Courtesy Pittsburgh Glass Center.

Pittsburgh Glass Center
July 16
6 — 9 p.m.

Pittsburgh’s legacy is not only lined in steel and pierogies. This Saturday night, one local arts venue is inviting the public to celebrate the city’s deep roots in glass and whiskey at a signature anniversary bash.

Courtesy Pittsburgh Glass Center.
Courtesy Pittsburgh Glass Center.

Marking 15 innovative years along the Penn Avenue arts corridor, Pittsburgh Glass Center’s (PGC) “Ignite + Imbibe” party is turning up the temperature on summer fun with a showcase of molten magma, homemade, fire-inspired libations, and fab, functional artwork.

Heat up during exciting glassblowing “pourformances”—where PGC artists will demonstrate how to make drinking glasses, mugs, and goblets—and then cool down with local beverages crafted by Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka, Wigle Whiskey, and local breweries.

Don’t bounce early, because later in the evening, PGC artists will pour molten material during an “epic meltdown performance.” Added bonus? All attendees will receive a handmade glass to use throughout the event and take home at the end of the evening. A variety of handmade glassware will also be for sale at the event, ranging in price from $20 to $50 per cup.

Courtesy Pittsburgh Glass Center.
Courtesy Pittsburgh Glass Center.

Before Pittsburgh became the Steel City, it was rightfully known as America’s Glass City. The city’s strategic location at the confluence of three rivers made it an ideal hub for manufacturing fragile glass products. Many residents might not know that in 1902, there were some 150 glass factories in the tri-state area, and that by 1920, our region produced 80% of the glass in the U.S. Glass made right here in Pittsburgh has even been used in elegant tableware at the White House, in tiles for New York City’s vast tunnels, and in searchlights at the Panama Canal.

Way before becoming a glass hub, Pittsburgh was a national leader in terms of whiskey production. By 1808, Allegheny County was producing half a barrel of whiskey for every American, and during the heyday of whiskey making in western PA, there were 4,000 documented stills.

Fast-forward to 2016, and the PGC is teaming up Pittsburgh’s own rock star craft distillery, Wigle Whiskey to produce “Ignite + Imbibe.” Named to honor one of Pennsylvania’s pioneering  distillers, Phillip Wigle—who helped usher in the Whiskey Rebellion—the local business with locations in the Strip District and Spring Garden is currently the only whiskey distillery in the region and was the first distillery to open in the City of Pittsburgh since Prohibition.

Open to ages 21+. Buy tickets.

Looking for more events? Read our 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in JulyEverything you need to know about Pittsburgh concerts in Julyand our Top 10 things for families to do in July in Pittsburgh feature articles.

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 of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.