Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial Birthday Bash was held Friday night at the Heinz History Center to commemorate Pittsburgh gaining city status 200 years ago in 1816. Honorary chair Mayor William Peduto and Andrew Masich, President and CEO of the History Center and Chair of the Pittsburgh Bicentennial Commission hosted the fun affair. Bella Christies and Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique created an amazing birthday cake of the city with Downtown skyscrapers sprouting from it plus rivers of blue cupcakes. The unveiling of the new exhibit Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation chronicling Pittsburgh’s historical, industrial, and cultural rise was another highlight of the evening.
And what’s a celebration without some tasty food and great music? A fun buffet of Pittsburgh favorites including Italian sausage sliders, pierogies, pasta, and of course chipped ham sandwiches and pickles rounded out the offerings, prepared by the talented chefs of Common Plea Catering.
The music offerings were just as scintillating. The Move Makers Band greeted the attendees with a fine dance funk groove on the first floor. Noted jazz singer Etta Cox performed with her trio in front of a facade of the legendary Hill District jazz club—The Crawford Grill—on the second floor. The fifth floor was the location for two of Pittsburgh’s top musical virtuosos: Billy Price, one of the region’s best blues singers; and Joe Grushecky, the “Joe Magarac” of Pittsburgh rock. Each performed with their groups—The Billy Price Band, and The Houserockers, respectively. People danced to all the great musical performances throughout the night.
Another interesting aspect of the bash and following day parade was that Mayor Peduto made it a priority for the bicentennial that descendants of Pittsburgh’s Mayors be found and invited to the festivities. Judy O’Connor (wife of the late Mayor Bob O’Connor) attended with daughter Heidy O’Connor Garth. Councilman Corey O’Connor was there with wife Katie as well. Former Mayor Tom Murphy and his wife Mona were at the celebration. While taking the elevator from floor five to one, a descendant of Pittsburgh’s first Mayor and Revolutionary War standout Ebenezer Denny could be overheard talking to a family member of another Pittsburgh mayor. Other elected officials seen at the event included: County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; Councilwoman Deb Gross; and State Senator Jay Costa.
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