Downtown Greensburg gets ready for trio of popular events this weekend (2024)

Just as downtown Pittsburgh saw a trio of packed events last weekend, Greensburg will erupt in activity with its own trifecta of performances, celebrations and gatherings beginning Friday night.

The Palace Theatre will be hosting soft-rock duo Air Supply for a show at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Seton Hill University will invite alumni back to campus for a commemorative weekend from Friday to Sunday, and St. Clair Park will fill with spectators for the first SummerSounds’ concert of the year on Friday evening.

SummerSounds’s 2024 kickoff will feature Elton Rohn, an Elton John-inspired act, at 7 p.m., with openers Tania Schlanger and Aubrey Burchell beginning at 6 p.m.

Last year, about 10,000 fans gathered at the park to see Rohn’s performance.

“I just think it’s nice that we have so many different groups doing so many different events,” said Alec Italiano, Greensburg’s director of planning and development. “It’s good for the city, it’s good to bring people downtown, and it’s good to kind of almost reacquaint people with the downtown area if they haven’t been here for a while.”

How to get around

For SummerSounds, a free shuttle will run Friday from Nicely Elementary School on McLaughlin Drive, where concert-goers can park for free and then ride to the park, courtesy of the Downtown Greensburg Project. The shuttle will depart at 5:45 p.m., and the last pickup from St. Clair Park to Nicely will be around 10 p.m.

Italiano was enthusiastic about the help the shuttles will provide.

“I think that’s a good thing for us, to be able to get people around the city, especially the residents,” he said. “A lot of people are going to be driving into it from surrounding communities. If that shuttle can help with the locals, I think that’s a good thing.”

Parking will be available at the city’s metered parking lots and at spots that are free after 5 p.m. with the exception of some 24/7 leased spots.

The Palace encourages concert-goers to park in the Robert A. Bell Parking Garage, which will be open — and to get there early, as the Air Supply show is nearly sold out.

“Air Supply has been here before, and they always draw a nice crowd,” said Teresa Baughman, chief operating officer of the Westmoreland Cultural Trust.

She encourages people coming to The Palace to check out local restaurants and businesses in town before the show.

“We’ve got so many more restaurants now than we did 25 years ago,” she said. “The Trust has had the Palace since 1990, and I strongly believe and know that the Palace has been a big contributor to the local economy in downtown Greensburg.”

Benjamin Luczak, CEO of Westmoreland Cultural Trust, said The Palace is accustomed to handling multiple events in quick succession. In June alone, the theater has 11 events scheduled in an 18-day period.

“It’s rinse and repeat for us,” he said.

Alumni gathering

Seton Hill’s alumni weekend is expected to draw about 250 participants over the course of the weekend. Some alumni are staying overnight on campus and other are staying in local hotels, said spokeswoman Jennifer Reeger.

Most events are scheduled to take place on campus.

But shuttle buses are available for guests who plan to attend the Friday evening alumni art exhibit gala and gallery crawl, located at the Seton Hill Arts Center downtown at 6 p.m., and the distinguished alumni leadership awards ceremony on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center on Harrison Avenue.

Attendees can park on the Seton Hill campus and grab a shuttle bus at several stops to go down the hill.

“We try to make it as easy for our guests as possible to navigate those events downtown,” Reeger said.

The alumni weekend has been held during the first full weekend of June for the past 40 years, she added.

“(It’s) been really a longtime effort on our part to engage our students, our alumni, our faculty, staff and parents in the Downtown community by patronizing local businesses and going to the museum or places like SummerSounds,” she said. “We are up on the hill, but we have the two buildings downtown, and we really encourage our community to be involved as much as possible in Greensburg.

“It is a jam-packed weekend of events that we’ve scheduled, but there is opportunity for people to explore downtown.”

Businesses get ready

Businesses near St. Clair Park are used to getting a boost from the influx of people downtown.

At the Cattfeinated Cat Cafe, where guests can grab coffee and gifts while visiting with adoptable cats, head barista and social media marketing manager Halle Blair says weekends have been getting busier and busier as summer approaches.

“The St. Clair park is right behind our building. Usually people will walk down, or before it even starts, people will come in,” she said. “We even have a bubble tea trailer that is going to be at SummerSounds every Friday as well, so we will be up there with that, too.”

If visitors are interested in meeting the cats over the weekend, Blair recommends making a reservation.

“More so during the week, you can just walk in. But on the weekends, especially Friday nights, Saturday nights, or even Friday or Saturday mornings, we suggest people go online and make a reservation,” she said. “Even lately, because kids are off school now, the week is getting pretty booked up as well.”

At Oliver’s Pourhouse, located at 8 N. Pennsylvania Ave. a few blocks from the park, manager Matt Nicolazzo anticipates a flurry of activity.

“We are expecting to be really busy this weekend,” he said.

Rich and Danielle Butcher own both the J. Corks restaurant at 25 E. Pittsburgh St. and the newly-opened 3 Stone Merchant Gastropub, located at 25 W. Otterman St.

This will be 3 Stone Merchant’s first season experiencing the SummerSounds rush, as the restaurant opened in the location of the former Rialto Bar and Bistro earlier this year.

Rich isn’t sure how busy things will be at 3 Stone Merchant but is prepared.

“We’re ready to go. Our menu’s ready, our prep is done. Whatever happens, we’re ready for it, whether we’re busy or we’re not,” he said. “J. Corks, the other restaurant, is definitely closer to SummerSounds than we are, but there’s a lot of people coming downtown.”

Events at The Palace have helped to drive traffic to the downtown area, he said.

“Hopefully, all the local businesses down here are going to be able to reap the rewards,” he said. “It’s good for the city — it’s great for Greensburg, it’s great for all the small businesses down here.”

Julia Maruca is a TribLive reporter covering health and the Greensburg and Hempfield areas. She joined the Trib in 2022 after working at the Butler Eagle covering southwestern Butler County. She can be reached at jmaruca@triblive.com.

Downtown Greensburg gets ready for trio of popular events this weekend (2024)
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