1) The Heinz Field Kick Off and Rib Festival is an end of the summer tradition. The festival features some of America’s top rib vendors reflecting the nation’s diverse barbecue tastes. Awards are given out to top vendors each year in categories according to expert judges and attendees. Adding great music to tasty ribs and cold beverages makes a perfect trifecta. Today’s entertainment is Parmalee (7 p.m.), Tim Vitullo (5:30 p.m.), and Saddle Up (4 p.m.). Last day. Free admission. Heinz Field, 100 Art Rooney Ave., North Shore.
2) “Kennywood’s open.” No, we don’t mean the local slang usage, we mean the actual amusement park. One of the park’s newer attractions, Black Widow, is a high-spinning/swing ride that gives riders a nice vantage point of the park. For roller coaster enthusiasts, there’s the Thunderbolt, Racer, Jack Rabbit, Phantom’s Revenge, Exterminator, and Sky Rocket. If it’s a hot day and you feel like getting a little wet, check out the Pittsburg(h) Plunge and Raging Rapids. Kennywood also features thrill rides, classic rides, dark rides (snuggle up with that special someone), Kiddie Land, daily entertainment, AND its famous Potato Patch French Fries. Thomas Town is now open as well. There may be some limited operations due to end of season staffing and ride repair needs. Park opens 10:30 a.m. 4800 Kennywood Blvd., West Mifflin.
3) Today is Sandcastle’s last day of the season, and they’re featuring the new “maximum thrill” Dragon’s Den tube ride, where you slide around the rim for a while and then enter the belly of the beast for a dark mist-filled trip. There’s also Lightning Express speed slide, where you zoom down a 60-foot open water slide. What a concept! A water-amusement ride that combines fear of heights with fear of water. A real two-fer. Luckily, Sandcastle has good people who look out for us “regular Joes” and make it a fun and safe experience. If it gets too scary, there’s always the leisurely Lazy River raft ride and Wet Willie’s Water Works, and the Tad Pool for kids. Mon-Tsunami is the cleverly named, wave-pool attraction. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. 1000 Sandcastle Dr., Homestead.