Observatory Hill Residents Celebrate Their Community

By: Chloe Burkart

On Saturday, June 9, Northsiders gathered for the annual Observatory Hill Heritage Day Festival in Riverview Park. Although the festivities were cut short due to thunder and rain, hot dogs continued to fly off the grill and the throng of smiling faces suggested the day was a fun-filled success.

Heritage Day activities were set against the natural backdrop of the park’s gorgeous, grassy landscape and attendees of all ages couldn’t help but let their inner child run wild. Children squealed in delight as they ricocheted off the red plastic walls of a bounce house. They let their creativity run rampant with the Citiparks Roving Art Cart, an art station that visits Pittsburgh parks and playgrounds throughout the summer months and provides children with projects ranging from painting to sculpting. The National Aviary brought a penguin and parrot for guests to enjoy. Parents and their little ones gathered on small wooden stools to hear stories from a Citiparks team member. He captured their undivided attention and answered questions with patience and enthusiasm. Kids even had a chance to explore a Storymobile—a library on wheels—provided by Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh (RIF) and pick out a book of their own. Two very special guests also paid a visit: Frankie the Fish from The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) and Iceburgh, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ mascot.

The most popular toy of the day was a set of wearable, inflatable bubble balls provided by the team at the Northside Leadership Conference (NSLC). Kids donned the silly suits, colliding with each other and erupting in fits of giggles so sincere that the adults couldn’t resist joining in on the fun.

Throughout the afternoon, Northside businesses and organizations like the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory, and Riverview Presbyterian Church set up shop in tents near the park’s entrance.They offered free flyers, postcards, pamphlets, activities, and gifts ranging from water bottles to frisbees.

If you missed this year’s festival and are looking for another excuse to get outside with fellow Northside neighbors, check out the Riverview Jazz Series, an outdoor concert series with local musicians. It takes place every Saturday through the end of August. See the website for more details.