Polish Hill

July 20
Noon – 9 p.m.

Polish Hill is not just for pierogies and kluski anymore.

The summer festival scene is in full swing and one urban celebration that should be on your itin is the 7th annual Polish Hill Arts Festival—where community pride, handcrafted pierogies and a punk rock spirit co-exist in the heart of the centrally located and quintessentially Pittsburgh neighborhood.

Animating the corner of Brereton and Dobson Streets, the family-friendly event features art and craft vendors, live music, hands-on activities for children and kids, and of course, food vendors selling Polish, vegetarian and vegan fare. Presented by the Polish Hill Civic Association, this year’s installment features 30-plus local artists and contemporary craftspeople displaying and selling their artwork in a range of media, sizes and price levels.

Anchoring the event, which is expected to draw nearly 700 people, is the festival’s eclectic program of live music and performance. Featured acts include: DJ Pandemic spinning global dance music; Brazilian samba drummers and dancers Timbeleza; country rockers The Polish Hillbillies; salsa, jazz and world music duo Geña y Peña; Middle Eastern dancer Olivia Kissel; samba group Virasamba; electronic rock band Gangwish; and alt-country group Jaguar Mountain Rundown.

Hands-on art-making activities will be led by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Little House, Big Art, Assemble and more. Food and drink vendors include: Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (read: authentic homemade Polish fare), Root 174, Blue Dust restaurant, the Pop Stop, Tiki Hut Treats, Tonys Gyros and Red Star Kombucha.

Not your average arts festival, this relaxed and quirky celebration really does embody the personality, spirit and vibrancy of the neighborhood itself. Residents and visitors alike will explore a nabe located smack dab in the middle of Pittsburgh and see firsthand how Polish Hill is experiencing a burst of community arts engagement. With an influx of young residents—many of whom are artists, writers, musicians and small business owners—an independent record store, coffeehouse and comic book shop that have created a vibrant hub on Dobson, as well as a pool, skate park, community center, and public art and beautification projects, the scene on the Hill is inspiring.

Neighborhood attractions open during festival hours include Lili Cafe, Mind Cure Records, and Copacetic Comics, Gooski’s and Pope’s. For a cool down, head to West Penn Pool, located just a block away from the festival.

Jennifer Baron

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...