A Very Special Delivery in the Square

Hey, kids, there's going to be something extra special in the mail tomorrow in Market Square during this Tuesday's KidsPlay, when Mister Rogers' favorite postman shows up with a few of his friends. Okay, in case any of the grown-ups haven't guessed yet, everyone's number one letter carrier, Mr. McFeely, will be dropping by our neighborhood tomorrow from 10-11:30 a.m.

During his visit to the Square, Mr. McFeely of Speedy Delivery fame will take his time to entertain youngsters with stories that will warm the heart with a "hand" from a few of the playful puppets from the Mr. Rogers' show.  Always a treat, come enjoy Mr. McFeely as he delivers Mr. Rogers' enduring message that each and everyone of is special. And look for other fun activities during KidsPlay from creating drawings and art work to storytelling.

While the kids are enjoying the show, parents can hunt for a good read as the Carnegie Library Reading Room rolls into the Square. Loaded with plenty of books from best sellers to do it yourself manuals for sale for as little as one dollar, the Reading Room is a real page turner from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Best of all, every book sold helps fund the Library's Downtown branch on Smithfield Street.

With August just a few days away, the Thursday Farmers Market in the Square is busier than ever. Even with a drier than usual summer, there's been a bumper crop of locally grown produce and other goodies to enjoy during the weekly market that's open for business from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. And if you're looking for a bit of a musical interlude during the lunch hour, grab a seat near the performance tent to hear a free concert from area musical talents from noon-2 p.m.

Speaking of music, we've got more tunes in store to start the weekend with Iron City Sound Downtown Live! — our FREE concert series that ends the week on the right note every Friday starting at 5 p.m. in the Square. This week, Jeff Jimerson and Airborne will take off on stage with a set of power pop and classic rock tunes guaranteed to soar. A fan favorite at the Consol Energy Center, Jim lights up the center ice during Pens games with his stirring rendition of the National Anthem. And don't miss opening Bear Cub. We'll think you'll want to give them a great big hug.

Remember, there's always something going on in the Square. See you there.


Revved Up Rhythms and Blues

Musically speaking, we're putting the pedal to the metal this week for a couple of free concerts in Market Square. Tonight, a group of talented Jersey-based boys and girls take center stage in the Square at 5pm for an unforgettable a cappella musical show. Belting out tunes by all-time favorites such as Bon Jovi & Boyz II Men, the high school-aged RockNRoll Chorus will make a stop on their 2012 National Summer tour in Downtown Pittsburgh. This full-tilt boogie performance pushes the volume to the max without any instruments, just vocals.

Okay, normally the terrazzo plaza of Market Square is a no parking zone. But this Wednesday, July 18, we're glad to give a free parking pass in the middle of the Square to a few classic chassis when the 2012 Vintage Grand Prix Downtown Race Car Parade and Display rolls into Downtown.

Now in its 30th year, the Vintage Grand Prix returns to its Schenley Park course on July 21-22 as one of America's biggest vintage car races and the only one run on city streets. While those daring young men — and some ladies, too — zip along to be the first to cross the finish line, everyone involved with the race is a winner. That's because proceeds from the VGP benefit the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Valley School, which provides lifelong opportunities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Before the big race weekend, auto lovers will get a chance to see this fleet of antique and classic cars wind through Downtown on Wednesday as the parade starts from its new location at the Rivers Casino.  After crossing the Allegheny River, the automobiles will split ranks and head to four Downtown destinations, including Market Square, where they'll be on display from 10:30am - Noon. So get your motor running with a look at these retro rides that are revved up for a good cause.

Kicking off the weekend during this week's Iron City Sound Downtown Live! Friday night FREE concert in the Square is our very own "East Coast, Blue-Eyed Soul Man," Billy Price, with his unique brand of new R&B interpretations. A big hit during last year's Light Up Night® festivities, Price returns to the Square to revive the rhythm and blues groove in the heart of the city. Always a crowd pleaser, Price effortlessly makes the blues feel like a good thing. Opening the show at 5pm, the soulful trio Dream Job will set the tone for a great evening of local musical talent.

So, on your mark, get set and GO down to Market Square this week for classic cars, RockNRoll stars, and blues guitars.


All Night Long

We're not superstitious — even when a black cat crosses our path. Actually, we're feeling kind of lucky this week because this Friday, July 13, will be one of the most eventful nights in Market Square (and the rest of Downtown) this summer!  Along with the Downtown Live! free concert series, the Golden Triangle will glow all night long as thanks to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Summer Galley Crawl and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's first ever night market.  So here's your guide to navigating the festivities and turning 13 into your lucky number...

Let's start off with a trip to Margaritaville via Market Square. That's where Tom Watt, or "The Buffett Man," will find a safe harbor for his Jimmy Buffett tribute act that thrills tens of thousands of Parrotheads up and down the East Coast. While Tom brings his "Buffett Man" review to the Square, you won't have to go too far to find your own cheeseburger in paradise — or any other type of divine dish — at one of the Square's many fine eateries. Even if you're not a Parrothead, you'll find many birds of a similar feather in the Square singing along to tunes that sound so much like the real thing that you'll swear there have been changes in attitudes and latitudes.

After the show, you can cruise on over to Penn and Liberty avenues for the summer Gallery Crawl — the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's quarterly art, music, film and fun extravaganza. More than 20 galleries, restaurants and other venues will open their door to expose gallery crawlers to some of the most innovative and creative artists and musicians in town. Enjoy this cultural voyage around Downtown from 5:30-9 p.m.

Now, just about the time the sun sets, the real fun starts for our inaugural Project Pop Up: Night Market located on one of the Rugby Realty properties in the emerging Liberty Avenue corridor of the Cultural District at 917-919 Liberty Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets, from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. If you're looking for that spot on the map, here's a clue...it's right across the street from Monte Cello's and the futuristic mural on the side of the Liberty Avenue-Smithfield Street parking garage. This nocturnal, one of a kind marketplace will combine some of the city's top restaurateurs and craftspeople in a decidedly hip, urban setting as part of our Project Pop Up: Downtown series. And while you're enjoying the excellent edibles from Meat & Potatoes and the soon to open Conflict Kitchen, the amazing DJ Soy Sos will spin the perfect soundtrack for perusing the jewelry, artwork and other creations on display and for sale from vendors such as Tugboat Printshop and Devorah Naturals.

So if you're looking for the perfect antidote to triskaidekaphobia — that's the fear of the number 13 — join us Downtown this Friday evening for a cure that will last all night long.


Let's Get Physical

Summer's here...and maybe you're still trying to shed those last few pounds to get into that beach attire for the upcoming shore vacation. Well, we're here to point you in the right direction on the road to overall fitness, which of course leads to Market Square. To help you declare your physical independence this week, members of the Pittsburgh Power arena football team will hold a workout in the Square on Friday, July 6, and City Councilman Daniel Lavelle will conduct the second "Fit in Six" health and wellness fair on Saturday, July 7.

Catch an up close look at the gridiron stars of the fastest, most explosive game in town when the Pittsburgh Power leave the friendly indoor confines of the Consol Energy Center to stage an outdoor practice in the Square, this Friday from noon-1 p.m. Thanks to a portable, inflatable practice field, the team will run through its normal pre-game drills in the heart of the city. You're invited watch the Power beat the heat under the noontime sun. Along with watching this alfresco scrimmage, fans can meet the players afterwards, and a few lucky youngsters just might make the cut and join the team for a few plays. To recreate the gameday experience, Power PA announcer and 100.7 FM morning DJ "Bubba" will call the play-by-play action. Trust us, this will be "powerful" stuff.

When it comes to looking out for residents in the city's District Six, which includes Downtown, councilman Lavelle takes a holistic approach. While he's working to make the city more vital, he's also laying the groundwork for everyone in his wide-reaching district to lead healthier lives. Which is the idea behind "Fit in Six," sponsored by Gateway Health Plan, UPMC and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Back in the Square after a successful inaugural turn last year, "Fit in Six," which runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. focuses on many of the health issues and concerns facing residents of the district, which covers much of the North Side, Downtown, the Hill District, Uptown and even parts of Oakland.

Along with health screening provided by UPMC Mercy, Highmark, Family Services of Western PA, Primary Health Care Services, the American Diabetes Association, the Center for Pharmacy Services, the Midwife Center PittsburghPittsburgh Aids Task Force and Healthy Start Inc., Fit in Six will encourage participants to learn more about how exercise and a well-balanced, nutritional diet can improve their mental, emotional and physical well being from birth to the golden years. And did we mention that there will be plenty of fun stuff to do, too, like line dancing and games? Fit in Six is just part of councilman Lavelle's overall, year-round game plan to make residents in his district the most informed and healthiest citizens of Pittsburgh.

There's still plenty of time to shape up for the summer — and the rest of your life. Join us in the Square this Friday and Saturday to get physical!