Blue Lapis Light
Blue Lapis Light

The second your calendar turns to June, you’ll be on your way to a summer packed with dynamic events. From aerialists scaling Fifth Avenue Place to the triumphant return of The Furries, it’s time to rediscover the Burgh.

Lori Hepner
Intersection*ology LED light painting. Photo by CREATE artist Lori Hepner.

1. CREATE Festival at August Wilson Center: June 1, Noon to 9 p.m.

Pittsburgh just topped Inc.’s list of the “6 Best Cities to Start a Business Right Now” and Philly Mag calls us “the One City in Pennsylvania poised to crush the 21st Century.” Don’t take their word for it; see firsthand why Pittsburgh is a thriving hub for creativity and innovation. Presented by the Pittsburgh Technology Council, this one-day festival packs a punch with art and music by 100 creatives and 70 awardees, along with insightful talks, performances, parties, exhibits and workshops. A diverse group of creatives—from entrepreneurs to makers to students—will connect with the public during this unparalleled showcase. Hear U.S. veteran and GruntStyle CEO Dan Alarik share his remarkable journey building a $100M apparel company after deployment, head to the new IDEAfest to for a discussion about how creativity can change the planet and attend the inaugural Co-CREATE Business Ignition Program Graduation and Demo Day. View a schedule.

Umbrella Sky Project
Umbrella Sky Project, Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. Courtesy Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

2. Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival Downtown: June 2-11

Where can you watch aerialists scale a skyscraper, stroll under a sky of colorful floating umbrellas and sit in a GPS-equipped movable chair along the Allegheny River? All of this awaits at the 58th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. A production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the must-do 10-day showcase will fill Point State Park, Gateway Center and the Cultural District with free art, music, theater and dance. Experience Pittsburgh premieres by award-winning local, national and global artists, shop at the signature Artist Market, interact with thought-provoking installations, attend outdoor concerts, and much more. Opening weekend will be a spectacle unlike anything seen before when Blue Lapis Light aerial dance company defies gravity while debuting a thrilling performance choreographed for Fifth Avenue Place. Don’t miss the TRAF Dance Battle as Bboys and Bgirls compete live, and explore creative reuse with Spanish artist Francisco de Pájaro who will beautify Downtown with vibrant paintings of garbage. In Point State Park, meditate inside a “geofeedback” installation of metal, fabric clouds and illuminated LEDs that explores water, nature and motion. The Juried Visual Art Exhibition is always a hit, and this year’s presentation curated by Ivette Spradlin features multimedia work by 48 regional artists. View a schedule.

Pittsburgh Pride
Courtesy Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh.

3. Pittsburgh Pride: June 2-11, Downtown & additional locations

There are countless ways you can celebrate and support the region’s LGBT communities, and not just during Pride Month. Pennsylvania’s largest festival for the LGBT community and its allies is back with an expanded lineup and new attractions—not to mention its first-ever 300-foot mobile zip line—and did somebody say Jennifer Hudson? Highlights include Ready. Set. Pride—a free outdoor event on eclectic Ellsworth featuring America’s Got Talent alum Brian Justin Crum—the inaugural Legacy Ball, a pub crawl and more. Don’t miss the new event, MJ LIVE!, which will bring a Michael Jackson Tribute Show from the Las Vegas Strip to Downtown. The main attraction is a headlining performance by Grammy- and Oscar-decorated singer and actor Jennifer Hudson at Pride in the Street. One day was never enough, so PrideFest is now two, with 150 vendors, children’s activities, three entertainment stages, and dance performances. Pride will shine at the Equality March, debuting a new kick-off at PPG Paints Arena at 12:30 p.m. View a schedule.

If you’re seeking other options, join the June 11 People’s Pride March 2k17 starting at 1 p.m. at the Greyhound Station—organized in response to the “ongoing problematic and oppressive history of pride hosted by the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh.” Not to miss on June 13 is Roots Pride boasting performances by Brooklyn rapper Junglepussy and Philly’s DJ Delish, a tribute to ballroom culture and panel discussions at the August Wilson Center.

Full Bloom
Courtesy Kelly Strayhorn Theater.

4. Full Bloom Summer Dance Party at Kelly Strayhorn Theater: June 3, 7 p.m.

Dance your way into a creative summer at the KST’s ninth annual Full Bloom benefit bash. The community-wide celebration reflects the doers, makers, movers and shakers who are nurturing the local arts scene and putting Pittsburgh on the global map for cutting-edge culture. Don your hippest ’80s and ’90s threads to pay tribute to the outstanding local, national and international talents who have graced the KST stage. The fun kicks off at 7 p.m. with a VIP soirée featuring mingling with the host committee, East Liberty leaders and KST board. VIPers will enjoy music by DJs Ondo & Naeem, performances by The Get Down Gang and a beer garden. Full Bloom sizzles at 9 p.m. with a Soul Train-style line and communal dance party that’s sure to spill into the streets. Offering an inclusive “Pay What Makes You Happy” rate, this is one fundraiser that won’t break the bank. Buy tickets.

Photo by Christopher Sprowls.

5. TEDxPittsburgh at Byham Theater: June 4, 11:30 a.m.

A NASA space weather forecaster. A professional genealogist specializing in 20th-century immigrant ancestry. The executive director of PublicSource. Be inspired and empowered by these voices and many others when TEDxPittsburgh sets up shop unveiling its new theme, Awakening: Ideas on the Rise. At the mic, 11 local luminaries representing a wide range of industries and backgrounds will share perspectives, stories and experiences. Speakers will discuss technology entertainment and design, highlight ideas that have sparked action and connect innovations forged in Pittsburgh with global forces. Hosted by Emmai Alaquiva and Gab Bonesso, the all-ages event will also feature performances by Chris #2 Barker of Anti-Flag fame and 1Hood Media artists Jacquea Mae and Jeremiah Davis, and a film screening of Our Rhythm. New this year is a VIP package offering a Pittsburgh Cultural Trust membership, meet-and-greet with speakers, wine and light bites, and preferred seating. Buy tickets.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

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.