The British Are Coming: Inaugural ‘Britsburgh’ Festival To Honor QEII In September

Jul 17, 2015

Pittsburghers can take to the streets Sept. 9-14 to celebrate "Britsburgh" with friends across the pond as Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history.
Credit British-American Connections Pittsburgh

  Dust off your finest tea service. Queen Elizabeth II will become Great Britain's longest reigning monarch Sept. 9, and Pittsburgh's never been one to snub a good soiree.

“Britsburgh: A Festival of Britain in Pittsburgh” runs through Sept. 14 featuring a variety of food, drinks, music and activities from across the pond.

“We want to celebrate all the fantastic links between Britain and this part of the world in Pittsburgh for the last 257 years, and hopefully new links coming down the pike,” said Roger Cranville, president of British-American Connections Pittsburgh

Cranville said events will take place at locations throughout the city, including Mansions on Fifth, The Frick and the Cabaret at Theater Square.

“There’ll be plenty of places (like) restaurants and bars to enjoy British beers -- we’ll be flying the Britsburgh flag -- and lots of tea and coffee shops where you can go and put on a big hat, if you so wish, and enjoy a British tea at four o’clock,” he said.

A British festival in Pittsburgh is long overdue, Cranville said.

“We’ve never done it,” he said, “and this is probably the longest relationship there is since oh, Nov. 25, 1758, (when) Gen. John Forbes stepped onto what was Fort Duquesne and named it Fort Pitt,” during the French and Indian War, he said. And Pittsburgh was born.

Several influential historical figures from the region had British heritage, Cranville said, and the festival will remember those contributions.

“Hugh Henry Brackenridge started the University of Pittsburgh,” he said. “He too was a Scot, as was ... Gen. Forbes, and of course Andrew Carnegie, another Scot. So we really do have some great links from Britain and Scotland in particular.”

The festival will also include a production of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita at The Charity Randall Theatre, a performance by the Choir of Trinity College at Calvary Episcopal Church and even a Queen Elizabeth II look-alike competition.

A full schedule of events is available on the Britsburgh website.