Fall events you ‘autumn’ check out


Dennis Van Tine/Abaca Press/MCT

Singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne will perform at the Roxian Theater in McKees Rocks on Oct. 8.

By Sara Nuss, Staff Writer

From hitting up music festivals to attending sporting events, there are many ways for returning students to entertain themselves in the bustling City of Pittsburgh. With fall just around the corner, it’s best to keep in mind any upcoming opportunities to attend concerts, fall festivals and other celebrations that come with the change of the weather. 

Thrival Festival

From Sept. 18-20, the Thrival Festival, which explores the intersection of humans, technology and creativity, will be in Pittsburgh. It is comprised of three different events, including the Innovation Summit, Thrival Interactive and the music festival. Thrival’s goal is to explore and adapt the learning process of the Fourth Industrial Revolution through presentations, discussions and workshops, with plenty of food and music involved along the way.

The Innovation Summit takes place Sept. 18-19 at the Carnegie Museum of Art and focuses on how technology has influenced humans, businesses and the culture we live in. The Summit’s primary focus this year will be on Pittsburgh innovators, dominated by the theme of “By Pittsburgh. For Pittsburgh. For the world.” Some topics of discussion include the future of work, the future of health care and technology, social innovation and sports and entertainment. Speakers include Hans Brown, head of International Technology at BNY Mellon, and Amy Blackman, founder and CEO of the innovation consultancy Fruition.

Thrival Interactive will also take place in the Carnegie Museum of Art on the evening of Sept. 18. Now in its third consecutive year, Thrival Interactive’s goal is to intertwine art with technology. In the past, local artists and innovators gathered together to showcase technology demos, art installments, cross-industry collaborations and other interactive activities throughout the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Music Hall and the Music Hall Foyer. 

The Thrival Festivities will conclude with the music festival in Schenley Plaza on Sept. 20. While the main focus of the festival is to support economic and local development, the music festival is a place for all of Pittsburgh to gather and enjoy what the City has to offer. Two of the performing artists are Buku, a DJ and producer, and Beauty Slap, a techno-funk band, both of whom have roots in Pittsburgh.

Wicked Pittsburgh, a local art collective with the goal of empowering the creative community of Pittsburgh through donations, live painting, concerts and art installations, will also be a part of the Thrival music festival this year. It will bring more than 50 local artists to the festival to sell and create new work as well as perform. Wicked Pittsburgh plans to give more than 20% of the proceeds it makes at the festival back to a local charity.

While the price for the Innovation Summit and Thrival Interactive is more than $250, the music festival is free for everyone to enjoy. More information about the events can be found at thrivalfestival.com.

Avril Lavigne in concert

Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne is coming to Pittsburgh with multi-genre singer Jagwar Twin to promote her 2018 album “Head Above Water.” Lavigne will play the Roxian Theater, located in McKees Rocks, on Oct. 8. This is Lavigne’s first tour in five years and it’s fairly exclusive, consisting only of 15 stops around North America beginning Sept. 14.

Her sixth studio album features the lead single for which the album is named, “Head Over Water,” followed by “Tell Me It’s Over,” “Dumb Blonde,” featuring popular rapper Nicki Minaj, and the latest single off of the album, “I Fell in Love With the Devil.” The album debuted at number 13 on the Billboard Top 200 in March.

“Head Above Waterwas written during Lavigne’s battle with Lyme disease, which she was diagnosed with in 2014 shortly after turning 30. She has announced that a portion of the proceeds from every ticket on the tour will go to the Avril Lavigne Foundation, which helps people suffering from the disease who are unable to pay for the treatment as well as efforts to find a cure.

Currently, tickets start at around $85 on ticketmaster.com.

Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkin Festival

Nothing quite says autumn like giant pumpkins. The aptly named Monster Pumpkin Festival is taking place along the North Shore Riverwalk Oct. 19-20. There, Pittsburghers will be able to view gigantic pumpkins and witness the weighing competition to determine which Monster Pumpkin is the most monstrous of them all.

Other events include the Great Pumpkin Paddle, where rowers race along the Allegheny River in pumpkins that weigh at least 1,000 pounds — and are surprisingly buoyant. Participants, or “Pumpkin Pilots,” usually paint and decorate their individual pumpkins.

Pumpkin pie lovers can take part in the Pie Eating Plunge contest. A local bakery in Pittsburgh, Bella Christie and Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique, generously bake the pumpkin pies that are devoured during this event. The pies are weighed before and after to make sure that the event is fair for all players.

There will be numerous vendors selling homemade food of all sorts, including sweet treats like pumpkin pie, breads and cookies. There will also be a kids’ station for pumpkin decorating and a giant pumpkin pinata that weighs 1,500 pounds.

For more information, check out the festival’s website at monsterpumpkin.com.