Our own Cliff is at it again. Here is his take on Picklesburgh 2015
Now it’s not the event organizer or the County’s fault that this event fell on the hottest weekend Pittsburgh has experienced in the past two months but to have an event that will easily draw over five thousand people, on a bridge, is just the dumbest idea I have heard of, ever.
The event itself was a nice idea. The folks from Whole Foods had a nice display and even some interesting items that were free and easily had the longest line there. Heinz was of course on hand with the 40 foot long inflated pickle and was handing out the ever popular plastic Heinz Pickle pin. The City had a booth where kids were encouraged to make a pickle puppet and there were several other vendors there selling pickle related foods and items.
Oh yeah, beer, there were booths selling beer.
On the downtown side of the bridge there was a demonstration area where there were how-to sessions in case someone wants to pickle something themselves. And on the North Side of the bridge there was a stage that blocked off the entire street with music playing through the day.
We took our granddaughter to the event and even she was apprehensive about getting down and walking on her own, she’s three and usually very curious and explorative. We arrived at about eleven thirty and even then it was 87 degrees and there were several hundred people at the bridge and more pouring in. The line for the whole foods booth was 50 to 75 people long and still growing and it was one way. The line started on the downtown side and slowly crept towards the music and the beer station.
Look the idea to highlight our city using the bridges as a focal point for the events seems like a nice idea on paper, but in practice it is a nightmare. The idea came about when the rubber duck came to Pittsburgh, remember the duck?
The difference here is that the tents for the duck event weren’t giving away free samples and of course the temperature was about 30 degrees cooler.
The idea for holding events on a bridge effectively captures an audience. The deeper into the bridge area that people go the harder it is to get back out. The flow of the event in the case of Picklesburgh seems to be from downtown to the North Side. The problem is that most people park in town and the north side of the bridge is plugged up with the stage. What happens then is people turn around and attempt to get back over the bridge creating a backwash of folks who are now frustrated, hot and tired. The duck event was just as bad but for a different reason. The stage was at the center of the bridge the only way past the stage was a single lane that is 14 feet wide. Live music means an audience and the audience wasn’t moving so the bridge was plugged in the center, with people moving in on both sides, very uncomfortable.
Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh have hundreds of venues that are open and more appropriate for this type of event. Move Picklesburgh an eighth of a mile north and hold it in the Allegheny Commons Park. Point Park, Mellon Square even Market Square has better access and easier pedestrian traffic flow than a bridge.
Add to these things the ever present and growing bicyclists and dog owners that feel they should be able to merge their hobbies into any crowd or event and things get even more interesting. If you are going to attend an event like Picklesburgh, please leave Fido at home and keep your bike out of the event area. Fido may not have bitten anyone yet but there’s always a first time and if Fido bites me or mine Fido will be going for a swim.
Biker’s I was once one of you. I rode my bike everywhere, everyday but I never even once RODE THE BIKE INTO A CROWD! That’s just dangerous and stupid.
The event was a loser for me, my wife and our granddaughter. The booths were too crowded, the bridge overpopulated and it was just too damned hot and exposed. Better luck next time.