What’s IN Rochester, anyway? Festival Edition.


By: Ariane

I hope you all enjoyed my last blog post about all the great companies in Rochester.  Now that we’re in the midst of the holidays, I thought I’d switch topics to something a little more fun – festivals!  Rochester is definitely a city known for its festivals.

The largest and most well known is the Lilac Festival.  Highland Park hosts over 500,000 visitors each summer to eat, drink, listen to free concerts, and see and smell the gorgeous flora.  The Park Avenue Festival hosts a slightly younger and more boisterous crowd, with food, vendors, and bands in the midst of Rochester’s main neighborhood for college students and young professionals.

If food is your primary interest, the Big Rib & BBQ Festival is great place to check out.  If beverages and bands are more your gig, the East End Music Festivals are held monthly each summer, hosting a multitude of bands both indoors and out.

Rochester’s vibrant arts scene is another focus of festivals.  The Cornhill Arts Festival showcases both crafts and fine arts vendors, while the Memorial Art Gallery’s Clothesline Festival is a venue to check out high-end artisans. 360 | 365(formerly the High Falls International Film Festival) is a week of independent films, which has hosted esteemed guests including including Lynn Redgrave, Rita Moreno, Bill Pullman, Robert Forster, Christine Lahti, Angela Bassett, Jane Alexander, Candice Bergen, Joan Allen, Famke Janssen, Sally Kellerman, voice-over actress Nancy (Bart Simpson) Cartwright, producer Lauren Shuler Donner, and Shrek director Vicky Jenson.  The International Jazz Fest is another great way to get your music fix, with a week of concerts featuring hundreds of performers.  Previous performances include James Brown, Al Green, and Smokey Robinson – to name just a few.

While most of the festivals are warm-weather events, they don’t only exist in the summer.  The holiday season brings us back to Park Avenue for the Park Avenue Holiday Open House where you can indulge in performances of holiday music, horse-drawn wagon rides, and hot roasted chestnuts.

I’ve only just brushed the surface of the festival culture in Rochester – we’d love you to come experience it in person!

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