The Festival of Combustion Returns to the Carrie Blast Furnaces
After a two-year hiatus, the event expands with more activities, demonstrations, and thrills!
Homestead, PA (August 30, 2022)—Rivers of Steel’s signature event―the Festival of Combustion―will return to bring our region’s rich heritage into focus for a spectacle of flame and excitement in the only place hot enough to host it: the Carrie Blast Furnaces.
This one-of-kind extravaganza on October 8 from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. invites audiences of all ages to celebrate the industrial arts and American crafts through hands-on activities, trade demonstrations, tours, live music, fireworks, and more!
“Carrie has become ground zero for the intersection of the industrial arts and American craft that define southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Chris McGinnis, Director of Arts for Rivers of Steel. “As both a revered historical landmark and place for creative vision, the furnaces are an ever-evolving chimera of industry, culture, and nature—an experience that resonates with all who visit this special site that is so important to our region’s legacy.”
The heart of the festival takes its inspiration from the iron-making legacy of this National Historic Landmark. The metal team will be pouring iron throughout the day, and festival-goers can carve their own mold to be cast in front of their eyes! In the evening, sparks will light up the sky during a performance iron pour. The flames do not stop there: fire is integrated to artworks on display, and flame performers will keep crowds captivated throughout the day.
The Festival of Combustion goes beyond the molten iron and flames to showcase the creativity and innovation of our region’s artists, makers, and builders in a variety of ways. The day features glassblowing demonstrations, stations for welding, metal fabrication, and more.
New this year for the Festival of Combustion is the Heritage Craft Tent presented by Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey. This festival within the festival explores American heritage traditions, including the most tasty of American crafts—whiskey distilling! The team from Knob Creek will be educating participating adults on the varieties of rye whiskey. There will be the opportunity to sample spirits and to enjoy a cocktail. Blacksmithing demonstrations, live Appalachian music, and hands-on experiences with West Overton Village and the David Bradford House round out the experience under the tent!
Also, for the first time ever, visitors to the Festival of Combustion can see the Monongahela Valley like never before—far above the Carrie Blast Furnaces in the basket of a hot air balloon! Pending good weather, tethered rides will be offered throughout the day.
Craft beer, food trucks, live music, tattoos, and a maker marketplace with regional artisans will add to the festival atmosphere.
The live music this year features the talents of all-local musicians, a rotating showcase on a single main stage located in the festival grounds, including the Bindley Hardware Company, The Moon My Twin, and World 2.
The maker marketplace will host a curated selection of the area’s most talented makers and artisans who will be selling their wares throughout the day.
For patrons looking to commemorate the event in an indelible way, tattoo artists with KSD & The Radio Room from Homestead will be offering a flash sale of Rivers of Steel- and Festival of Combustion-inspired tattoos.
Hands-on workshops allow festival-goers to experience the industrial arts and American crafts for themselves. They may try their hand with graffiti arts, carve a scratch mold to be cast during the iron pour, glaze raku-fired vases, create a Fiestaware mosaic, or join in on free kids’ zone workshops. Mini-tours of the Furnaces will be offered throughout the day.
To cap off the night, Rivers of Steel will light up the Mon Valley with a fireworks display above the Carrie Furnaces.
Free parking is available on the grounds; paid VIP parking is also an option. Tickets are $20 in advance which covers both day and evening activities, with free admission for those under 18. Live demos, marketplace admission, and workshops are included in the event ticket. Additional fees apply for the hot air balloon rides.
This event is made possible, in part, through financial sponsorship from Eaton Corporation, UPMC Health Plan, and Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey. Additional support is provided by Pitt Ohio Supply Chain, TMS International, American Gas Lamp Works, and Jackson Welding Supply Company, with media sponsorship from Pittsburgh City Paper.
For a full schedule of activities and tickets, go to FestivalOfCombustion.com.
About Rivers of Steel
Founded on the principles of heritage development, community partnership, and a reverence for the region’s natural and shared resources, Rivers of Steel strengthens the economic and cultural fabric of western Pennsylvania by fostering dynamic initiatives and transformative experiences.
Rivers of Steel showcases the artistry and innovation of our region’s industrial and cultural heritage through its historical and 21st-century attractions―offering unique experiences via tours, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and more. Behind the scenes, Rivers of Steel supports economic revitalization—working at the grassroots level to deepen community partnerships, promote heritage tourism, and preserve local recreational and cultural resources for future generations.
Contact Carly McCoy at 412.464.4020, ext. 243 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rivers of Steel | The Bost Building, 623 East Eighth Ave, Homestead PA 15120