Tekko at the David L Lawrence Convention Center

Ah, April. When spring beckons and our world blooms and it’s much easier to get out and about. With so many events in store this month, we are so ready!

Tekko 2016 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center: April 7—10

Grab your little anime fan and head to Tekko at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Now in its 14th year, the region’s premiere Japanese pop culture convention will present four days of vendors, panels, cosplay and dance contests, a 3DS Pokemon tournament, live musical performances, and more. Regulars can also experience the newest addition, TeamTekko TV, a “live” stream of selected events, guests and interviews.

The convention has also collaborated with the Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society for the Show Your Badge promotion, which offers attendees the opportunity to save on select services at local businesses. It also grants access to Tekko’s Escape Room, where gaming teams compete in a secured environment aligned to featured themes such as robots, alchemy and ninjas.

Tekko will take place from Thursday, April 7 through Sunday, April 10. Guests can register online at the Tekko website or at the door. All children age 12 or under must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Annie at the Byham Theater.
Annie Jr. at the New Hazlett Theater.

Annie Jr. at the New Hazlett Theater: April 7—10

It’s a hard knock life at the New Hazlett Theater when they present an all-student Pittsburgh Musical Theater production of Annie. Based on the comic strip, the hit Depression-era musical tells the story of a plucky little red-headed orphan who tries to find her parents with the help of her adoptive billionaire father, Oliver Warbucks. For this rendition, all the famous songs, dance numbers and heartwarming scenes will be performed by a cast consisting entirely of kids.

Annie Jr. will run at the New Hazlett Theater from Thursday, April 7 through Sunday, April 10. Tickets are available for purchase at the PMT website.

Shrine Circus is coming to town.
Shrine Circus is coming to town.

Shrine Circus at CONSOL Energy Center: April 8—10

Now in its 67th year, the Shrine Circus, the largest philanthropic fraternal organization in the United States, returns to the CONSOL Energy Center from Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 10 to thrill the whole family with an all-new show. The latest lineup includes animal acts, a performance by Bello, the world-famous daredevil clown, and an appearance by the Dark Knight himself, Batman. Proceeds from the fundraising event will help support the 22 Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, which offer free care to kids throughout the country.

Tickets for the 2016 Shrine Circus are available at the Ticketmaster website. Guests can also purchase tickets through the Dick’s Sporting Goods Box Office at CONSOL Energy Center or at select Giant Eagle locations.

Big Bad Wolf photo by Tony Lewis.
Big Bad Wolf photo by Tony Lewis.

Big Bad Wolf at the Byham Theater: April 8 & 9

The Byham Theater will huff and puff and put a new spin on an old fairy tale with Big Bad Wolf. Conceived and performed by Australia’s own Windmill Theatre, the 50-minute long play presents a far more sympathetic view of the villain from Little Red Riding Hood. In what’s described as “a hilarious, table-turning tale,” the wolf is portrayed as a misunderstood loner who forms an unlikely friendship with a brave little girl. The traveling production has delighted children all over the world, and has garnered recognition from publications that praise its ability to appeal to both kids and adults.

Big Bad Wolf will run on Friday, April 8 and Saturday, April 9. The show is being presented as part of the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series. Tickets are available for purchase at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust website.

The Great Amazing Race at Settlers Cabin State Park: April 17

The whole family can spring into action on Sunday, April 17 to compete in The Great Amazing Race at Settlers Cabin State Park. The all-ages national skills competition takes two-person teams around a one-mile-long cross country course, relying on teamwork, coordination and problem solving to complete a variety of outdoor challenges. The event partners with nonprofit organizations to raise pediatric cancer awareness, making it both fun and philanthropic.

Competitors can register on The Great Amazing Race website. The event will begin with check-in at 3:15 p.m. and end at 6 p.m. with the race completion and an award ceremony. Discounts are available for advanced registration, and for participating teachers, military members, law enforcement, and fire fighters.

Yoga at Phipps Conservatory on Earth Day
Yoga at Phipps Conservatory on Earth Day

Earth Day Celebration at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: April 22—25

The whole family can fall in love with nature when they celebrate Earth Day at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The complex will host a four-day event dedicated to raising environmental awareness. Guests can get hands-on in the Discovery Stations, attend an all-levels yoga class on the Phipps lawn, or sample some Meatless Monday vegetarian cuisine in Café Phipps. For a more visual experience, there’s a film festival and a photo exhibit showcasing the work of local nature photographer Paul g. Wiegman.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.