The fleeting, transitional month of September has inspired countless musicians to pen iconic tunes—from Rod Stewart to Big Star and Green Day. While we too find the back-to-school rush, slightly crisp leaves and milder temps to be inspiring, this doesn’t mean that summer fun is over. In honor of the 12th day of the ninth month—where you might find yourself jet-setting from Point Breeze to the Northside within 24 hours—we’ve expanded our typical Top 10 to 12 Pittsburgh events not to miss this month. Disclaimer: we better not hear anyone saying there’s nothing to do in Pittsburgh. Ever again.
1. Festival of Combustion at Carrie Furnaces: September 5
Steel production at the Carrie Furnaces may have halted in 1982 but the molten metal returns on Saturday, September 5th. Reborn as a National Historic Landmark, the storied plant will host the Festival of Combustion from noon to 5 p.m. Teaming up to present the inaugural installment, Rivers of Steel Heritage Area, Detroit’s Carbon Arts, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Ton Pottery and the Mobile Sculpture Workshop invite visitors of all ages to participate in a variety of hot art happenings while getting a behind-the-scenes look at these icons of industry and their sprawling grounds.
Design your own glass mosaic, fire your a ceramic vase, watch makers cast molten lava and see live welding and metal fabrication demonstrations right before your very eyes. Learn about all of these historic processes that are part of our region’s legacy at the Carrie Furnaces—where over 1,250 tons of molten metal was once poured daily. Fuel up with firery local food vendors including Iron Oven Catering and Wings and a Prayer, and cool down with icy treats from The Pop Shop and refreshing libations from The Brew Gentlemen. Providing the day’s electric soundtrack will be Pittsburgh rockabilly band, The Bessemers. Admission: $15 (free for ages 18 and under).
2. Steel City Big Pour at Construction Junction: September 12
Meet the granddaddy of all Pittsburgh beer festivals that has inspired countless area brew happenings since its inception in 2004. Uniquely situated within the region’s only recycled building supply retailer, the Steel City Big Pour brings together a thirst for craft beer and a passion for building conservation. Those lucky enough to snag tickets—the event sold-out in one hour—will be treated to three hours of beer, food, live art and music, and more beer. Tapping into Construction Junction‘s vast warehouse and parking lot, the region’s preeminent craft beer festival features 46 brewers from around the region and U.S. paired with fare from 26 top area restaurants, seltzer and soda vendors, cafes and pubs and markets (humans cannot exist on beer alone).
Don’t forget to try out the Big Pour app for live beer and food ratings and sample the Big Pour’s signature brew created by Scott Smith of East End Brewing fame. In between tastings, pour-goers can enjoy live music by Hoodoo Drugstore and meet author Mark Brewer—who will be signing and selling his book, Brewology. Always a highlight is the chance to bid on locally-designed “kegerators” (read: refrigerator meets keg) in the Big Pour’s lively bar raffle. Proceeds support CJ’s work promoting sustainability and conservation. Sessions run from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. View a complete list of breweries and food vendors.
3. Backstage Block Party at City Theatre: September 12
Pittsburgh’s contemporary theatre scene is thriving and one of the hottest tickets this month is City Theatre’s Backstage Block Party. Rock the (Bingham Street) block, get a sneak peek at the company’s upcoming season of premieres, tour the spaces where the on-stage magic happens and more. Block partiers will play interactive theatre games, enjoy behind-the-scenes access, indulge in local fare and vie for door prizes. A first for the South Side company, the free block party will include a food truck roundup with Mission Mahi Tacos, PGH Halal and Sugar and Spice, and beer tastings from Penn Brewery.
Attendees will be treated to a special preview of City Theatre’s dynamic 2015-2016 season featuring local talents, five Pittsburgh premieres and one world premiere. Taking audiences from Dublin to Brooklyn, and from WWII to the blogosphere, the 41st season boasts a diverse selection of storytellers and plays, including Connor McPherson’s The Night Alive, Dominique Morisseau’s Sunset Baby, Keith Reddin’s Some Brighter Distance, Laura Eason’s Sex with Strangers, Anna Ziegler’s The Last Match and Benjamin Scheuer’s The Lion.