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Festival frenzy 

City Newspaper's 2015 Festival Preview Guide


After one of the coldest winters on record, Rochesterians are finally beginning to stop shivering and rediscover the world that exists outside of heated buildings and cars. While the summer months are endlessly beautiful, fall always seems to arrive too soon — right as soon as we get used to sunshine and shorts weather. But in that temperate sweet spot between May and September, Rochester comes alive with hundreds of festivals, events, and gatherings.

To help keep track of all the goings-on, City collected information on many of the summer's festivals — beginning with the Lilac Festival and capped by the Rochester Fringe Festival — so that you can spend time enjoying them, not trying to track down details. Full descriptions of all the festivals listed here can be found online at

Lilac Festival

Friday, May 8, through Monday, May 17

Rochester isn't known as the "Flower City" for nothing. Named for the sea of lilacs in Highland Park (more than 1,200 plants and 500 varieties), the Lilac Festival is the kickoff of Rochester festival season. Drawing more than 500,000 people over the course of a jam-packed two weeks, the festival is a beehive of summery activities revolving around the fragrant lilac beds.

A parade will proceed down East Avenue and Highland Avenue on Saturday, May 9, with more than 2,500 participants in tow. Marching bands, dancers, costumed characters, and the quirky Damascus mini cars will be among the endless variety in the Lilac Parade, and Shuttle services and reservable viewing areas will be available on the morning of the parade, which begins at 10:30 a.m.

Chocolate and wine tasting will be available Monday through Wednesday, with gourmet confections from Manhattan-based Li-Lac Chocolates. More than 150 different varietals from 30 wineries will be paired with the chocolates, for an enormous range of possible combinations. New York artisan cheese will also be sampled. Tastings will be available for two sessions daily, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for ages 21 and over ($15 admission).

Art in the Park at the Lilac Festival features more than 160 crafts and specialty products, handmade by local artists. Open for both weekends of the festival, Art in the Park also provides an opportunity to buy lilac-themed soaps, perfumes, and other festival-specific merchandise like t-shirts, baseball caps, and puzzles. Art in the Park is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Lilac Festival is heavy on music: 64 shows, all completely free, are scheduled throughout the week, with some big names like The Psychedelic Furs, Dr. Dog, Blues Traveler, Rusted Root, Mingo Fishtrap, Charlie Musselwhite, and Ana Popovic. Regional gems like Thunder Body and The Blind Spots will also put on performances.

Following a week of food and libations, the Highland Hospital-sponsored Lilac Run will conclude the Lilac Festival. Both the 5k and 10k race routes begin and end among the fragrant blooms of Highland Park. The races will begin on Saturday at 8 a.m. (5K) and 9:15 a.m. (10K). The course is USA Track and Field certified, and cash prizes will be awarded to the top finishers (registration $30-$35). Admission to the Lilac Festival is free. For a complete lineup of bands and activities, and answers to any questions about the festival, go to

Dachshund Parade

Saturday, May 9

During the 14th annual Dachshund Parade, there will be dog health information available from Veterinary Specialists of Rochester, Animal Emergency Service, and TheraVet Acres. Dog-lovers can catch a variety of handcrafted dachshund-themed items being sold by various vendors, and Pet Saver Superstore will provide free treats. Embroidered parade T-shirts in different colors ($18 each) and embroidered parade towels ($15 each) will be on sale. Payment is asked to be cash only, and part of the proceeds benefit Rochester Hope for Pets and the Verona Street Animal Society.

The Parade takes place on Saturday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Washington Square Park (181 Clinton Avenue South). Admission is $1 for each dachshund (other breeds should not be brought) and parade donations are accepted. For more information, visit

Low Bridge, High Water

Thursday, May 14, through Saturday, May 16

For the last three years, the Village of Brockport has hosted a weekend festival to celebrate the seasonal opening of the Erie Canal. The Low Bridge, High Water festival begins Thursday evening with a presentation on new Erie Canal development projects by Tom Grasso, the president of the Canal Society of New York State. The presentation will be at 7 p.m. at the Morgan-Manning House (151 Main Street). On Friday, a craft beer tasting event will be held canal-side, with more than a dozen Rochester-area beer, wine, and cider makers pouring samples. Food vendors and live music complete the night, with Big Eyed Fish (a Dave Matthews tribute band), The Mike Melito Quartet, and Ricky Richards and the Sound Organization. Proceeds from the tasting benefit Camp Good Days, Camp Abilities Brockport, and Bring Rowing to Rochester. Saturday will feature the "Barge Charge" 5K run, and a host of activities at the waterfront Barge Stage, including kayak rentals, a rowing demo, yoga on the barge, and Pizza Olympics (The day starts at 10 a.m.).

The festival takes place Thursday, May 14, through Saturday, May 16. Admission to the festival is free. Tickets for Friday's beer tasting are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and $5 for non-tasting admission. Paper registration for the 5K can be found at See for additional details.

Roc City Ribfest

Friday, May 22, through Monday, May 25

The Roc City Ribfest is a family-friendly event featuring competitive cooking for ribs, chicken wings, hot dogs, burgers, and meat in various other forms. Competitions include the Roc City Rib Cook Off, World Bacon Championship, Kids Q, and the People's Choice Ribs, where you can vote for your favorite vendor of the festival. Attendees hoping to taste barbeque from the competition should sign up to judge the events, which can be done in advance online, for a fee. And the kids are welcome: a large playground, arts and crafts, face-painting, and other diversions will be available.

Roc City Ribfest takes place Friday, May 22, through Monday, May 25, at the Genesee Valley Park (952 East River Road). The festival officially opens to the public Friday evening at 5 p.m. and continues Saturday to Monday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday's activities end at 7 p.m.)  Entrance is $5 and free for those under 12. The cost includes parking, admission, music, and kids' activities. The festival will donate $1 from each person to the Golisano Children's Hospital, and all judging fees are donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester. For more information, visit or call 1-888-ROC-BBQ8.  

Greek Festival

Thursday, May 28, through Sunday, May 31

Rochester's annual Greek Festival brings the aromas, sounds, and customs of Greece to the area with dancing, food, church tours, and shopping in a Greek marketplace. Traditional foods include Loukoumades, Saganaki, Gyros, and Fried Calamari. Baklava and Spanakopita cooking demonstrations are scheduled throughout the festival as well. Church tours will explain the interior iconography of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, which houses the most extensive collection of Byzantine-style mosaics in the area. Children can also enjoy their own mini festival, with activities including a climbing wall.

The Greek Festival takes place Thursday, May 28, through Sunday, May 31, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and will be located on the grounds of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 962 East Ave. Admission to the festival is free. For more information, visit or call 244-3377.

Fairport Canal Days

Friday, June 5, through Sunday, June 7

Attracting more than 200,000 attendees each year, this Fairport volunteer-run festival includes live music, arts and crafts vendors, family activities, food, and more. A chicken BBQ will be held on Friday, starting at 4:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday will feature more than 200 artisans and various food and craft vendors. Canal Nights (located at Fairport Junction) keeps the Saturday night party going with popular regional bands, food, beer, and wine. A Duck Race ($5 for one duck, or $20 for five ducks) will benefit the Fairport Perinton Merchants Association's initiatives for beautification and public art in the community.

Fairport Canal Days runs Friday, June 5, through Sunday, June 7, in the village of Fairport. Events begin Friday night from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and will continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. No Pets. For more information, visit or email

19th Ward Square Fair

Saturday, June 7

Held the first Saturday in June, the 19th Ward Square Fair celebrates the cultural diversity of that neighborhood. This year, the 19th Ward Community Association celebrates its 50th anniversary with a catered picnic in Genesee Valley Park for past 19th Ward neighbors who have moved away to reunite with current residents. The Friday picnic will involve food, beverages, and games. On Saturday, the usual Fair festivities will commence with a pancake breakfast at 8:30 a.m., an 11 a.m. parade, various local vendors, and limited edition 50th Anniversary T-shirts available for purchase.

The reunion picnic at Genesee Valley Park will begin at 5:30 p.m. The fair will be held on Saturday, June 7, at Aberdeen Square Park (330 Post Avenue). Admission to the fair is free. For more information, visit or call 328-6571.

Sulphur Springs Festival

Friday, June 5, and Saturday, June 6

Clifton Springs' Sulphur Springs Festival takes place the first weekend of July every year to celebrate the historic village and its community. Food vendors unpack on Friday, filling out a schedule strewn with marching bands, stilt walkers, and clowns. The annual Beer and Wine Crawl will be on Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the Flint Creek Band will perform 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday will see a multitude of craft vendors joining the food offerings, an informal car show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a Duck Derby at 4:30 p.m., and a parade to cap off the weekend starting at 6 p.m.

The festival is Friday, June 5, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, June 6, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Events will take place throughout Clifton Springs. Admission to the festival is free. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit

Rochester Real Beer Week

Friday, June 12, through Sunday, June 21

If it wasn't already obvious, Rochester is keen on craft beer. Nowhere is this more obvious than at the Rochester Real Beer Expo, a day-long craft beer tasting event that includes more than 80 craft beer offerings. Because of the popularity of the expo, in 2012 the Expo was expanded to include a whole week of craft-brew related gatherings at venues all over the city including food and beer pairings and dinners, socials, concerts, craft beer launches, clambakes, concerts, a home-brewing competition and classes, a "cooking with beer" class, a Keg Toss-Off, a 5K Race, and a disc golf tournament. The Friday (June 12) kick-off party will be held at Lovin' Cup, followed by the afternoon-long Expo on Saturday, June 13. The next weekend, a 5K race at RIT and the 4th annual Old Toad Cask Festival will top off the week's whirlwind of activities. Several brewers are tapping new beers made specifically for the festival, including Joe Bean and ROC Brewing, Swiftwater Brewing, Naked Dove, and Three Heads.

The Rochester Real Beer Week takes place Friday, June 12, through Sunday, June 21, at venues all over Rochester. Event prices vary, but Expo tickets are currently available online for $45 ($65 VIP). Event times and prices will be posted at as they become available, and a complete guide will be inserted into City Newspaper on May 27.

Maplewood Rose Celebration

Friday, June 12, through Sunday, June 14

The 25th annual Maplewood Rose Festival will celebrate the blooming roses at Maplewood Park over the second weekend in June. The Rose Garden is home to more than 3,000 rose bushes, including the classic "Malmaison" and more recent hybrid "Princess Diana." Attendees can find free guided tours of the Genesee Gorge and the rose gardens; food, arts, and crafts vendors; a children's storytelling tent; a gallery show of Maplewood-area artists; wine tasting in the garden; and the yearly Perennial swap. There will also be fireworks on Friday, visible over the Genesee from the Driving Park Bridge.

The festival will be held Friday, June 12, through Sunday, June 14, at the Maplewood Park and Rose Garden (on the corner of Lake and Driving Park Avenues). Admission is free. Handicap parking is available in Maplewood Parking Lot, but all other parking is available on surrounding area streets. A shuttle is provided at the corner of St. Paul Boulevard and Avenue E, directly across the Driving Park Bridge from Maplewood. For more information, visit or call 232-8420.

Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival

Saturday, June 13, through Saturday, August 1

Now in its 13th season, the Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival will open on Saturday, June 13, with harpsichordist Yi-heng Yang performing music of Bach, Telemann, Handel, and Corelli. The music festival will feature periodic string ensemble performances throughout June and July at various venues in Branchport, Hammondsport, Keuka Park, and Penn Yan. There will also be an Americana Concert by the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, July 5. New this year is the "Art Inspires Music" program, on Saturday, July 11, which will premiere works by four local composers.

The Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival will take periodically from June 13 through August 1. Tickets are $25 per event (students get in free), with the exception of a free "Bach to Rock" performance on July 15 in Penn Yan. For a full schedule and more details, visit

Rochester International Jazz Festival

Friday, June 19, through Saturday, June 27

Since it premiered in 2002, the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival has grown to become one of the area's most prestigious and popular music festivals. This year's festival will be headlined by Jennifer Hudson, Gary Clark Jr.,  Herb Alpert & Lani Hall, Diana Krall, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Tedeschi Trucks Band with Sharon Jones Dap Kings. The festival's Club Pass shows feature more than 230 artists at 19 different venues in Rochester's East End, all within walking distance. These shows will be $20-$25 individually on a first-come-first-serve basis, or can be accessed with a festival-long Club Pass ($194). Additionally, there will be more than 80 shows performed for free throughout the city.

For more information, including tickets and venue information, visit City Newspaper will publish its annual Jazz Festival Preview Guide on June 10.

Festival on the Green

Friday, June 19, through Sunday, June 21

The village of Honeoye Falls' Festival on the Green celebrates the area's local music and art with food vendors, arts and crafts, live music, and family-friendly activities. The festival starts on Friday, June 19, and runs through Sunday, June 21. Friday night kicks off the event at 6 p.m. with a 5K run through the village, beginning at Monroe Street Park (Fireman's Field, 321 Monroe Street). Registration is $20 ahead of time (pre-registration ends on June 13) and $25 the day of the event.  Proceeds will benefit the Honeoye Falls Food Cupboard, and the first 100 runners to register for the race will receive a custom T-shirt. On Saturday and Sunday the festival continues at Harry Allen Park (21 North Main Street) with vendors, music, food, and more. The festival is free to attend.

For more information and a complete schedule of events and times, visit

Day of Remembrance

Friday, July 3

The Day of Remembrance, first held in 1999, is a time for honoring and reflecting on the lives lost in the Middle Passage of the slave trade. Hosted by the Maafa Celebration Committee, the annual gathering is an opportunity for contemplation, but also for celebration of the heritage, history, and accomplishments of people of African descent. As in previous years, ten local residents will be honored as "Warriors" for their contributions to making the community more humane and vibrant. This year marks the 17th annual Day of Remembrance in Rochester.

The Day of Remembrance takes place on Friday, July 3, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Durand Eastman Park (located on Lake Shore Boulevard). Admission is free and open to the public and attendees are asked to wear white, bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit, and flowers for the libation ceremony. For more information, visit or email

Sterling Renaissance Festival

Saturdays and Sundays, July 4 through August 16

The Renaissance Festival returns to Sterling for its 39th year, with medieval revelry and reenactment in its wake. While actually existing in Sterling, New York, the festival is set in 1585 in the fictitious village of Warwick, which consists of permanent and semi-permanent buildings, rides, and attractions. Entertainment includes jousting matches, a "wench auction," Shakespearean plays, and a visit by the queen through the town every afternoon. Games and rides include axe throwing, archery, camel rides, a "Goose Neck" slide, and more. Be sure to catch the Pillow Fyte and other archaically-spelled attractions while you're there. New to the festival this year is the Royal Feast, a five-course spread at the Rose and Crown (the festivals' permanent tavern) on Sunday, July 5.

The festival runs for seven weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, beginning July 4 and ending August 16. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a different theme each weekend. Fairgrounds are located at 15385 Farden Road, Sterling. Daily admission prices are $12.95-$22.95 and season passes are $85.95-$185.95 before May 1. Royal Feast tickets purchased separately.  For more information, visit, call 800-879-4446, or send a pigeon to the Sterling address.

Finger Lakes Wine Festival

Friday, July 10, through Sunday, July 12

Presented by Yancey's Fancy New York's Artisan Cheese, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival includes more than 90 wineries, and many food vendors from popular Rochester restaurant spots. Friday night, attendees are encouraged to come dressed in a toga for samples of wine and artisan cheese, and live music and fireworks at Launch of the Lakes (admission $20). A vast array of non-wine vendors will be showcasing their wares, ranging from sculptural art made with antique silverware (What the Fork?) to handmade cigars (Brown's Cigar Store) to on-site massages (Finger Lakes School of Massage), and many more. Other special events include breakfast inside the Glen Club, a meal prepared with specialty NY wines on Saturday night, and a ride in a Watkins Glen International pace car on the race track. Campground space is available on the grounds.

The Wine Festival will be held Friday, July 10, through Sunday, July 12 at the Watkins Glen International Speedway (2790 County Rte. 16 in Watkins). Passes include a one day pass ($40-$45), a two day pass ($45-$50), and a one day designated driver pass ($25, must be 18 years or older). For more information and to register for special events, visit

Corn Hill Arts Festival

Saturday, July 11, and Sunday, July 12

The Corn Hill Arts Festival started 45 years ago when a group of Rochester-based artists wanted to display their work in a small, street-side show. Since then, it has grown to populate most of the Corn Hill neighborhood with artist vendors for the event weekend. Creative offerings range from "consumable crafts" — soaps, spices, and food-like creations — to metal and glass work, jewelry, pottery, and ceramics.  Live music will be continually available at four different stages, and an Emerging Artist expo will showcase nonprofessional art and crafts from artists ages 15 to 25.

The festival takes place on Saturday, July 11, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, July 12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. rain or shine. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Rochester Pride 2015

Friday, July 17, through Sunday, July 19

Each year, the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley sets aside a weekend in July to promote an inclusive environment for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. Rochester Pride 2015's theme is "Sci-Fi Pride: May the Pride be With You" and takes place Friday, July 17 through Sunday, July 19, with an assortment of activities for everyone. On Friday, the festival kicks off with a flag ceremony involving local speakers, pride poem readings, and an appearance of the color guard "Pride Performance Ensemble." On Saturday, the annual parade will begin at 1 p.m. winding its way down Park Avenue, Alexander Street, and Monroe Avenue, to MLK Park, the festival site. This year, International Housewife Mrs. Kasha Davis will headline the festival, which will include dancing, musical groups, drag, and many more attractions. On Sunday, July 19, the Pride Picnic at Genesee Valley park will be held from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. This year, the Picnic will be free for all community members.

Pride weekend takes place Friday, July 17, through Sunday, July 19, throughout the city of Rochester. Tickets for the festival are $10 advance ($15 at the gate), and can be purchased at retail locations or from the Gay Alliance website. For more information and a complete list of events and locations, visit

Canandaigua Art and Music Festival

Friday, July 17, through Sunday, July 19

Located on Canandaigua's Main Street, the Canandaigua Art and Music Festival highlights local music and art talent from across the Canandaigua region. The biggest attraction of the festival, by far, is the plethora of artists, crafters, and exhibitors featuring photography, jewelry, pottery, and woodworking. But live music will also be performed throughout the weekend. This year, local restaurants and food vendors will be joined by familiar Rochester food trucks.

The festival will be held on Friday, July 17, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit or call 394-0787.

Canandaigua Lake Music Festival

Thursday, July 16, through Sunday, July 26

The Canandaigua Lake Music Festival features 13 classical artists playing the piano, violin, cello, viola, lute, and brass instruments. In combinations of varying sizes, these musicians present professional-quality classical in a personal, chamber-size setting. The festival's 11th season starts Thursday, July 16, with a festival kick-off preview concert, and continues on Friday with "An Evening in Madrid," which will feature guitarist Petar Kodzas presenting Luigi Boccherini's Fandango Quintet. The festival will conclude with a live performance of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 14, Op. 131 on Sunday, July 26. The 2012 film "The Late Quartet," which features the same score, will be screened on Saturday, July 25.

A free family concert will be held at the Wood Library on Thursday, but all other concerts will be ticketed. The festival begins Thursday, July 16, and continues through Sunday, July 26. For more information on times, lineups, and performance prices, visit or call 412-6353.

Macedonian Festival

Friday, July 17, through Sunday, July 19

The St. Dimitria Macedonian Orthodox Church community will host its 18th annual celebration of Macedonian culture and heritage. This family-friendly festival has a little something for everyone. If live Macedonian music and dancing doesn't sound like fun, there will be numerous delicious baked goods, shish-kebops, stir-fry, and several other food-related attractions. Face-painting and balloons will be available for kids, door prizes and raffles will be held each day, and beer and Macedonian wine will be available for purchase.

The festival will take place Friday, July 18, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Saturday, July 19, 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday, July 20, 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. St. Dimitria's is located at 235 Telephone Road in West Henrietta. Admission is free. For more information, visit


Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19

For the second year, Nedloh Brewing Co. will host Hopsfest, a festival for lovers of agriculture, craft beer, and the farm brewery model. In addition to more than 20 craft breweries with their suds on tap, Hopsfest will feature educational seminars, Rochester food trucks, Pittsford Dairy ice cream sandwiches, and live music. Tours of next-door Holden Farms' hops will be offered daily in conjunction with the seminars. Saturday will feature a grill-off from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., with 12 local chefs competing to win grills.

Hopsfest takes place at Nedloh Brewing Co. (6621 State Route 5 and 20 in Bloomfield) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket prices are $40 for each day and $70 for the weekend. For more information, visit

Native American Dance and Music Festival

Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26

Held annually at the Ganondagan Historic Site, the Native American Dance and Music Festival is a cultural celebration of Native heritage. This year's festivities include performances from award-winning Native folk and blues rocker Keith Secola and traditional Iroquois Social Dancers. Guided tours of Ganondagan's trails and of a bark-sided longhouse will be held daily, in addition to traditional storytelling, a Native arts market, and raffles. This year, the festival will coincide with the grand opening of the Seneca Art and Culture Center, a year-round facility that will provide interpretive history of the Haudenosaunee and Seneca through their contributions to art, culture, and society.

The festival runs Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ganondagan Historic Site (1488 State Route 444 in Victor). Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $7 for students with ID, $5 for children 3 to 18 years old, and free for children 2 and under and Friends of Ganondagan members (with a membership card). For more information, visit

Spencerport Canal Days

Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26

Spencerport Canal Days will host arts and crafts, commercial booths selling an array of goods, food vendors, and live music along the banks of the Erie Canal. A street concert on Friday night, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., kicks the weekend off. A car show will be held all day Saturday at the American Legion (691 Trimmer Road), and Sunday features the annual Canaligator Race (at 4:30), where sponsors buy little plastic alligators and watch as they "race" to the finish line.

The festival will take place along the Erie Canal in the village of Spencerport from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Waterfront Art Festival

Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26

Waterfront Art Festival is a juried arts and crafts festival known for offering inimitable products, and hosts more than 160 artists selling handmade arts and crafts, cottage industry products, jewelry, pottery, and more. Located at Kershaw Park on Lake Shore Drive, the festival will also feature loads of food vendors and live music to keep attendees well-fed and entertained while browsing.

The festival takes place Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Admission is $4 and free for children 12 and under. For more information and a complete schedule, visit or call 671-9102.

Lima Crossroads Festival

Saturday, August 1

The Lima Crossroads Festival makes an effort to support Lima's local businesses and service groups by bringing in people from all over the region. Some of the all-day activities include arts vendors, a petting zoo, a car cruise-in, a bounce house and kid's carnival, and pony rides. The festival also features a Bed Race, beginning sharply at 12 p.m.; the opportunity to send a friend to "jail"; and the 2nd Annual Lima Sonic singing competition (nominal fee to participate; cash prizes for top three singers; registration required). A portion of the profits from this community-supported festival will fund Camp Good Days in Lima.

The festival takes place Saturday, August 1, beginning at 9 a.m. on Main Street in Lima. For more information and a complete schedule of the day's events, visit

Park Avenue Summer Art Festival

Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2

Taking up more than a mile of Park Ave, this festival will house an ocean of carefully curated arts and crafts sellers. The festival will feature more than 375 artists, creators, and crafters over its two-day duration, and three music stages will host continuous live entertainment. Forty additional food vendors will augment the cafés, bakeries, and restaurants that permanently anchor the picturesque Park Avenue.

The festival is set for Saturday, August 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, August 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., down Park Avenue, between Alexander Street and Culver Road. Admission is free. For more information, visit

A.B.O.V.E. African-American Festival

Saturday, August 1

Achieving and Bringing Our Vision to Excellence, or A.B.O.V.E., is a local organization that is dedicated to making a difference among African-Americans in the greater Rochester community. The group seeks to educate and support the African-American community while fostering unity among those of African descent everywhere. For the 8th year, A.B.O.V.E. will present its African-American Festival, which includes an assortment of vendors selling food, arts and crafts, literature, and wearable items. It will also include live music, poetry, Gospel and choir performance, traditional dancing, African art, and activities for children.

The festival will be held on Saturday, August 1, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Highland Bowl, located on South Avenue. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or email

Pageant of Steam

Wednesday, August 5, through Saturday, August 8

The New York Steam Engine Association was formed to promote and encourage interest in the operation, ownership, and preservation of antique steam-powered vehicles. As is its annual tradition, the N.Y.S.E.A. is putting on its 55th Pageant of Steam, a convergence of steam-powered machinery owners and enthusiasts. Display and demonstrations of steam-powered saw mills, tractors, and grain threshers will be complemented by tractor pull competitions (daily) and live music (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Visitors can also peruse the extensive flea market held in conjunction with the Pageant, and concessions will be available throughout. This year, the Pageant of Steam will host the Ford/Fordson Collectors Association National Show.

The Pageant of Steam takes place Wednesday, August 5, through Saturday, August 8 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at N.Y.S.E.A. (3349 Gehan Road, Canandaigua). Admission is $6 for adults and free for children under 12. For more information, visit


Saturday, August 8

For the 31st year, the Rochester West Indian Festival Organization will host Carifest, a Caribbean festival celebrating Rochester's Caribbean heritage by curating authentic Caribbean food, music, and arts and crafts. The festival will take place on Saturday, August 8, and will begin with a parade highlighting the carnival spirit of the Caribbean with traditional costumes and music. The parade will take place at 11 a.m. and will start on Liberty Pole Way and make its way down Main Street.

The festival runs from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Brown Square Park (251 Verona Street) and will feature Caribbean music, arts and crafts celebrating the culture, a variety of foods, fun for children and family members of all ages, and more. Carifest is free to attend. For more information, visit or call 234-0909.

Avon Rotary Corn Festival

Saturday, August 8

Avon's Rotary Corn Festival takes place on Saturday, August 8, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Throughout the day, the festival will host food stands, arts-and-crafts vendors selling everything from woodcrafts to stoneware pottery, a 50/50 drawing booth, games for all ages, a Kid's Zone from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., live entertainment at three stages, and a corn-eating contest. From 7 to 11 p.m., a free concert will be put on by The Skycoasters, a nine piece local party band. A Corn Fest T-Shirts will be available prior to the festival at the Avon offices of Community Bank and Bank of Castile. The shirts can also be bought at the Souvenir Booth during the festival.

The festival takes place on Genesee Street in the village of Avon. Admission and parking are free, but please leave pets at home. For more information and a complete schedule of events and vendors, visit

Finger Lakes Riesling Festival

Saturday, August 8, and Sunday, August 9

Based on one of the region's most well-known exports, the Finger Lakes Riesling Festival is all about "local." The festival revolves around the Wine Garden: a wine and craft beer tasting area with "wine check" services, by-the-bottle sales for off-site consumption, a Chili and Cheese Tent, and live music throughout the two-day festival. Hourly educational seminars from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. will teach basic wine tasting and wine-food pairing. Outside the Wine Garden, a regional farmers' market and craft show will feature a collection of locally-sourced produce and products, with live demonstrations and hands-on activities related to the cultivation and production of the goods. Cooking classes will be available through the festival's host organization, New York Wine & Culinary Center, and will focus on incorporating locally-sourced ingredients into everyday cooking.

The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at the New York Wine and Culinary Center (800 South Main Street, Canandaigua) and the Canandaigua City Pier (on Lakeshore Drive). Entrance to the Wine Garden is $25; admission to the festival is free. For more information, visit

Gateways Festival

Tuesday, August 11, through Sunday, August 16

Held biennially since 1993, the Gateways festival brings classically-trained musicians of African descent together to play in chamber and orchestral settings throughout the city. Armenta (Hummings) Dumisani, a Juilliard-trained pianist and former Eastman associate faculty, founded the Gateways festival to be both an opportunity for musicians to meet, exchange ideas, and revive musical energy, and an inspiration for young people of African descent to pursue classical music. Michael Morgan of the Oakland East Bay Symphony will provide music direction for a program dreamed up by a host of acclaimed musicians including Amadi Azikiwe, David E. Berry, and Kelly Hall-Tompkins. The festival is crammed with free performances: chamber music concerts on Thursday, August 13 (Mt. Olivet Baptist Church at 6:30 p.m.), and Saturday, August 15 (Hochstein Music School, 6 p.m.); an orchestra concert on Sunday, August 16, (Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 4 p.m.); and a community educational forum on Saturday, August 15 (Hochstein Music School, 2 p.m.).

The Gateways Festival runs Tuesday, August 11, through Sunday, August 16, at various locations throughout the city of Rochester. All concerts open to the public are free. See for more details.

Lockpalooza 2015

Saturday, August 15

Opened in 2000, the Lock 32 Whitewater Park in Pittsford repurposed a portion of the Erie Canal spillway into a man-made whitewater playground. The facilities are used in the summertime for classes introducing whitewater kayaking to beginners, and also to provide a gym of sorts to more experienced paddlers. Since 2005, Lock 32 and the Finger Lakes Ontario Watershed (F.L.O.W.) Paddlers have put on a one-day whitewater festival and competition at the facility to gather local enthusiasts and untried greenhorns for a variety of competitions. Racers can sign up for a plastic Slalom race, a mass-start Boatercross straight race to the finish, and Whitewater Rodeo freestyle competitions. For more relaxed festival-goers, flat-water kayaking lessons will be available as well.

The 11th annual Lockpalooza is scheduled for Saturday, August 15, at the Lock 32 Whitewater Center, 2797 Clover Street, Pittsford. For more information, visit

Puerto Rican Festival

Friday, August 21, through Sunday, August 23

As the longest running cultural festival in Monroe County, the Puerto Rican Festival celebrates its 46th year this August with three days of cuisine, music, and art. The festival, staged at Frontier Field's VIP lot, will include a selection of Hispanic visual artists showing and selling their work side-by-side a variety of food vendors. Also, a "cultural pageant" will be judged during the festival. Contestants spend the year leading up to the festival cultivating their essay writing and public speaking skills, attending self-improvement workshops, and volunteering in the community, with the winner to be crowned Miss Puerto Rico of Rochester.

The Puerto Rican Festival be held Friday August 21, through Sunday, August 23, at Frontier Field, 333 Plymouth Avenue North. The festival is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. See for more details and the headliner lineup.

Sankofa Theater Festival

Thursday through Saturday, August 27-29, and September 3-5

The Sankofa Theatre Festival, in its 8th iteration, spans two weekends with theater and jazz performances sponsored and organized by the MMB Theatre 1 Project. The festival will showcase the talents of local African-American playwrights, performers, poets, and musicians, with performances of several one-act plays interspersed with jazz classics.

The festival takes place Thursday, August 27, through Saturday, August 29, and Thursday, September 3, through Saturday, September 5, at MuCCC, located at 142 Atlantic Avenue. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. each day. Advance tickets can be bought at Mood Makers Books (274 North Goodman Street) for $12.50 or you can purchase tickets at the door for $16. Three-night and six-night pass will be available as well. For more information, visit or call Curtis Rivers at 271-7010.

New York State Festival of Balloons

Friday, September 4, through Monday, September 7

The annual New York State Festival of Balloons, a community-staffed event, draws ballooners and spectators from all over the state. Tethered flights, rides, and games for children, a car show, and an arts and crafts fair all add to the carnival atmosphere of this weekend. In the past, the NYSFOB has drawn more than 35,000 attendees to the Dansville area.

The New York State Festival of Balloons runs Friday, September 4, through Monday, September 7. Scheduled balloon launches run Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., and Monday at 6 a.m. The festival takes place at Dansville Municipal Airport, 176 Franklin Street, at the Maple Street Entrance. Admission is $5 and free for children under 12. Part of the profits are donated to a local charity each year. For more information, visit

Macedon Lumberjack Festival

Saturday, September 12, and Sunday, September 13

Bring out your inner lumberjack at this year's Macedon Lumberjack Festival with events like the two-man crosscut, log rolling, log chop, and fire starting. These amateur competitions will take place on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. and local lumberjacks are encouraged to come out to compete. A Grease Pole Climb is also scheduled for Saturday; teams of four can participate. On Sunday at 10 a.m., watch professional competitors from the U.S. and Canada compete in events including ax throwing, hot saw, and spring board. In addition to the competitions,  there will be a craft and collectables sale, a variety of food vendors, and commercial exhibitors displaying portable band saws, wood carvers, landscaping equipment, fireplaces, and more.

The festival takes place Saturday, September 12, and Sunday, September 13, beginning at 8 a.m. both days, and is located at the Macedon Center Fireman's Field, 2481 Canandaigua Road, Macedon. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors, $1 for kids 6 to 14, and free under 5. For more information, visit

Clothesline Arts Festival

Saturday, September 12, and Sunday, September 13

The Clothesline Arts Festival is one of the largest art festivals in the area, attracting more than 20,000 visitors each year. The festival includes live entertainment at two outdoor stages, original work by more than 400 local artists, food from various favorite Rochester vendors, and family-friendly activities. Entertainers and performers will play 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The 59th Clothesline Arts Festival will take place at the Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Avenue, Saturday, September 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, September 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. On Saturday, MAG members are offered the chance to attend the festival half an hour before opening. Admission is $4 for MAG members, $5 for general admission, and free for children 10 and under. For more information, visit

Rochester Fringe Festival

Thursday, September 17, through Saturday, September 26

After only three years, Rochester Fringe Festival has become one of the most successful fringe festivals in the nation. Last year, more than 60,000 attendees crowded Rochester's downtown streets to see performers of all stripes, from the conventional to the most fringe-y performances imaginable. This year's Fringe promises to be even bigger, so be sure to pick up City Newspaper's Rochester Fringe Festival Preview Guide, on stands September 9.

The Fringe Festival runs Thursday, September 17, through Saturday, September 26, and features hundreds of performances. Check for specifics as they develop.

Festival Preview Guide | Rochester Festivals | Lilac Festival | Rochester Fringe Festival | Rochester International Jazz Festival | Carifest | Greek Festival | Macedonian Festival

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