Editorial: Pittsburgh's iconic fountain makes welcome return

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The Golden Triangle's biggest outdoor party starts Friday with a big exclamation point on it -- the iconic, 150-foot fountain that will spring back to life after being dormant since 2009.

Repairs and upgrades to the fountain were the last and most expensive part of a $35 million renovation of Point State Park that has been years in the making. The $9.6 million fountain project included moving pumps and electrical systems to higher ground and out of a flood plain and installing a new granite ring, restored outer basin and LED lighting.

The graceful spray marks the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers join to form the Ohio, and it is both beautiful and refreshing.

The timing of the fountain's return is not coincidental but deliberate, announced months ago jointly by Riverlife, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

It comes just as the Trust's 10-day Three Rivers Arts Festival transforms Downtown with a lively combination of the popular artists' market and food vendors, juried visual arts and stage performances -- more than 500 artists will be featured in 20 venues.

The festival, celebrating its 54th year, is led by a new director, Veronica Corpuz. A former consultant and public relations director with the Cultural Trust, she is a city native who -- like so many Pittsburghers -- has childhood memories of the annual event credited with triggering long-term interest in the arts.

But that sounds so serious.

The festival is all about fun. There will be demonstrations of glass blowing, wheel-thrown pottery and wood turning. Festival-goers will be able to experiment with caligraphy or by making buttons and bookmarks, mosaics or other projects. Children may try their hands at constructing boats from recycled material. There will be parades and performances. The market offers a broad array of hand-made jewelry, clothing and crafts. Of course, the air will be filled with the scent of funnel cakes, hot sausage sandwiches and other treats.

The Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival also will take place on the first weekend, presenting 240 musicians in 72 hours, and PRIDEFest events will be held on the second weekend.

The fine point on this year's events, will be the plume of water that will be spouting high into the air -- and that will continue long after the festival ends.

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