Thanks to an $8,000 sponsorship from WesBanco, Mt. Lebanon’s First Friday celebrations are back for a full schedule this summer, after being reduced to a few months last year. First Fridays, which happen, as you might guess, the first Friday of each month in June, July, August and September, take over Uptown Mt. Lebanon along Washington Road from 7 to 10 p.m. The themes for the evenings will be firmed up once bands are confirmed, says organizer Eric Milliron, Mt. Lebanon’s commercial districts manager, but the first headliner, on Friday, June 5, is the always popular Gringo Zydeco. Expect a headline band each month at the pavilion in Clearview Common, and another band on the second stage, near WesBanco. The free event has something for the whole family, including face painting and balloons for the kids. It’s a great opportunity to kick off the month with dinner in the business district and an evening under the stars with your neighbors.
A TOUCH OF THAI Thai restaurants are huge in Pittsburgh, and Mt. Lebanon residents have been clamoring for a Thai restaurant of their own. Finally, Uptown has one. Thai Touch Kitchen, owned by Patcharin “Noi” Bofken, opened in April at 665 Washington Road in the spot formerly occupied by Kous Kous Café.
This is the first restaurant venture for Bofken, who thought it would allow her to share her culinary expertise with the community while having a flexible schedule to spend time with her two sons. The menu is full of traditional and adventurous Thai food, from soups and salads to curries, fried rice and noodles. Vegetarian, meat and seafood options are available. Spices can be tailored on a scale of 1 to 10. “It’s a little bit of everything,” she says. Bofken started with a staff of three.
Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, the restaurant is BYOB. It offers dine-in and takeout service as well as catering. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 9 p.m. See a menu at www.thaitouchkitchen.com.
The “typical” artist who will be showing at the 2015 Mt. Lebanon Artists Market next fall is hard to define. That’s because there is no typical artist, say organizers Steve and Wendy Denenberg, and as owners of Create A Frame/Handworks Gallery on Washington Road, they know of what they speak. So the husband/wife team is busily curating a list of high-quality, unique and unusual artists to give patrons a wide selection of handmade treasures, many of which are hard to find.
The market, which will take over the Academy Avenue lot on Saturday, September 26, and Sunday, September 27, will include dozens of artists from all over the country and Mt. Lebanon, too. The Denenbergs have scoured the country, putting their call-for-artists into national art magazines and searching for top-notch artists at two national wholesale crafts shows. Regional artists received applications, too, and the best will be selected for the juried market.
“Applicants are accepted by a judging process that requires meeting specific criteria, such as quality of work, technique, price points, originality, variety in style and appeal, welcoming/appealing booth appearance and layout,” says Steve. All work must be handmade with no reselling of manufactured goods.
A panel of trained and experienced working professional artists will be the jurors for the market.
The Denenbergs and many other art lovers hope that the Artists Market can become an annual signature event, attracting artists and prospective buyers from all over the region to Mt. Lebanon.
“We will be offering housing to artists who do not live in the area,” Denenberg says. “Our hope is to attract new artists to our community and to keep the show fresh and different from years past.”
The market is a family friendly event that offers music and food trucks in addition to one-of-a-kind art.