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Tours to show off different facets of Pittsburgh

Jason Cato
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Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Sean Gibson, great-grandson of baseball legend Josh Gibson, meets up with the Pittsburgh Tours & More sports history tour at the Forbes Field outfield wall in Oakland on May 15, 2014. The tour was giving a preview and will be available to the public in June.
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Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Tour guide Eric Horgos, of Lawrenceville, discusses the Legends of Pittsburgh mural during a preview of the Pittsburgh Tours & More sports history tour on May 15, 2014. The tour will be available to the public in June.
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Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Tour guide Eric Horgos, of Lawrenceville, checks out the Legends of Pittsburgh mural during a preview of the Pittsburgh Tours & More sports history tour on May 15, 2014. The tour will be available to the public in June.
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Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Tour guide Eric Horgos, of Lawrenceville, visits the home plate from Forbes Field inside the University of Pittsburgh's Posvar Hall during a preview of the Pittsburgh Tours & More sports history tour on May 15, 2014. The tour will be available to the public in June.
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Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Tour guide Kelley Stroup, of Mt. Lebanon, looks at Consol Energy Center during a preview of the Pittsburgh Tours & More sports history tour on May 13, 2014. The tour will be available to the public in June.
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Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
A yinzer version of a Philly cheesesteak, this is Primanti Brothers version as prepared at the Oakland restaurant. Super Bowl hosts and hostesses can make the famous Philadelphia sandwich their own by supplying toppings like fries and coleslaw.

A decades-old Pittsburgh transportation company is adding to its repertoire a series of tours exploring the city’s quirky and eclectic side, from its famed slaw-and-fries sandwich to a Hill District home once rented by Pirates great Roberto Clemente.

Pittsburgh Tours and More, a division of Pittsburgh Transportation Group, also will offer a look at Western Pennsylvania’s Amish life and silver-screen locations, as well as stops at breweries where patrons can wash down local history with a cold pint.

“This provides another way to spotlight the city,” said Sherris Moreira, director of Tours and More. “We saw there was a need in Pittsburgh.”

Each of the four signature tours is connected with a local charity that will receive a portion of ticket sales. They are:

• “The Flavor of Pittsburgh! Pittsburgh’s Popular Food Culture Tour,” supporting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in Duquesne

• “Lights, Camera, Pittsburgh! The Official Pittsburgh Film Office Tour,” supporting the film office, a Downtown-based nonprofit that serves as the region’s movie and television economic development agency

• “The Amish Experience! Country Living at its Best Tour,” benefitting the Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center in Larimer

• “City of Champions! The History of Pittsburgh Sports Tour,” benefitting the Hill District’s Josh Gibson Foundation

The group also conducts the PA Brew Tours, which it bought this year. It plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to The Wounded Warrior Project.

Tours will be offered on select days from May 31 through October. Private group tours can be arranged, Moreira said.

The chance to partner with the sports history tour was an easy decision, said Sean Gibson, executive director of the Hill District foundation named for his great-grandfather, legendary Negro League slugger Josh Gibson.

“Any time we can give more exposure to Josh Gibson, the foundation and the Negro Leagues, it’s a great thing,” he said standing near the remnants of Forbes Field’s wall on the University of Pittsburgh campus, one of the sports history tour’s stops.

Stops related to Gibson include a Downtown mural where the Hall of Fame catcher is immortalized in his Homestead Grays uniform surrounded by legendary Pirates. The tour travels past a Hill District baseball diamond renamed Josh Gibson Field in 2008.

“That’s the field he played on with the Crawfords before they moved up the street,” Gibson said, noting his great-grandfather’s time with the Pittsburgh Crawfords, a Negro League team like the Grays.

For guide Eric Horgos, the tours offer a chance to examine Pittsburgh’s unique sports history as a way to explain its civic pride.

“I’m into the geography of sports,” said Horgos, 42, of Lawrenceville. “I want to show them the places that were the storehouses of our history.”

Other tours are intended to do the same, Moreira said.

The movie tour, as previously reported by the Tribune-Review, will focus on productions filmed Downtown, on Mt. Washington, the South Side, North Side and Strip District.

Locales featured on the culinary tour are Primanti Bros., Prantl’s Bakery in Downtown and Shadyside and the Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville, as well as others spotlighted on TV shows such as “Man v. Food” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

“We should probably give out Tums at the end,” Moreira joked.

The final signature tour will offer behind-the-scenes looks at Old Order Amish life in Lawrence County. PA Brew Tours stops at Full Pint Brewing in North Versailles, Voodoo Brewery in Meadville and Four Seasons Brewing Co. in Latrobe, among others.

Pittsburgh Transportation Group operates bus, shuttle and limousine services, as well as Yellow Cab. It is the company’s first venture into the guided-tour sector.

“It’s another way to give back to the city,” Moreira said.

Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or [email protected].

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