The 32nd annual Three Rivers Regatta was a roaring success this Fourth of July weekend, and organizers estimated the popular, three-day event drew a crowd estimated at 500,000 to Point State Park and the North Shore.
Most notable this year was the breathtaking tightrope walk 200 feet above the Allegheny River by Nik Wallenda of the legendary family of high-wire performers. He managed to complete the 1,100-foot walk in 25 minutes while thousands of spectators held their collective breath, especially when he paused for deep-knee bends to regain his strength.
The biggest change in this year's Fourth of July fireworks display was not apparent as the 22,000 explosions dazzled the audience. For the first time in two decades, the display was not a Zambelli Fireworks production. Instead, Pyrotecnico, also a long-time New Castle fireworks firm, put on the show and proved worthy of the assignment.
Organizers of the Regatta said even more people than they'd expected turned out for the event's musical entertainment, food, speedboat and dragon boat races, jet-ski stunts and contests.
The Regatta has been a Downtown staple for more than three decades, but its package of fun and free entertainment on a grand scale was more welcome than usual given the grim economy. Thanks to the organizers, and to everyone who participated, for yet another memorable Three Rivers Regatta.