River Conditions Major Factor in Three Rivers Regatta's Possible Return to August

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
13 January 2016
By Susan Jones

The Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta may move back to August this year.

Derek Weber, director of the regatta for event manager Peony Entertainment, said organizers began talking last year about moving the event — for multiple reasons that include river conditions.

That's a big factor, since last year's water activities were cancelled because of hazardous river conditions.

“The river conditions in August are a lot different than in July,” Weber said.

Organizers plan to make a decision by late February. He said the company in securing permits.

Peony, a Pittsburgh-based company, was hired by the nonprofit Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta to run the event.

The three-day festival moved from August to the Fourth of July weekend in 2004, to combine celebrations for the then-financially struggling regatta and Independence Day.

Country music star Kenny Chesney is scheduled to perform at Heinz Field on July 2, and KDKA-TV reports that Billy Joel will perform at PNC Park on July 1.

The regatta wouldn't move because of big-name concerts, Weber said, noting the festival has overlapped with the Chesney concert before without problems. Regatta organizers also are preparing for the festival's 40th anniversary in 2017, he said: “We're trying to get back to its roots and make sure it's over a weekend.”

The July 4 weekend presented some scheduling challenges, since the festival always ended with fireworks. That sometimes required starting the festival mid-week.

Peony, which has the same owners as New Castle-based Pyrotecnico, would still produce a one-day Fourth of July celebration with fireworks by Pyrotecnico if the regatta moves.

Susan Jones is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7919 or sjones@tribweb.com.

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