Riverside Picnics & Party At The Pier Tickets: A Pittsburgh Giveaway!

August 2012

This past fall, I took the solo sort of stroll and sat by the Allegheny River, amidst the wildflowers and shrubs. There were boats and quiet breezes. I quietly ate a scone, sipped a coffee and read. The slower, quieter time refreshed me, and the views renewed an appreciation for this steel town.

I’ve often critiqued the underutilization of the Pittsburgh riversides. There have been noticeable improvements as far as trails and overlooks are concerned, but the riversides still have yet to reach their full potential. Hence I was excited to learn about the Riverlife group whose mission is simple: Reclaim, restore and promote Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. Make them the environmental, recreational, cultural and economic hub for the people of this region and our visitors.

I’m also excited to offer my readers a chance to participate in a Riverlife event!  I am giving away a pair of tickets (a $250 value) to the annual fundraiser, Party at the Pier

Party at the Pier
Friday, Sept. 7, 2012
7-11 pm

Join Riverlife as Pittsburgh’s North Shore is transformed into a dazzling electric playground for Riverlife’s Party at the Pier 2012: Neon & Nature, presented by PNC. Water, land and light come together at what is sure to be one of 2012’s brightest events. Enjoy dazzling river views, delicious bites, electric cocktails, Gateway Clipper jaunts and a neon dance party at the stunning North Shore riverfront amphitheater in front of Rivers Casino (777 Casino Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15212). All proceeds benefit Riverlife and their efforts to reclaim, restore and promote Pittsburgh’s riverfronts.

The menu will focus on fresh, locally sourced food with a farm-to-table philosophy. Here’s a peek:

Yellow, red and white gazpacho shooters
Grilled corn with chipotle mayo, cojita cheese and lime zest 
Seared Lamb Loin with braised white beans, bacon, golden raisin, pine nuts and mint

How To Enter

Leave a comment on this post describing a riverside picnic or dining experience. Describe a riverside meal you’ve already eaten or one that exists purely in your imagination. Tell me about your ideal menu or your favorite spot for picnicking by the rivers. Let yourself be inspired, and maybe we’ll share some farm-to-table food at the Party at the Pier. I will randomly pick from the comments and announce a winner on MONDAY, AUGUST 27th, which will leave you plenty of time to plan your neon ensemble and pick your partner for dancing.

What do you say?



Based on the numbering system of…

1:  Francisco
2:  Patricia
3: Kate & Charlotte
4: Hal B Klein
5:  The Small Change
6:  Amanda
7:  Sean

Congrats to Patricia Wojnar Crowley! She is the winner of TWO tickets to the Riverlife Fundraiser “Party at the Pier!”

Thank you all for your beautiful picnic ideas! Maybe we should all have a riverside picnic?!?

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Francisco

    I want to see an East End Brewery brewpub and beer garden by the river! Kind of like what the Hofbrauhaus has now, but with more Pittbsurgh spirit.

    1. withthegrains

      I could definitely get behind that idea, but of course, I’d need there to be other cocktails…maybe some Wigle whiskey!! I’m such a baby when it comes to beer drinking.

  2. Patricia Wojnar Crowley

    We love picnicking behind the Science Center….it’s fun to watch the Ducky Tours go by. We usually pack sandwiches and snacks for the kids.

    1. withthegrains

      I’ll have to check out that spot. I’ve never picnicked there. My favorite picnic treat as a kid was PB&J cut into squares to be eaten with toothpicks.

  3. kateandcharlotte

    I’d love to eat a goat cheese + beet salad while watching boats on the river… a perfect picnic afternoon!

  4. kateandcharlotte

    I’d love to have an afternoon picnic with a goat cheese + beet salad. A little random choice, but it sounds just perfect to me right now! 🙂

  5. halbklein

    The Strip is so close to the river, so why not keep it local and find provisions there? Cured meats from Parma Sausage, bread from Mancini’s, cheese (several) from Penn Mac, and a bottle of Wigle for the base of boozy punch. Pack it up in a basket and head down to the point!

    1. withthegrains

      Oh how I love a Strip District sourced picnic! That sounds amazing! Though I’d probably go on a Saturday, just so I could hit the farmer’s market, especially because I love me some Wood Street Bread!

  6. missericalilly

    Not a riverside memory, per say, (and please don’t consider this an “entry” in any way) – but this made me think of fishing with my dad at Lake Nockamixon in PA. Lunching on liverwurst and mustard sandwiches and salt n’ vinegar chips and cans of A-Treat sarsparilla soda – everything neatly packed in the big green Coleman cooler, carefully separated from the can of worms from our garden. I don’t think it was so much the food itself that made the “picnic” – but it had something to do with it – because if Dad was making liverwurst sandwiches, we were going fishing. And I don’t think I’ve had a liverwurst sandwich since.

    1. withthegrains

      Thanks for sharing, Erica! I love the overlaps of food and memory, and of course, this one is all the more special, since I know both you and your dad. I still recall eating his chicken nuggets and corn on tupperware plates!

  7. thesmallchange

    Pittsburgh’s river side has given our family plenty of activities.We ride our bike down the new trail that goes under the convention center then over to the North Shore Steps. We cloud watch, splash and have lavish picnic spreads on the adjoining green. When our children were tiny babies we would walk down back and forth for hours on the tiny trail in Lawrenceville. We have truly enjoyed Pittsburgh’s rivers vistas!

    1. withthegrains

      I was recently quite surprised to discover a new[ish] plaza under the Convention Center that made me feel as though I was on the water! That’s why I was so excited to learn about the Riverlife Group! I can’t wait for more riverside experiences. Your family bike and picnic traditions are terrific! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Amanda

    I support the idea of using the Strip to source your picnic, but would avoid the whiskey and bread (due only to a gluten allergy and not a dislike for either!) and replace with some wine from the Public Market. However, I’m picking a different picnic spot and planning to get there by bike…I love the unoccupied end of Washington’s Landing where you can watch the boats and look at 40th St. Bridge while sitting on the rock wall. If you’re lucky, you get the drums beating for the people on the crew boats and on the way back off the island, you can appreciate how quiet your picnic was compared to Red Fin Blues and how sweet the view of downtown is…

  9. Sean

    This is the story I’ve always wanted to tell, but couldn’t. Mostly, because my plan never happened. The break-up came first. Crap. Anyway, I thought my plan was spot on. I wanted to take my then-partner down to the river walk and have a little picnic down by where the river meets the convention center. I was going to make some stellar oat muffins and most definitely a hearty beef stew with bacon. I planned on bringing sparklers, too, and my camera’s shutter speed skills. I figured it’d be a night that we could create. Never happened, though. Womp womp womp. No, it’s cool though, maybe some day.

    1. withthegrains

      Poor Sean! That would have been lovely. You’ll have to keep mulling over that plan and make a unique, new version, and then I’m sure the right, appreciative partner will come along!

  10. thesmallchange

    Sure! We also love picking up amazing food treats on the way to the North Shore steps. Parma prosciutto, moon cakes from WFH, a hot mung bean cake…and any other small nibblettes that catch our eye.

    p.s. You’re also sure to spot hibiscuses the size of your face. It might be fun to sniff one!

Leave a Reply