Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Preview

June 23, 2012 6:00 AM

Photo Credit: threeriversregatta.net

three rivers regatta logo Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Preview

Photo Credit: Three Rivers Regatta/Facebook

Three Rivers Regatta

Point State Park
101 Commonwealth Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 589-8576

Stage AE
400 North Shore Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(412) 589-8576

Price: free
Dates: June 30 to July 4

Commemorating its 35th anniversary, the Three Rivers Regatta will once again bring its high-octane entertainment to the Pittsburgh area this 4th of July weekend. The tri-state’s largest summertime event is expected to attract more than half a million spectators this year in a five-day extravaganza filled with spectacles, stunts and supercharged boat racing action. Spectators witness amazing feats on land, in the sky, and on the water beginning Saturday, June 30 straight through until the festival’s concluding event, the Flashes of Freedom Fireworks Fantasia Wednesday, July 4. Signature attractions of the 2012 Three Rivers Regatta will include the Powerboat Superleague North American Championships, exhibits by internationally awarded sculptor Thomas Koet of Sandsational, and a bass fishing tournament.

Alco Parking Benedum Lot
Seventh Street and Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 323-4455

Alco Parking Gold 1 Lot (North Shore)
General Robinson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(412) 323-4455

three rivers regatta powerboat1 Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Preview

Photo Credit: threeriversregatta.net

Powerboat Championship Racing
Allegheny River

Dates: July 1 to July 4

World-class racers will compete on the waters of the Allegheny River for the Powerboat Superleague Championships once again at this year’s regatta, marking the third year Pittsburgh has hosted the event. The city’s shores will provide the venue for the largest spectator event on the North American powerboat racing circuit. For first-timers to the regatta, these races are not to be missed. With boats reaching speeds in excess of 120 mph, the powerboat championships captivate even the most casual racing fans.

3 rivers regatta fireworks Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Preview

Photo Credit: threeriversregatta.net

Flashes of Freedom Fireworks Fantasia
Point State Park (Golden Triangle)

Hours: July 4 – 9:35 p.m.

When Pyrotecnico lights up the Pittsburgh skyline this July 4th with its Flashes of Freedom fireworks display, you’ll want to be there. Ranked as one of the top 10 displays nationwide, the Flashes of Freedom show provides the grand finale to the Three Rivers Regatta. The show, which runs for just less than 30 minutes, is sure to dazzle and delight Pittsburghers of all ages. Viewing locations will fill up quickly as the sun sets this Wednesday, so get there early.

3 rivers sandsational sculpture Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Preview

Photo Credit: threeriversregatta.net

Sandsational Sculpture Exhibit
Point State Park

Dates: June 30 to July 4

The Sandsational team of sculptors is headed by world-renowned artist Thomas Koet. At the 2011 regatta, his team produced the state’s largest sand structure ever. The 15-foot-tall and 30-foot-wide wall of sand depicting the Pittsburgh skyline used more than 100 tons of sand. Part of the allure of the sand sculpture exhibit is that its theme is a secret until the festival begins. To find out what kind of masterpiece they turn out this year, visit their display located at Point State Park during the 2012 Three Rivers Regatta.

three rivers regatta anything that floats race Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Preview

Photo Credit: threeriversregatta.net

Anything that Floats Race
Mazeroski Quay at PNC Park

Hours: July 4 – 10 a.m.
Price: $100 registration fee for race participants

To participate more actively in the 35th annual Three Rivers Regatta, build yourself a raft and enter it into the anything that floats race. Undeniably one of the most comical aspects of the regatta’s festivities, registrants compete in racing vessels of the homemade variety. No engines, motors or paddlewheels are permitted, but sails, paddles and oars are all allowed. The 2011 winning vessel consisted of two air mattresses and a sail emblazoned with the Budget Saver Twin-Pops logo.

three rivers regatta kids zone Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Preview

Photo Credit: threeriversregatta.net

Colcom Kids Zone
Point State Park

Dates: June 30 to July 4

True to form as an all-inclusive event, the regatta will showcase its Colcom Cool Off Kids zone in 2012. With live shows, face-painting, balloon animals and interactive games, the kids zone promises an enjoyable experience for families with young children. Children and parents alike will love everything about the family friendly area. From the caricature artists and temporary tattoos to the food concessions and summer treats, Colcom Kids Zone will bring a smile to any child’s face.


The Priory Hotel
614 Pressley St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(412) 231-3338

Click here for pricing and availability

For a place to stay close to the action check out the Priory Hotel. Located on the North Shore, the Priory offers visitors a boutique-style lodging experience that is second to none. Once a Benedictine monastery, it’s been turned into a cozy, charming property tantalizingly close to the Warhol Museum.

The Parador Inn

939 Western Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15233
(412) 231-4800

Prices: from $150

Best for families with teenagers, the Parador Inn is a Caribbean-inspired bed and breakfast conveniently located near the North Shore. It offers an intimate experience and exceptional accommodations for families with children age 14 and older. Every room offers its own theme and promises visitors a new experience each time they stay the Parador.

Related: Indoor Activities for Kids and Families near Pittsburgh


Primanti Brothers
2 S. Market Square Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 261-1599

The Primanti Brothers restaurants have been serving Pittsburghers their almost famous sandwiches since 1933. Today there are five Primanti locations in the city. The Market Square Primanti Bros. is located only a couple of blocks from Point State Park and makes for an ideal meal on the go whether you’re heading to or coming from the regatta festivities.

Grand Concourse
100 W. Station Square Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
(412) 261-1717

The Grand Concourse restaurant occupies the former Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad station. With massive archways and ceilings, the architecture of the place alone is worth a visit. During the regatta, the Grand Concourse’s river view dining room is the place to be. Stop in on Sunday morning beforehand for its amazing brunch or anytime during the regatta for some of the city’s best steak, seafood, cocktails and riverside views.

Related: Which Family Friendly Activity Would You Prefer?

Marcel Tourdot is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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