The sounds of guitars, bodhrans, fiddles, tin whistles surrounds visitors. The aromas of traditional Irish cuisine waft through the air, and around every turn is some new piece of Irish culture. No, this isn't some daydream fueled by too much shepherd's pie. Each year, the Pittsburgh Irish Festival transforms a small part of the city into the Emerald Isle. In total, the festival schedules more than 28 hours of entertainment over the course of three days. Four stages play host to Irish rock and other traditional music. Visitors might also see Irish step dancing and storytellers, who breathe new life into traditional legends and folktales.
Hands-on activities also dot the festival grounds, including the chance to pet native Irish dogs or even search your family tree for Irish ancestors. And in addition to traditional cuisine, the festival hosts a tasting tent with Irish whiskey, Irish cider, and Irish experts who explain how these spirits are made.
The Silk Screen Asian-American Film Festival, part of a larger vision for a future Asia Center of Pittsburgh, is an annual event highlighting the considerable cinematic output of filmmakers from India, Japan, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and Iran, as well as other nations you might one day inhabit according to childhood sessions of "Spin the Globe." This year's event—the fifth annual—features a slate of films to rival past years' entries. This year's flicks include such noteworthy efforts as The Harimaya Bridge, Cooking with Stella, and The Taqwacores, among many others. Your pass gives you access to eight of the festival's films, giving you the chance to give a total of 24 thumbs up.
Fronted by British-Nigerian lead singer Sade Adu, Grammy-winning band Sade has seduced eardrums with a potent mélange of R & B, soul, and jazz for nearly 30 years. Special guest John Legend will also throw his honeyed voice into the ring, soothing ears that have been damaged by the cacophony of city life and the screeching of prima-donna chalkboards. Singing songs from the new compilation album The Ultimate Collection, Sade will delight fans with greatest hits from her storied career, as well as a smattering of brand-new songs, melding soul-stroking vocals with eye-tickling dancing and onstage spectacle.
Disney's Daytime Emmy Award–winning Imagination Movers will perform their In a Big Warehouse concert in the grand interior of the Lisner Auditorium, playing their most popular songs and bringing the magic of their eponymous TV series to life. The popular New Orleans–based rock band bridges all generation gaps with fun and educational songs chock-full of memorable melodies and bounding rhythms that adults love as much as kids, fueling long van drives and kindergarten karaoke. With an extravagant set and ecstatic energy, the Imagination Movers give a performance that gets audiences dancing, clapping, and singing along, with guest appearances from Playhouse Disney favorites Choo Choo Soul, Nina, and Warehouse Mouse.
Kenneth Donald Rogers—an American country-music star, photographer, producer, actor, and fellow with a nice beard—has won three Grammys and more than a dozen American Music Awards for his sweet, stirring crooning. Though he won't be toting his dozens of awards, Mr. Rogers will be bringing an impressive showcase of selections from his extensive collection of country hits. To prep the crowd for the main event, The Herndon Brothers—a local act lead by Ray Herndon, a country star known for livin' the dream—will layer the crowd in hometown vibes from their wide library of inspiring and honest tracks.
When organizers were planning last year's inaugural Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival, they expected about 1,000 people to show up. They ended up with a crowd of more than 7,000. And it's no wonder, considering how highly the European dumpling ranks among the city's beloved foods. As Stephan Bontrager, one of the organizers of the fest, told the Post-Gazette in 2013, pierogis are "one of those Pittsburgh pride things."
Locals can once again show their love for the chewy concoctions at this year's fest, where there will be at least 15 vendors serving both traditional and contemporary versions. Perennial favorite Gosia's will be using a pierogi recipe handed down through generations of their Polish family, while Square Cafe will be giving attendees another chance to taste their coffee-spiked dumplings. There'll be plenty to do besides eat, of course. Other attractions include a beer tent (sponsored by Yuengling) and a pop-up market with handcrafted gifts such as pierogi earrings and toasty pierogi slippers.