Photo courtesy of heinzfieldribfest.com

The crowd at the 2013 Heinz Field Kickoff and Rib Festival

 

By Justin Criado

The annual Heinz Field Kickoff and Rib Festival presented by Coors Light starts Thursday night when the Steelers host the Carolina Panthers at 7:30 p.m. for the fourth and final preseason game before jumping in to the regular season Sunday, Sept. 7 vs. Cleveland.

The game is just the beginning as fans will be treated to a variety of music, award-winning BBQ and other festivities outside of the stadium’s Coca-Cola Great Hall during the five-day event.

The music will first be turned up Friday night when the Pittsburgh-based band The Clarks take the stage along with the Zach Longoria Project and The Big Bend.

Saturday action returns to the gridiron as the Pitt Panthers start the 2014 campaign with a home game against Delaware at Noon. Immediately following the game Maggie Rose, Tres Lads and Key of X will perform.

Sunday the Eli Young Band plus a special guest will perform.

Monday marks Labor Day and the annual Gatorade/Steelers 5K Race, Fitness Walk and Kids Kick Off Run at 9 a.m. outside of the stadium’s Gate A. All proceeds will benefit the Art Rooney Scholarship Fund.

Following the race at 2 p.m. a Steelers Youth Football Clinic presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods will be held.

Thomas Rhett and Highway Run will close out the day with a performance.

Each day guests will be treated to various BBQ vendors from around the nation, games, rides and other free festivities.

Admission to the festival is free.