There are only 32 teams in the National Football League, and every summer Rochester plays host to one of them. If you love football, don't miss the Buffalo Bills' annual training camp at Saint John Fisher College (3690 East Avenue), July 29 to August 23.
You can learn a lot about the techniques behind the game from watching the coaches coach, and there's plenty of simulated action to satisfy your football cravings. They don't play scored games, but they progress through individual drills to situational scrimmages. If you follow the Bills, training camp is a rare opportunity to see how the team learns and grows together. Watch the Bills' new rookie class matched up against veteran stars like Eric Moulds, Sam Adams, and Takeo Spikes.
You'll hear a lot of oohs and aahs when the big plays are made, and for the kids, there's much more to do than watch from the bleachers. Next to the practice field is the "Bills Experience," where kids can test their skills in a variety of interactive games, like the Quarterback Challenge, the 40-yard dash, the Bungee Run, obstacle courses, and field goal kicking. After each practice session the players gather along the fence to sign autographs, and kids under 14 have special access to the players in the autograph tent.
Food and refreshments are also available. Expect the typical fare for such events --- hotdogs, burgers, sausages, funnel cakes, and a variety of beverages. You can also purchase game tickets and the latest Bills merchandise in the giant vendor tent.
Admission is free. You can't park at the St. John Fisher campus, but you can catch a free shuttle at Nazareth College and East Rochester High School. The Bills are still working out the schedules for weekday and evening practices. Visit www.buffalobills.com or call the camp hotline, 800-441-5942, for the latest dates and information, including directions to camp, activities, and practice times and schedules.
--- Brandon Heffernan
School may be out, but that doesn't mean there's no need for field trips. The Rochester Museum and Science Center and the Strong Museum --- Rochester's two places devoted to kids --- always pay great attention to kids' needs and wants, especially over vacation.
At Strong, the big buzz this summer is Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, on display now through September 5. You can put on your sweater and sneakers in Mister Rogers' house, and then follow the Trolley to the land of Make Believe. And on weekdays between July 5 and August 19, you just might catch one of the "Summer Happenings" the museum has planned. At various times you can jump in on a family craft, a dance lesson, or a mini-lesson. And don't forget the long-term exhibits: National Toy Hall of Fame, Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? and Super Kids Market. 1 Manhattan Square. Hours: Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 12 to 5 p.m. $7; $6 seniors, students; $5 children. 263-2700, www.strongmuseum.org
At RMSC the new exhibit is Motion Commotion, opening June 18. It's hands-on, and explores all kinds of experiments and tricks with movement. Turbulent Landscapes, which opens July 15, explores the intersection of art and science in nature: sculpted sand dunes, swirling cloud rings, spinning planets. And in the exploratory exhibits at RMSC, you get to manipulate and observe all those things. It's kind of like being the god of your own mini universe. As always, the Strasenburgh Planetarium has a full lineup of star shows, laser shows, and giant screen films, with day and evening show times. 657 East Avenue, 271-4320, www.rmsc.org. Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 12 to 5 p.m. $8, $7 seniors and students, $6 kids. Strasenburgh Planetarium Show Schedule: www.rmsc.org, 271-1880
There has to be something in the lake water. This summer, there are three lakefront classical music festivals to choose from. The warm-weather outdoor music phenomenon is not limited to rock or jazz: Classical strains suit themselves to the lake vistas and rolling farmland. Think of it as a soundtrack to your nature-commune experience.
The Skaneateles Festival, Chamber Music By the Lake, has a long and healthy history. Each summer the Festival offers up a month of concerts divided between the outdoor Brook Farm and downtown Skaneateles. Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn is possibly the most famous and well-touted visitor each year, but this year there are also two big names in the new artistic directors --- pianist Elinor Freer and cellist David Ying of the Eastman School and Rochester's famous Ying Quartet. The festival runs from August 11 to Sept 3. For a schedule, see our classical music listings in this guide, or contact the Fest at 315-685-7418, www.skanfest.org
The Canandaigua Lake Chamber Music Festival, "Lake Music 2005," August 19 to 28, spreads its concerts, children's concerts, and open rehearsals among a number of Canandaigua venues --- like United Methodist Church, The Granger Homestead, and the Ontario County Arts Council. A highlight will be the Classical Blue Jeans concert and barbecue at South Bristol Cultural Center. For a schedule, see our listings or 394-5678www.lakechambermusic.org
And finally, the Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival (June 24 to July 30) will once again host the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra for a series of concerts in Branchport, Penn Yan, and Geneva. What's lovelier than music played by a world-class orchestra? Hearing it in locations like Hunt Country Vineyards, Keuka College's Norton Chapel, and the Smith Opera House. 315-536-8226, www.fingerlakes-music.org
In summer, you'll find that all the world's a stage. (If you're willing to drive a little bit.) The Shaw and Stratford Festivals are a theater lover's dream: great acting, great staging, great plays, and the ability to go from show, to show, to show....
The Shaw Festival, which puts on the plays of George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries (1856-1950), this year has two great ones by Shaw: You Never Can Tell and Major Barbara. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. Tix: $42-$82 (Canadian dollars). 800-511-7429, www.shawfest.com
And Stratford is Shakespeare and other classical theater, though it seems that the definition of "classical" is nicely expanding and rounding out each year. This season catch Shakespeare favorites like The Tempest and As You Like It and truly great shows by other writers: Hello, Dolly; Into the Woods; The Brothers Karamazov; Orpheus Descending. Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Tix: $20-$114 (Canadian dollars). 800-567-1600, www.stratfordfestival.ca
Our Public Market is 100 this year. Which basically is a great excuse to celebrate what it has always been: the most authentically and casually diverse place in the city. The produce is exceptionally fresh, naturally seasonal, and very affordable. The specialty shops, for cheese, meat, pastries, and coffee are some of the best in town. The food vendors give you something to munch on as you walk. Get an empanada and sit for a minute while you watch people worming their way down the rows. Pop over to the A\V art gallery and music space (8 Public Market) to see what they have going on. Buy spinach (or tomatoes, or corn, or basil, or zucchini) from the same person who picked it that morning and know what it is to eat fresh. Buy tube socks, ankle bracelets, and the week's groceries all in the same place and wonder why you don't go there more often.
And there are events. The Greatest Community Garage Sales are on Sundays, June 26, July 10, 17, 24, and 31, and August 7, 14, 21, and 28. Chef's Days are Saturdays, July 2, August 6. Bands on the Bricks (evening events with a Beer Garden and live music) are on Fridays, July 15, and August 5 and 19. And the Festival of Food (the most amazing culinary experience) is on Monday, August 22. Don't miss it.
The Market is open Saturdays, 5 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. It's at 280 North Union Street, off East Main Street (take either Railroad or Union Street to an entrance). Information: 428-6907. There is an RTS shuttle from several apartment complexes the first and third Thursdays of the month. (50 cents each way. Call RTS: 288-1700.)