Photo by Bridget Fertal
By Victoria Stevans
On Saturday, June 10, Northsiders of all ages explored Riverview Park’s leafy trails and grassy hillsides to celebrate the 11th Annual Heritage Day Festival.
Festivities, which started at 12 p.m. and lasted until 4 p.m., included pony rides, bounce houses, crafts at the Citiparks Art Cart, bike obstacle courses – or the bike rodeo – provided by Venture Outdoors, and appearances from Iceburgh, Pittsburgh Penguins mascot, as well as Kenny the Kennywood Kangaroo.
A complimentary lunch was served around 2 p.m. where attendees enjoyed free hot dogs, sides, and Smiley Cookies from Eat’n Park. Lunch was accompanied by the live jazz music of Lee Robinson and Iska to which festival-goers listened, tapped their feet, and danced. Across the park, dancing continued from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. with lessons led by Summer Soul Line Dancing.
For the duration of the event, dozens of Northside businesses and organizations ran booths with free pamphlets, prizes, and activities.
Representatives from BikePGH and the Mattress Factory helped attendees make buttons at their stands. At a different booth, The Lion’s Club administered free vision tests for children. Humane Animal Rescue, formerly the Western PA Humane Society, had a friendly albino rat snake, a nonvenomous constrictor native to the Northern Hemisphere, named Casper showing off his unusually pale scales at their table. Individuals from the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium did not have a stand, instead roaming paved-trails and embellishing the sidewalk with chalk drawings.
Allana Curington, the Allegheny General Hospital partnership coordinator for the Northside Leadership Conference, attended the event with a booth and said, “Heritage day is a great way incorporate a lot of different groups into the celebration.”
“Having everyone come out really shows how diverse our community is,” Currington said.
The Allegheny YMCA, Angel’s Place, Brightside Academy, The Sprout Fund, Animal Friends, The Children’s Museum, Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, and many more, were also represented by their own booths in the park’s shade.
People soaked up the sun and delighted in all the Northside green-space had to offer until the event’s end.