Three Rivers Regatta won't let weekday schedule slow down activities
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Fourth of July isn't like Mother's Day or Thanksgiving; it doesn't always come on a convenient, unchangeable day of the week. Independence Day comes when it comes — this week, on Thursday. That means the annual EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta, which climaxes with the July 4 fireworks, will fall on weekdays, Tuesday through Thursday.
It may be unfortunate timing for people hoping to enjoy the regatta's many recreational events on a weekend, but all of these activities will still be there. You can watch powerboat races or the quirky “Anything That Floats” contest. You can grab a blanket or lawn chair to enjoy the many free live concerts at Point State Park or the Rivers Casino Amphitheater. Kids can enjoy a beach by the river in Point State Park or participate in a variety of activities in the KidsZone. Dog lovers can check out the Marvelous Mutts dog show.
Don't forget the massive sand sculpture, carved by Sandsational, in Point State Park. And of course, regattagoers can count on their favorite fireworks — on the 4th, and in an extra but different show this year on July 3.
The regatta provides a special treat this year for fireworks fans: an added display the night before July 4 show, but it's totally different. Zambelli Fireworks, based in New Castle, Lawrence County, is providing both shows. The new show — “Wonder-Falls of Light,” shot from the roof of the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown — will provide a more intimate, close-up explosion of light, sparkle and special effects. Then, on July 4, the EQT “Flashes of Freedom” Fireworks Fantasia features a patriotic musical and color theme with chase effects, candles and comet formations, zipper movements, dancing illuminations and new aquatic mines. Both shows begin at 9:35 p.m.
Pittsburgh's iconic river confluence will host the Powerboat North American Championships for the fourth consecutive year, crowning champions in F2 and F3 classifications. Many of Superleague's top drivers will be here, including last year's runaway winner, Terry Rinker, 2010 champ Mark Jacob and Florida's Jeff Reno.
A field of 22 drivers/boats between both classes is expected, headlined by the F2 rockets that can reach 100 mph from a dead stop in less than four seconds. More impressively, they'll reach four-plus G's while barely slowing down in the course turns, with the potential to top out at speeds of 130 mph on the straightaways.
The Allegheny River course — a choppy surface with, at times, dangerously deceptive undercurrents — often holds drivers to a maximum of 120 mph. Racing begins July 3 with the F3 time trials, qualifiers and championship, followed by the same F2 sequence on July 4.
Turn-by-turn commentator Mike Tilton will be live from the riverbank calling race details.
Sure, they really built this city on coal and steel. But that won't stop everyone from singing along to the ultimate '80s summer roller-skating jam, “We Built This City,” when Jefferson Starship takes the stage at Point State Park at 8 p.m. July 3. It's kind of amazing that these '80s hitmakers share a common heritage with the Woodstock-headlining '60s psychedelic acid-rock icons Jefferson Airplane, but they do.
The rest of the music is similarly all over the map. There's Pittsburgh durable disco band Dancing Queen, performing at 6 p.m. July 2 at Point State Park. Local jazz mainstay Kenny Blake will perform at 7 p.m. July 3, also at Point State Park. At the same time, Beatlemania Magic will do a Beatles tribute at the Rivers Casino Amphitheater.
Rick Larrimore, “The Ultimate Tribute to Rod Stewart,” will be at 7 p.m. at the Rivers.
Country singer Justin Hines will be at Point State Park at 6 p.m. July 4, followed by Pittsburgh rockers the Granati Brothers at 8:15 p.m.
At 4 p.m. every day of the Regatta, Atlanta rap trio Decoldest3 will perform at Point State Park. The Chain, a tribute to Fleetwood Mac, will play at 6 p.m. July 3 and 7 p.m. July 4, also at Point State Park.
The Wheel Mill is an 80,000-square-foot bike park in Homewood whose traveling stunt team circles the country performing a rousing and vigorous BMX-travaganza of styles, tricks and spirited shows.
At the regatta, riders will demonstrate a series of simple and easy maneuvers that quickly escalate in difficulty during a 20-minute exhibition of daring feats that will have you doing double takes while asking, “Did he just do that?”
There will be several shows daily throughout the event, and you won't want to miss a moment of the moves they've mastered.
Nadja Palenzuela and Kara Gilmore believe every mutt has the capability of being marvelous.
“Every dog can do spectacular things, and that is why we are committed to rescue dogs,” Gilmore says of their Marvelous Mutts Dock Dogs Show.
They will bring 10 to 12 dogs to the regatta to go through their displays of Frisbee-catching, agility and dock-diving.
Gilmore says she and Palenzuela have been working with dogs for about 15 years, performing with them for about seven, and are in their third full year with the Marvelous Mutts. She says they do about 200 show dates a year, doing multiple shows on each day. They will have four shows on their two-day gig at the regatta.
“So we rotate seven or eight dogs through the shows so no one is working too much,” she says.
The Marvelous Mutts will perform at 2, 3, 5 and 7:30 p.m. July 3 and 4 on the city-side lawn of Point State Park.
The nationally renowned sand-sculpting group Sandsational, led by 2010 World Champion Thomas Koet, has already set up shop in their newest sand site on the Great Lawn side of Point State Park at the portal bridge. The four sculptors are under a large tent that protects them and the future masterpiece from elemental whims.
Visitors are encouraged to stop by and watch the creative process unfold. The group was the winner of the Travel Channel's “Sand Blasters,” a sand-sculpting competition series.
Last year at the regatta, the team re-created the signing of the Declaration of Independence; as always, the design plan for this year remains a well-kept secret until the big unveil, which could come this weekend. The team always aims to surpass its former achievement with something even more astonishing.
Anything That Floats
It's a race most participants don't technically finish, but that's just part of the fun.
The annual Anything That Floats race at the regatta is a crowd pleaser and often leaves its entrants hilariously waterlogged. Crowds love to come check out the creative, sometimes kitschy, vessels and watch as their occupants attempt to navigate the Allegheny River.
This year's top teams will do more than have fun — they'll earn money for their favorite charities, courtesy of Trib Total Media. First place gets $2,500, second gets $1,500 and third earns $1,000. There also are trophies for best decorated and fastest sinker, as well as surprise giveaways. Registration is closed for participants, but anyone can watch the race.
The Anything That Floats race starts at 10 a.m. July 4.
Professional extreme pogo bounces into Pittsburgh for multiple afternoon and evening performances each day of the regatta.
The relatively new sport uses enhanced pogo sticks, which provide lift of up to 10 feet, enabling the daredevil performers to do front flips, back flips and other amazing maneuvers.
The Xpogo stunt team, which will be performing, includes several record-holders in the sport. Among the records listed on www.xpogo.com, the sport's official website, are most consecutive backflips at 15; most jumps in a minute, 265; and farthest distance bounced in 24 hours, 23.22 miles.
Artists in the under-21 category are invited to help create a piece of public art during the regatta.
Attendees are invited to paint a 6-inch-by-6-inch square that will become part of a 6-foot-by-100-foot-long mosaic canvas mural during the three-day festival.
According to Edward Rawson, the chief operations officer for the Moving Lives of Kids Community Mural Projects organization, the mural will focus on the rivers of Pittsburgh, with an emphasis on its green industries and increasingly greener environments.
When completed, Moving Lives of Kids Community Mural Projects hopes to permanently display the weatherized and sealed mural in an outdoor location.
The Burns and Scalo Regatta Enviromural can be found in the Colcom Kids Zone, near the portal bridge in Point State Park.
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