We Seen It On The Twitter: Pyrotopia Fire Festival

Achievement: #42. 3 Events We Learn About from Twitter

Have you ever had one of those nights where you just think, “Gosh, I wish I was filthy rich so I could run out to the store and buy a sweet digital SLR camera so I can take some wicked awesome pictures at this crazy event I’m going to go to tonight”???

Last night was totally one of those nights.

You see, last night was the very first Pyrotopia Fire Festival here in Pittsburgh. I didn’t even know this sort of thing was in the works, but I got a fairly urgent email from my mum earlier in the day, asking me to ‘please attend and take notes.’ (In the event that you don’t obsessively read my Twitter feed, she informed me over a lunchtime margarita last week that she is making Michael and me Katniss-and-Peeta-on-fire costumes because ‘it is my 30th birthday Halloween, and thus very important’. So yeah. My mum is freaking awesome, and apparently is like 75% Cinna. The other 25% required me to go to a fire festival and ‘take notes’ for the costumes.)

Flame Warden
I was just excited to go to a Fire Festival, as that’s my favorite World of Warcraft holiday. (Nerd, I know. You don’t even want to know how many versions there are of this photo, in various locations around Azeroth. Winning my Flame Warden title was seriously like… the greatest moment of 2009 for me. And yes, I know that’s the year we bought our house.)

And anyway, we’d been alerted about the festival not only by my mum, but the good folks at Living Pittsburgh, so it counted for our Twitter-event Achievement! (Oh, and nevermind the fact that it was our six-year anniversary, and therefore, we should have been doing something uber romantic, and not standing around looking at fire…)

So, off we went into the night, to see what magic and wonder Pittsburgh’s very first Fire Festival would bring!

(This is the part where I reeeeeeeally wish for that digital SLR camera. I promise, I’ll be descriptive with the captions, so you can tell what I was trying to photograph.)

Pyrotopia was set up on the grounds in front of the historic Pump House at the Waterfront (you can read about its significance from the Battle of Homestead Foundation website). They had a main stage setup for performances, the first of which that we saw was the fire dancers. Not only were these talented performers dancing with the fire, some (like this woman) were eating it as well. Pretty impressive!

I was fascinated with the performances, including one guy who had a fire whip. Yes, I’ll say that again, a whip that was on fire. (And they said this was all supposed to be family-friendly programming 😉 By the end of the performances, I was pretty convinced that I was going to change my entire life’s direction to become a firedancer.

This was also one of those moments when I just fell even more in love with our city. There were some technical difficulties, and the stage kept losing power, so the soundtrack would cut out. When that happened, the crowd just broke into cheers to keep the performers going. Love ya, Yinzers.

All that cheering worked up our appetites, so we had to stop at the Franktuary truck to get a hot dog. This was our first Franktuary dog, and man was it good! We both got the local grass-fed hippy-cow hotdog with sauerkraut. Daaaaaaang. I’ll definitely be hitting up the Franktuary truck a few more times this summer!

Then we moved on to the other displays of flame. I loved seeing how one single, continually-burning flame could suddenly flare up and illuminate the whole sky.

This was essentially a fire pipe organ, whose flames were controlled by a keyboard that people in the crowd could operate. Last night was freezing cold, but standing near this exhibit could keep you warm all night.

There was also a blacksmithing demonstration from the folks at Iron Eden (thank you for allowing me to further my World of Warcraft nerdage – I may play a leatherworker in game, but I do appreciate the fine efforts of my blacksmithing guildmates).

There was a guy in this super-cool LED suit that lit up when powered by a bike.

This totally reminded me of the Tron in-game costumes. (Why hello, did I mention yet in this post what an absolute nerd I apparently am?)

And of course, there were firefighters on hand to keep everyone safe. (Thanks, Munhall VFD, for donating your time to this awesome event!)

But I think one of my favorite parts of the night was this sight: those are the Carrie Furnaces, old blast furnaces that are no longer in use, but have been preserved and are now the last standing non-functional blast furnaces in Pittsburgh. They were illluminated especially for this event, and as a kid who grew up in Pittsburgh with family in the mills, it was just a sight to see. Catching this as we walked over toward the river was one of those moments when you remember just how much history this little city has. (You can now tour the Carrie Furnaces, as they are a preserved historical landmark, so expect to see that pop up on our list at some point.)

Overall, we had a great time at Pyrotopia. It wasn’t perfect by any means – there were apparently supposed to be fireworks that were cancelled, and the tesla coil malfunctioned, but it was a really fun night anyway. I’m sure they’ll get the kinks worked out, and we will absolutely be back for Pyrotopia 2013!


Filed under #42, #42-12, fire, free, hot dogs, outside, twitter

6 Responses to We Seen It On The Twitter: Pyrotopia Fire Festival

  1. I'm so jealous! The festival has been on my radar since I first read about it last year, but I was in Annapolis and couldn't go. Thanks for posting….I enjoyed it vicariously!

  2. Smoreira

    HI Michael & Jenn,
    My name is Sherris Moreira and I'm the Director of Marketing and Tourism Development with Rivers of Steel (www.riversofsteel.com). Thank you for the kind words about the Carrie Furnaces and The Historic Pump House – both sites of which we manage. Why don't you contact me and let's see if we can get you on one of our Hard Hat Tours in May.
    With kind regards,

  3. Monkeymckool

    I hate it when my Tesla malfunctions!

  4. I totally think of you any time the word 'Tesla' gets tossed around lol.

  5. That would be wonderful!! I will be in touch via email 🙂

  6. oh wow, how cool! That one does remind me of the tron uniforms!
    Shasie of Live Life in Style

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