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Busy Weekend As Arts Fest Opens, Taylor Swift Comes To Town

Amy Wadas

Pittsburgh native Amy Wadas joined KDKA as a reporter in July of 2014....

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The food is plentiful, the artists are eager and the crowds gathered Friday for the start of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival downtown.

As the Arts Festival moves into its first weekend, thousands more are expected on the North Shore on Saturday as superstar Taylor Swift comes to town.

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With the downbeat of Black Little Birds' first song on the main stage, the Three Rivers Arts Festival was off and running, even if there was a little rain in the evening.

Musician Jenny Lewis brought out a large crowd of fans to the Dollar Bank Stage Friday night, making the first night of the Arts Festival a success.

"Totally here to see Jenny Lewis. She's like a teen icon for me. I feel like I've grown up with the girl," Emily Slagel of Lawrenceville said.

"She's a newbie. She has not seen Jenny Lewis yet so," Chris Smith said.

The music isn't the only thing that brought out the crowds. There's the food, and of course, you can't forget the 350 artists who set up shop for 10 days straight, rain or shine.

"Thousands passed through. We anticipate even 100,000 more through the weekend, and knock on wood, clear skies the next 10 days," Veronica Corpuz with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust said.

On Friday, the Arts Festival has the city to itself.

"It's just wonderful to see all the art, all the cultural things they have to offer, all the people," says Paul Sweeney, of Delmont.

But the North Shore has been abuzz with the move in of Taylor Swift's 1989 World Tour crew as they prepare Heinz Field for 50,000 plus Saturday night, and that means the North Shore parking lots will be closed most of Saturday.

"The parking lots open at 3 o'clock, the gates to Heinz Field open at 5 o'clock, and the first of the musical acts on the main stage start at 7 o'clock," said Heinz Field spokesperson Burt Lauten.

So, if you're coming earlier than 3 p.m. to the North Shore, make sure you use the T or park Downtown and walk over. The music begins on Art Rooney Avenue at 2 p.m.

If you're Arts Festival-bound, the downtown parking lots are your best bet or use the Port Authority or ride a bike.

"Lots of options, lots of planning that can be done through our website and even using the ParkPGH app that the Cultural Trust has worked on," says Corpuz.

Taylor Swift and Arts Fest fans won't have any problem getting into the city on the Parkway West.

But Dave Matthews fans on the way home from First Niagara Pavilion Saturday night be aware, PennDOT has some major paving planned.

"We are closing the inbound Parkway West from I-79 to the Parkway Center interchange," said Steve Cowan, of PennDOT.

The work begins at 10 p.m. Saturday and runs through Monday morning. Fans going home from the concert will have to detour through Carnegie.

Here's PennDOT's posted eastbound detour route (between I-79 and Parkway Center):

* Motorists will exit I-376 at the I-79 south (Exit 64A) interchange towards Washington
* Follow I-79 south to the Carnegie (Exit 57) interchange off-ramp
* At the end of the off-ramp, turn left onto West Main Street
* West Main Street becomes Mansfield Boulevard
* Turn right onto Chestnut Street
* Turn left onto East Main Street
* East Main Street becomes Noblestown Road
* Turn right onto Mansfield Avenue
* Turn left onto Greentree Road
* Turn right onto Parkway Center Drive
* Follow to I-376
* End detour

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Source: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2015/06/05/busy-weekend-as-arts-fest-opens-taylor-swift-comes-to-town/