Photo by Leslie Clague.
Photo by Leslie Clague.
Photo by Leslie Clague.

Polish Hill

July 19
Noon – 9 p.m.

Polish Hill might be geographically small but it’s huge in terms of neighborhood character and community pride. This summer, one of the best ways to get to know this vibrant hub located smack dab in the middle of Pittsburgh—and see firsthand how it’s been experiencing new bursts of community engagement and neighborhood development—is at Sunday’s Polish Hill Arts Festival.

Polish Hill Arts Festival. Photo by Leslie Clague.

A welcome low-key addition to the bustling summer festival circuit, this annual event is a great way to enjoy Polish Hill’s eclectic charm and wrap up your weekend on a Sunday. Pierogies, punk rock and community pride will converge along Brereton Street near Dobson, for a relaxed and inspiring day and night of homegrown music, art, performance and food.

Attendees of all ages are invited to explore tinkering and technology with Assemble gallery, make crafts with Little House, Big Art, watch metalworking demos with the Mobile Sculpture Studio, sign up for library cards, explore dreams during participatory activities led by the Sleepwatch Project, learn about renewable energy and sustainable cities during demos hosted by the Land Art Generator Initiative and more.

Always a draw at this authentic festival are the performances, which reflect a neighborhood that’s home to countless musicians and artists. Featured performers for Sunday’s eighth annual installment include Brazilian samba drummers Timbeleza, metal band PARTY!, acoustic act Tilley Hawk, teen guitar wizards Urgent Notice, Zambian singer-songwriter Mathew Tembo, urban folk rockers The Hills, the Rivers and others.

Also a highlight will be the impressive lineup of 31 contemporary artists selling original work in a range of media, sizes and price levels—from ceramics and home decor, to baby clothing and small press ‘zines.

Polish Hill Arts Festival. Photo by Leslie Clague.

Arrive hungry because this little festival is packed with big tastes. An array of local food and drink purveyors will be on site—with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options—including Root 174, Pop Stop, Tony’s Gyros, Bulldawgs, Onion Maiden, Pie Pie My Darling and more.

Get to know the neighborhood even better by popping into local businesses open during festival hours, including Lili Cafe, Mind Cure Records, Copacetic Comics, Alfreds Deli Market, Gooski’s and Pope’s Place.

Have a craving for authentic Polish fare? Be sure to head to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church‘s own festival taking place the day before on Saturday, July 18.

Want to get involved and help support the Polish Hill Arts Festival? Contribute to the Polish Hill Civic Association‘s Indiegogo campaign today.

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...