Essential Pittsburgh
6:20 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Summertime in Pittsburgh, Sweet Simplicity and Spectacle

Summer is always a great time for people in Pittsburgh with events ranging from small to spectacle.
Summer is always a great time for people in Pittsburgh with events ranging from small to spectacle.
Credit Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The July Fourth holiday weekend saw a number of activities in the city, from the Regatta to the annual visit of the Furries.

Betsy Benson, publisher of Pittsburgh Magazine says big summer events, such as the reopening of the Point State Park fountain and the arrival of the large rubber duck of last summer, have been big in Pittsburgh because of the attention they receive.

She says Pittsburghers really know how to enjoy the simplicity of these events, no matter how small.

“More people are swarming into the city, through tunnels and across rivers, for weekday and weekend activities. Yes, there are a couple of big events coming to town this summer, notably the USA gymnastics visit in August, but a lot of the activity is small stuff that just adds up. Like hundreds of people showing up to do yoga in Market Square. And the Furries, their presence makes any routine trip downtown a potentially odd and remarkable experience.”

Exploring 80 Years of a Summertime Classic with 91.3 WYEP Host Brian Siewiorek

Part of what makes any summer truly great is a catchy summer tune. 91.3 WYEP production director and host Brian Siewiorek guides us through the historic popularity of a classic summer song composed 80 years ago, Summertime by George and Ira Gershwin.

A single web search brings up countless covers of this timeless song. Artists such as Billie Holiday and Janice Joplin have covered the song over the course of its history.

“I think that’s the great thing about music," says Siewiorek "People can hear it and create it and adapt it differently. I think the brilliant thing about ‘Summertime’ is because it is kind of a fairly simple melody and fairly simple lyrics, that those can kind of be played with. I mean, some more than others. Some have been more faithful, some have changed the words around a little bit, and some have completely redone it.”