A Fair in the Park & Pittsburgh Irish Festival Run the Weekend; Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry at First Niagara (CP’s Fri. 9/6/13)

1) The 44th annual A Fair in the Park begins its three-day run in Shadyside’s Mellon Park today. Promoted as a contemporary fine craft and arts show and sale, it includes performances, concerts, food and children’s activities. The Fair is presented by the Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh and Citiparks. Squonk Opera brings their quirky combination of visual and musical creativity to the fair with performances at 2 and 4 p.m. Also performing today are “swagger rock pioneers” Lovebettie (5:30 p.m.). Fair hours are 1 – 7  p.m. Free. Runs through Sunday. Fifth and Shady avenues.

2) Also beginning a three-day weekend run is the 23rd annual Pittsburgh Irish Festival at the Riverplex at Sandcastle. Great Irish musicians, dancers, and performers play all day and night on several stages. Highlights include Pittsburgh favorites, Red Hand Paddy (9:15 p.m., Celtic Spirit Stage) and Bastard Bearded Irishmen (8 p.m., Celtic Spirit Stage) and from the steerage deck of the Titanic movie, Gaelic Storm (9:30 p.m. Emerald Stage). Plenty of Irish food can be washed down with Irish beers, ciders, and whiskies. 4 – 11 p.m. Runs through Sunday. 1000 Sandcastle Dr., West Homestead.

3) Two big name country acts, Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry, play First Niagara Pavilion.  Over their career, Rascal Flatts has had seven albums that earned at least certified platinum status and 26 singles that have reached the Top 20 on Billboard’s Hot Country Chart. Rascal Flatt’s top songs include “Bless The Broken Road” and “What Hurts the Most.” Three siblings, Kimberly, Neil, and Reid Perry, who get along nicely and love to create and play music form the foundation for The Band Perry. Their second album released this spring, Pioneer, features the song “If I Die Young,” which reached no. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks charts and has earned quadruple platinum status. What all this means is you’re in for a great night of popular country music.7 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown.

4) Darius Rucker, former front man of Hootie and the Blowfish and a successful country music solo artist, brings his smooth voice to Pittsburgh in a concert at Stage AE. Doors open at 6 p.m.

5) Comedian Tammy Pescatelli  brings her special brand of hilarity to the Pittsburgh Improv. Her star rose quickly when she made it to the final five on the NBC TV show “Last Comic Standing 2.” Pescatelli has been a coveted guest on many other shows including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” BRAVO TV”s “Rocco’s Dinner Party,” and CBS’s “The Talk.” Comedy Central’s 2010 “Stand-Up Showdown” crowned Pescatelli as the competition’s winner and she’s also had her own comedy special on the network. Pescatelli grew up in a large Italian family in a city only 133 miles northwest of Pittsburgh (Cleveland), either topic can provide her with great material. (We Pittsburghers also know how to laugh at ourselves). Head on over to the Improv, have a few cold ones and enjoy some great comedy. 8  and 10 p.m. Nightly shows through Saturday. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead.

6) Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn Avenue features a variety of visual and performing arts at galleries, clubs, and restaurants. 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. along Penn Avenue (4800-5500) in the Garfield, Bloomfield, and Friendship neighborhoods. Most events are free.

7) On the first Friday of the summer months, the Frick Art & Historical Center has its First Fridays concerts. Tonight’s featured group is the award-winning quintet Axiom Brass.  While there check out the antique cars in the car and carriage museum. The Frick Art Museum is also open during the event. Music, art and antique cars, all for a suggested donation of only $5 per adult; no admission charge for children. You can also purchase food and beverages from the cafe which is housed in a quaint cottage on the grounds, or bring your own picnic food. Music starts at 7 p.m. 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze.

8) The “End of World” is near or at least a hilarious take on it is. Featuring a fun combination of improv comedy, music, dress-up, and animation, The End of the World Show promises to be an interesting production. Show creator Brian Gray states “The End of the World Show allows audiences to reflect on just what aspects of humanity would be worth fighting for by putting them in the perspective of a creature who doesn’t see the value of mankind.” 10 p.m. Runs through Sept. 13. Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Ave., Cultural District.

9) Good Fridays at the Warhol is a weekly party at the museum, featuring art exhibits, music, and cocktails in the high temple to Andy Warhol’s numerous talents. Half-price museum admission. 5 – 10 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Shore.

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Rick Handler

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