Sunlight bounces off the water of the Ohio River, calm but for the wake of rowers’ oars sweeping rhythmically to propel the boats against the current. During the Pittsburgh Rowing Club’s private lessons and summer camps, both beginners and competitive racers hone their skills at the Groveton Boat Club, learning how to executive perfect strokes and drown out coxswains shouting “Cut!” through a director’s megaphone.
Colorful renditions of a Pittsburgh incline, one of the city's storied bridges, or another local sight materialize on canvases at Studio Ochre. The city where three rivers collide serves as the muse for each Pittsburgh-themed painting class. They're open to beginners and seasoned artists alike, and guests can buy snacks and libations to enjoy as they paint.
The YMCA Adventure Warrior Race gives kids and adults a chance to prove themselves against ropes courses, mud, water obstacles, and other unexpected mental and physical challenges—all while supporting a good cause. Amid the breathtaking views and tranquil waters of Lake Tris, runners maneuver around trees and carry heavy objects up the sometimes snow-covered Laurel Highlands mountains, climbing up to 1,000 feet as they go. Warriors aged 16 and older make a 4-mile circuit, whereas younger participants run age-appropriate distances of a half mile or a full mile. Trophies and the respect of all the woodland creatures are awarded to the top male and female runners, top male and female teams, and top co-ed team. According to the Daily American, funds raised from the race provide camp scholarships that allow kids to attend residential and day programs at the 263-acre YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles.
Under the sprawling roof of First Niagara Pavilion, music greats such as Billy Joel, Rush, and Jimmy Buffett have all taken over the stage as fans throughout the amphitheater space watch, transfixed. Whether enjoying the show from the open-air pavilion or the verdant lawn, concertgoers demonstrate their love for the performers by dancing along to the music or holding up lighters engraved with the lead singer’s astrological sign.
At Muddy Rose Pottery, the staff strives to highlight the therapeutic nature of hand-thrown pottery. Though the studio is open to artists of all ages and abilities, the instructors focus most of their energy on intellectually and developmentally disabled students, who use the pottery wheel to create works of art and develop self-esteem and confidence. The studio welcomes all visitors to try their hand at the wheel during a variety of classes, which range from simple one-hour sessions to longer, more advanced 10-hour courses spread out over several weeks.
Under the bright lights at PPMS, rogue speedsters zoom around a half-mile clay racetrack in careening caravans of super and semi late models, E-mods, cadets, and young guns. Spectators unsated after tailgating in PPMS's free lot can fuel up with a monster meal that includes Pizza Hut pizza, a burger, chicken, or a hot dog, cotton candy, a drink, and a side such as pretzels. Scoop up some swag in the Speedway gift shop with a $3 gift certificate, and bedeck your ride with a checkered racing flag or a hood ornament of life-size echidna. Racing fans under age 7 get in free.