated auction galleries and a pilot program compensating artists. Auction highlights include a photo of Elton John from the Herb Ritts Foundation, work by NYC-based celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz and a piece by renowned artist Keith Haring. Keep the bids going because proceeds support mental health services to the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV/AIDS. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of Family House.

Saturday, Sept. 10: Family House Polo Match at Hartwood Acres
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
For almost four decades, this Pittsburgh tradition has raised critical funds for Family House. Gather your family and friends for a memorable outing that helps patients and caregivers find affordable lodging while traveling to Pittsburgh for medical care. Along with the excitement of a professional polo match, the event features vintage vehicles, tailgating, food trucks, a silent auction, live music and children’s activities. Buy tickets.

Saturday, Sept. 10: Opening Block Party at the Oasis
12-6 p.m.
Oasis Taproom and TLC Libations are lighting up Broad Street to celebrate Western Pennsylvania’s first Black women-owned distillery. Hosted by RIAN, the opening party includes DJs and food trucks. Buy tickets.

Saturday, Sept. 10: Summer Recess Festival at Spirit
12 p.m.-12 a.m.
Spirit keeps the summer vibes flowing with music spanning four stages and 14 hours, including LA synth-punk act Panther Modern and Pittsburgh’s Merce Lemon. Recess-goers can check out art, clothing and record vendors, play Bingo-aoke, watch wrestling matches, visit Pittsburgh Modular’s Synth Playground and see the unveiling of the venue’s newest mural. The outdoor festivial is free; tickets are required for the indoor after-party starting at 9 p.m.

Photo courtesy of the Original Pittsburgh Taco Festival.

Saturday, Sept. 10: Pittsburgh Taco Festival at the Strip District Terminal
12:30 p.m.
Eat tacos, support the work of the Latin American Cultural Union and Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation. Sounds like a win-win Saturday. Transforming the new Strip District hub into taco town, the foodie fest will showcase 25-plus food trucks, street vendors and eateries, along with beer, tequila and sangria purveyors, an artist market, and live music. Buy tickets.

Saturday, Sept. 10: Pittsburgh International Literary Festival at Alphabet City
Sept. 10-21
Various times
There’s never been a more critical time to support City of Asylum. Just weeks after the horrific Aug. 12 stabbing of novelist Salman Rushdie and the injury of City of Asylum co-founder Henry Reese at the Chautauqua Institution, the nonprofit announced its 10-day LitFest featuring participants from 15 countries. Kicking off today with a program celebrating Rushdie, events will explore identity, marginalization and literature in translation. Featured authors include Neustadt Prize winner Dubravka Ugrešić, New York Times bestselling author Gary Shteyngart and Woman’s Prize nominee Angie Cruz.

Saturday, Sept 10: Hilltop Harvest Festival at The Deck at Mt. Oliver
3-6 p.m.
Head up to the Hilltop for this first-ever fest along Brownsville Road. Hosted by Mount Oliver Borough, Hilltop Urban Farm and Hilltop Alliance, the afternoon features bluegrass music by Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers, brews from Inner Groove and farm vendors.

Sarah Kim, “Suki’s Honda.” © 2022 Sarah Kim.
Sarah Kim, “Suki’s Honda.” © 2022 Sarah Kim.

Saturday, Sept 10: Plain Silk, Uncarved Wood at Associated Artists of Pittsburgh
4-7 p.m.
The latest exhibit to open at AAP showcases the innovative ways that Asian-American artists are contributing to art. Curated by Brent Nakamoto, the presentation of work by artists based in Pittsburgh also “seeks to claim space for Asian-American artists in what is still predominantly a white cultural space.” A celebration of the Asian diaspora, the free opening event features performances by Caroline Yoo and Anny Chen, food by AmBoy Urban Collective’s Rafael Vencio and music by DJ Formosa.

Saturday, Sept. 10: THE BASH at City Theatre
7-10 p.m.
The bash is back and you don’t want to suffer from FOMO. Flipping the script on the stale fundraiser, the street party benefit will activate City’s Theatre‘s historic Bingham Street campus with South Side food trucks, summery cocktails, artisan vendors and sidewalk games. The night heats way up with a dance party hosted by 1Hood Media and DJ QRX. Buy tickets.

Saturday, Sept. 10: Urban Bush Women – “Hair & Other Stories” at Pittsburgh Playhouse
7 p.m.
Through the lens of Black women’s hair, this dance-theater production explores race, identity, beauty, freedom, liberation and release. Choreographed and directed by Chanon Judson and Samantha Speis, the work blending movement, song, and conversation is inspired by Jawole Willa Jo Zolla’s work “HairStories.” Buy tickets.

Saturday, Sept. 10: AURA on 11th Street
7-11 p.m.
Dance at the river’s edge while dressed head to toe in fave shade of blue? Sounds like a perfect Saturday night! Join Pittsburgh Creative Corps artist-in-residence Madame Dolores on the waterfront lawn, where she’ll host AURA as part of the ArtWalk on the Allegheny series. Evoking nights when “we would dance all night long and DJs were busy ‘saving lives,’” the evening showcases deep house music curated by DJ Brotha Mike of Solid State Soul Radio.

Sunday, Sept. 11: Tailgate on the Lawn at Hazelwood Green
11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Get off the couch and take the fam to this open-air Steelers Watch Party. Watch the Steelers take on the division rival Cincinnati Bengals on a huge, outdoor screen while and enjoying tons of free activities. Watch The Chalking Dad create live art, see Blam wrestling league action, and shop from vendors. From face painting, balloon art and food trucks to contests and outdoor recreation, it’ll be a blast.

Sunday, Sept. 11: Doggo Day at Kingfly Spirits
2-5 p.m.
Who says you need to leave Spot at home while you sip spirits? The Strip distillery shares its pooch pride with this free event benefiting Animal Friends. Plus you and your furry bestie can enjoy live music by Jimbo Jackson. food vendors and treats from Salty Paws.

For more things to do, check out our Weekly Event Guides and 13 Pittsburgh events you can’t miss in September, from the Carnegie International to Rocktoberfest. For live music, check out 22 best concerts in Pittsburgh this September from Elton John to Snail Mail. For family events, see Farewell summer: 10 September events for kids in Pittsburgh.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...