Children’s Festival Moves Downtown



The 28-year-old Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival, which in recent years has lived in Oakland, is headed for the Cultural District on May 14-18.

  • Photo courtesy of Architects of Air (UK)
  • "Miracoco"

The move was announced this morning at a Pittsburgh Cultural Trust press conference attended by children from a nearby day-care, plus two adults in giant papier-mache frog heads.

Frogs, in fact, are a theme of the fest. The five-day event’s geographic centerpiece will be LilyPad Park, a temporary “green space” (partly artificial turf) that will close down the intersection of 8th and Penn, and expand on the weekend.

So instead of Schenley Plaza, it’ll be there that families take in free performances on outdoor stages, do hands-on activities and enjoy what’s billed as a giant sand-box. There’ll also be free short films from around the world, at the Harris Theater. And a festival returnee, the U.K.’s Architects of Air, will plant its new giant, inflatable walk-in sculpture (pictured) in a nearby parking lot.

Meanwhile, ticketed performances by an international line-up of performance troupes will take place in nearby venues including the Byham Theater, the Trust Arts Education Center, Bricolage and the August Wilson Center, says festival director Pam Lieberman.

The venues will feature groups from Spain, Israel, Netherlands, Canada and Denmark. Local talent includes the Brassroots music group, Bricolage’s Midnight Radio Jr., and festival veteran Temujin the Storyteller.

Why relocate, when Oakland seemed to work pretty well? “The Cultural District’s mission is to bring people Downtown,” says Lieberman. Also, she notes, Downtown has bigger theater spaces than Oakland.

And what about that perennial anxiety over parking Downtown? PICF is offering discount parking vouchers with your ticket — a $10 flat fee for a spot at the Theater Square garage.

The festival also has a new title sponsor, the EQT Foundation.

Single ticketed events cost $5 a person for Architects of Air’s "Miracoco," and $8 for stage shows. Multi-show discounts are available.

For more information, see

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