The longstanding Pittsburgh rib festival returns to Heinz Field (now called Acrisure Stadium) for another year. With five days of music, entertainment, and some of the best ribs in the country, you’re sure to leave satisfied.
Starting Thursday, Sept. 1, and running through Monday, Sept. 5, the event signals the beginning of Western PA’s favorite season – football season. Even if carefully crafted meats aren’t your thing, you’ll be sure to find something exciting at the free festival.
A history of Heinz Field Rib Fest
Like many classic Pittsburgh traditions, Rib Fest started out of a love of sports. To celebrate the Steelers’ season kickoff in 1990, the rib festival took place at Three Rivers Stadium. The inaugural event featured music, games and of course, a mouthwatering array of ribs. During its run at Three Rivers Stadium, the event occupied the circular perimeter of the sports arena.
When Three Rivers Stadium closed in 2001, the event moved to a parking lot next to the new Heinz Field. But Pittsburgh’s love of ribs couldn’t be contained, and the event continued to grow, at first closing down Art Rooney Ave. and now occupying over half of Heinz Field in its current iteration.
Pittsburgh Rib Fest @ Heinz Field details
The Heinz Field Kickoff and Rib Festival will take place on Labor Day weekend.
- 📍 Location: Heinz Field and Art Rooney Avenue
- 📅 Dates: Thursday, Sept. 1 to Monday, Sept. 5
- ⌚️ Time
- Thursday: Noon – 9 pm
- Friday: Noon- 11pm
- Saturday: Noon – 11 pm
- Sunday: Noon – 11 pm
- Monday: Noon – 9 pm
- 🔗 Event Website
A guide to Heinz Field Kickoff and Rib Festival
Rib Fest isn’t just about the meats (but there will be 15 different rib vendors in attendance), it’s also a kickoff to Steelers and Pitt Panthers football season. The free event takes place along Art Rooney Avenue, but Heinz Field’s FedEx Great Hall will be open for visitors to check out Steelers Super Bowl trophies, Hall of Fame Museum, the new Terrible Towel Wall and more memorabilia.
Each day will feature a unique slate of games and activities for fans of all ages. Starting at noon and lasting until 11pm most days, guests can access Rib Fest events and concerts for free, and food and drink can be purchased on site. If you’re looking for admission to the Pitt game or the Steelers game, you’ll have to buy a ticket.
Musical Performances at Pittsburgh Rib Fest 2022
Rib Fest’s musical performances are as follows:
Friday, September 2
- 7:30 p.m. – The Borstal Boys
- 9:00 p.m. – The Clarks
Saturday, September 3
- 6:30 p.m. – The Shins with special guest Joseph (Tickets Required)
Sunday, September 4
- 7:00 p.m. – Battlegories DJ Battle (Free Performance)
Monday, September 5
FREE CONCERT: Blues and BBQ
- 2:30 p.m. – The Jimmy Adler Band
- 4:00 p.m. – Dan Bubien & the Delta Struts
- 5:30 p.m. – Billy Price
Admission to the concerts at Heinz Field is free.
Rib Vendors @ Pittsburgh Rib Fest
Last but not least are the rib vendors, including the winner of last year’s rib competition:
- After Hours (2021 Best Ribs – 3rd Place)
- Bad Azz BBQ (2018 People’s Choice Award)
- Carolina Rib King
- Cowboys BBQ & Rib Co.
- Jim’s Smokin Que
- Johnson’s BBQ
- Kevin Crews Catering
- Off the Bone BBQ
- Pigfoot BBQ (2018 Best Ribs)
- Ribbins BBQ
- Smokin’ T’s BBQ
More information on Rib Fest vendors can be found on the event’s website.
A few spots to visit in the North Side
When you’ve had your fill of ribs and sports, check out some nearby North Side attractions and eateries previously featured in Very Local Pittsburgh.
- War Streets Brewery (902 Western Ave.)
- Allegheny City Brewing (507 Foreland St.)
- Roundabout Brewery Pop-up Beer Garden
Know before you go: Acrisure Stadium Kickoff and Rib Festival
- Parking: Heinz Field has a comprehensive guide to parking near the stadiums, but if you’re up for a walk, we also recommend parking in the Rivers Casino or the lot at Nova Place. [Pgh pro tip: you can park on the street for free on Sundays. Park downtown and walk or take the T over to Heinz Field.]
- Transportation: The North Side and Allegheny T Stations are only a few minutes walk from Heinz Field, or you can bike down the North Shore trail.
- Bathrooms: The event will have bathrooms on site.
📸 Header image courtesy of heinzfield.com
This story was originally published in 2019 and has been updated for 2022.
More Very Local Stories
A beginner’s guide to camping near Pittsburgh
For many, it has become second nature to load up the car with gear, food, and family and hop on the highway out of town. But for others, taking off into the wilderness can seem, at the very least, intimidating and, in some cases, inaccessible. This guide will give you a few resources, tips, and ideas to kick off your camping adventure.
All of the Pittsburgh dive bars you need to visit
From a dive bar where the walls are dripping, yes dripping, with holiday decor to a dive bar with a nice women’s bathroom, here are some of the Pittsburgh institutions you should know about.
A guide to finding the best vegan wings in Pittsburgh
I bought seitan wings from five different local restaurants to figure out which reigns supreme.
All of the Pumpkin Beers from Pittsburgh Breweries
Plus some details on which local breweries might be haunted