Why would two Missouri gals venture to the East coast and Upstate New York for a weekend? Picklefest 2018 is the answer. Being of German descent for my daughter is a no brainer. Anything pickled is part of the heritage. The real reason is my oldest daughter and her husband live there and it was a reason to visit them.
After driving fourteen hours, my daughter and I were exhausted. We arrived in Pittsburgh at noon after driving overnight. Doing this journey in the dark has some advantages, though. There is little traffic in St. Louis. I-70 is virtually void of semi trucks at these hours. Two women and baby traveling alone must take precautions. We always stop at the biggest truck stops we can find. Keeping the gas tank topped off is a must. That also is great help to the pocketbook, as fuel prices increase all along the route to Pennsylvania. $3.13 is the price per gallon once reaching Pittsburgh, so any fuel purchases there are to be avoided if it can be helped.
Visiting downtown Pittsburgh for the first time, I was expecting to find a bustling city teeming with hardened people with a chip on their shoulder. Actually not finding this metropolis to be too crowded at all, traffic moves smoothly, and folks are focused but not edgy. Citizens seem to mind their own business, but are easily chatted up. Most that I talked to are very intelligent and thoughtful.
On a breezy, sunny Saturday in July, the weather is most pleasant, and makes for excellent strolling through Pittsburgh.
Along the way, I discovered this historical site detailing an agreement from 1918 involving the Czechs and the Slovaks. Why they were agreeing on anything in downtown Pittsburgh I don’t know. I haven’t bothered to look it up yet, but just admired the beautiful garden surrounding .
Walking down the sidewalks of similar looking buildings that seem to just house offices or cafes, suddenly opens to a four corner theater district. Broadway plays and musicals happen here regularly which is the perfect location for my oldest daughter who lives here. There are but a few musicals that she has not seen.
I get quite a view for pictures on our rather long walk from the parking garage to the riverfront to attend Picklesburgh 2018. This festival is sponsored by the Heinz corporation, who is headquartered in Pittsburgh. Extraordinarily placed on one of the three yellow bridges connecting downtown to the PNC baseball park, this extravaganza was completely packed with shoulder to shoulder festival goers.
The weather seemed to turn hot up here quickly on the bridge overlooking the river and the city. I think it was just the huge crowd. Things got so crunched, that the police closed the bridge to anymore people until it cleared out.
The couple of dozen vendors had trouble keeping up with the reportedly unexpected numbers that arrived. We did manage to scoot through the throngs and try a few pickled treats. First was a peanut butter dill cupcake. It was delicious with only a hint of vinegary goodness. Next we were able to push through to some samples of various types of fresh sauerkraut. Then we stood in line for 30 minutes to purchase a most fantastic grilled cheese sandwich with rich gouda and locally made bread, spread thick with dill pickle relish.
Getting through the massive crowd was difficult, we finally folded up the stroller and carried the baby. This is not easy, he is a big infant!
The bridge opens up into PNC Park, home of baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates. Although there was no ballgame, we still enjoyed wandering around the very accessible venue. There are many outdoor seating areas, with a sports bar and grill nestled up to the park.
Riverview of PNC Park. We were finally able to see it when journeying back across the bridge, and trekking back to our parking garage.
© 2020 Vicki Wood