Courtesy of the EQT Pittsburgh Three River Regatta.

Point State Park

July 3 – 5
Noon to 10 p.m.

Where can you splash along Pittsburgh’s iconic three rivers, watch dogs play frisbee and ride above the city in a 90-foot-tall Wheel of Lights?

Courtesy of the EQT Pittsburgh Three River Regatta.

With three days and nights packed with family fun, live music, festive fireworks and much more, the EQT Three River Regatta reigns as a quintessentially Pittsburgh way to spend the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Kicking off the official start of summer and the sunny month of July—the aquatic happening boasts events and activities take place on both the river and city sides of Point State Park from noon to 10 p.m.—making it the largest inland regatta in the U.S. and the tri-state region’s largest summer event.

So whether your family seeks high-speed stunts at the water’s edge or relaxing crafts in the sand, you’ll find something for every river lover at the Point.

Courtesy of the EQT Pittsburgh Three River Regatta.

For lots of family fun, head to the Cool Off Kids Zone, where kids of all ages can experience an actual beach right in the heart of downtown. What’s summer without a little sand in your toes? Travel to the shore at the AAA-sponsored Kids Korner, where children can build their very own sand castles at a riverfront beach. Receive a free multi-sport or bike helmet and learn to properly fit, wear and use it at the Kohl’s Hard Head Helmet Program at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Don’t miss the popular SandSational Sand Sculpting event—back for its fifth year at the Regatta—where kids will watch in awe as artists transform 150 tons of sand into a massive work inspired by Pittsburgh’s steelworker heritage. Viewers are invited to watch it all take shape and the creative process unfold firsthand in Point State Park.

Ready to float? Create a boat that floats using recycled materials, old insulation, plastic bottles, glue and more, as you work with artists from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh to assemble your own constructed craft. Next, make sure your new boat floats and enter it in the Regatta’s Anything That Floats: Kids Edition.

Courtesy of the EQT Pittsburgh Three River Regatta.

We know that they excel at sit, stay and fetch, but have you ever seen dogs play frisbee? Check out the remarkable Muttley Crew Flying Dogs in action right before your very eyes. Sure to steal the show and capture the hearts of dog lovers everywhere, these high-flying canine athletes have even appeared NFL and NBA halftimes and have been featured on ESPN, Animal Planet and Sports Illustrated. Performing will be a 50-pound Collie mix, a 12-pound Jack Russell terrier and many more, and all of the dogs have been rescued from animal shelters or from individuals looking to place them in a good home.

Swing by the Carnegie Science Center’s booth to participate in water-themed activities and demonstrations. Learn about the fish in our rivers and try your hand at an ancient art technique called Gyotaku printing, make a water cycle bracelet, find out how many pennies it takes to sink a boat and see what happens when objects are frozen at 320 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in liquid nitrogen!

Ready for a ride? Take a seat on the giant Gondola Ferris Wheel to get a break taking view of the city and rivers from 90 feet in the air. Dubbed the “Wheel of Lights,” the towering attraction will illuminate the skyline with the latest in LED lighting technology, including more than 12 different patterns and 16 multi-passenger carriages.

For high-speed thrills, don’t miss the always exciting Jet Ski Stunt Shows, Formula One Power Boat Race Trials and Monster Energy BMX Team events. For more relaxed boating fun, watch the Lighted Boat Parade as local crafts sparkle and shine along the rivers, enjoy the legendary art of Chinese Dragon Boat Racing and check out beautiful wooden hydroplanes at the Vintage Power Boat Exhibit. Additional family activities include Fourth of July Face Painting, self-guided history tours and giant game versions of Jenga and Connect 4.

On July 4th, the EQT Flashes of Freedom Fireworks produced by Pyrotecnico will start at 9:36 p.m., lighting up the Pittsburgh skies with what is considered to be one of the world’s most innovative and spectacular displays of its kind.

View a complete Regatta schedule.

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...