I moved to Rochester about five years ago after accepting a job at the University of Rochester’s Medical Center. Shortly after moving to Rochester, I realized how many festivals the city celebrated throughout the year. I quickly became accustomed to spending every weekend touring the ongoing events celebrating arts, food, culture, and music. From the Rochester International Jazz Festival to ROC Holiday Village, I am always amazed by the diversity of culture, passion, and fun brought to the city through festivals.
Upcoming Rochester festivals
Rochester Lilac Festival
May 6-8; 12-15; 19-22; 2022
Highland Park, Rochester, New York
As a self-proclaimed Rochesterian, I am always impatiently waiting for “festival season” to begin. The first sign of the festival season is seeing any marketing referring to Lilac Festival. This year is the 124th edition of the Lilac Festival in Highland Park, where 1,200 lilac bushes bloom into the most beautiful view. It is my favorite festival of the year. Besides walking through a scenic park smelling the aroma of fresh lilacs, there are a variety of other activities taking place – concerts, runs, wine tasting, and vendors. The event traditionally begins on Mother’s Day weekend each May.
If it’s early July, the Corn Hill Arts Festival is just around the corner. I am basis that this festival is another favorite of mine, mostly because I live in Corn Hill, and I believe the historical charm of this neighborhood needs to be viewed by all. I love that this festival sprawls throughout nine main streets showcasing all of Corn Hill’s allure. Also, the Arts Festival is probably the time I stock up on Christmas gifts for family members because of how many talented artists have booths throughout the two-day event.
KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival
September 13-24, 2022
Gibbs Street, Rochester, New York
If you are looking for something besides beautiful views or art, I would recommend one of the city’s newer festivals, the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival, which is 12-days of performances by international artists. One of the best aspects of the Fringe Festival is the not-for-profit festival’s overarching mission to provide a platform for artists to develop their skills while offering public access to the arts. The festival’s primary mission is to be diverse and inclusive and stimulate the city’s downtown both culturally and economically.
Besides the endless fun of festivals happening within the downtown area of Rochester, the towns and villages surrounding the city have a vast number of celebrations as well. With events like Spencerport Canal Days or Fairport Music Festival, the entire map of Monroe County is decorated with festivals.
Festivals are fun to attend, but they can provide many benefits to the community. The festivals around Rochester help promote tourism which allows more visitors to help stimulate the growth of local businesses and restaurants. They also allow smaller or local vendors to make a living off custom art and services. Lastly, festivals can help build social cohesion and a sense of pride in our city and towns. So as the weather starts to thaw and festival season quickly approaches, I would recommend checking out one of Rochester’s many events and giving back to the community through one of our city’s wonderful attributes of being a “festival city.”
To learn more about festivals around the Great Rochester Area, check out the Festival & Annual Events page on Visit Rochester.