What to know: Pittsburgh’s fireworks frenzy on the Fourth
Pittsburgh will celebrate the Fourth of July in style again this year, from the 18th annual Heinz Field Fourth of July Celebration, featuring country singer Brandon Lay, to the EQT Flashes of Freedom.
Be forewarned that the EQT event, staged at Point State Park, typically draws more than 50,000 people to the downtown area. Here are some things to know before you go.
When does the celebration start?
Festivities kick off at 10:45 a.m. Thursday with flag raising and patriotic tunes by the Yinzer Singers at the Fort Pitt Block House yard.
Is there an admission fee?
No, it’s a free community event.
When are the fireworks?
The EQT Flashes of Freedom Fireworks are set to begin at 9:35 p.m. at the confluence of the three rivers, courtesy of StarFire Corp.
Open seating in Point State Park and along the North Shore is first-come, first-served.
Check here for suggestions on other good places to view the show.
Can I watch the fireworks from Mount Washington?
The popular overlook tends to get crowded. And bear in mind, some sections of Grandview Avenue’s sidewalks are closed.
You will not be able to use the north side of Grandview Avenue, the corners or the curbs for parking during the fireworks show. Police will be on patrol, ready to ticket or tow your vehicle.
The Shiloh Parking Plaza on Virginia Avenue has 72 spaces.
Can I watch the fireworks from my boat on the river?
From a distance. The full river closure on the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers (0.0 – 0.1) will be in effect from 8 to 10:30 p.m.
What happens if it rains?
Fireworks can be set off in rain. In case of severe weather, organizers will consult with the proper authorities about a cancellation, which would then be announced on social media channels.
What kind of entertainment is planned during the day?
• 11 a.m.-4 p.m., live 18th-century life demonstrations with costumed re-enactors at the Fort Pitt Museum
• Noon-9:30 p.m., concessions and kids activities — face painting, airbrush tattoos, patriotic make-and-takes, giant games, corn hole, caricature artist at Point State Park
• Noon-10 p.m., fireworks viewing area with concessions, North Shore great lawn
• 4:05-7:30 p.m., Pittsburgh Pirates vs Chicago Cubs at PNC Park
• 6-6:30 p.m. and 9-9:30 p.m., U.S. Army Drill Team — “The Old Guard” — 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at Point State Park fountain
• 6:30-6:40 p.m., U.S. Army swear-in ceremony, Point State Park fountain
• 6:45-7 p.m., U.S. Air Force C-17 flyover by Pittsburgh native pilot Lt. Col. Tom Huzzard at Point State Park fountain
• 7-9 p.m., Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs Bethlehem Steel at Highmark Stadium
• 7-9 p.m., No Bad Juju performance at Rivers Casino amphitheater
• 7-9 p.m., various performances by pipe and drum groups at Point State Park fountain
• 9:35-10 p.m., Flashes of Freedom fireworks
Visit the festival website for details.
Will food be available?
Vendors offering an array of festival foods will be stationed around Point State Park throughout the day.
Can I bring my own food?
You can bring your own food items, soft drinks and water into the park; alcohol is not allowed.
Can I bring my dog?
Animals are permitted in the park, and of course, service dogs are always welcome. Dogs that are sensitive to crowds, commotion and loud noises probably would be happier at home.
Where can I park?
Parking is free in authorized street spaces on holidays. There are 11 Pittsburgh Parking Authority lots in the downtown area. Check them out at pittsburghparking.com.
Can I get downtown by bus?
Check holiday schedules for Port Authority public transit at portauthority.org.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .