Around Rochester: Park Ave Fest

By: Stefanie

On Saturday, August 4th, I headed to one of the most popular Rochester neighborhoods – Park Avenue – for their annual festival.  Now, if you haven’t noticed yet or heard, but Rochester has a lot festivals.  I mean A LOT.  It is safe to say that there is at least one festival – if not 2 or 3 – going on each weekend between May and October.  The 3 that are absolute must-sees in my book are the Lilac Festival in May, the Corn Hill Arts Festival in July and the Park Ave Fest which is always held the first weekend in August.

It was again another picture perfect day and warm – in the mid 80s.  Last year, it was in the mid-90s, so I, and most festival goers and certainly the vendors, were very grateful for the day’s weather. 

Park Ave Fest differs from the Corn Hill Arts Festival I last wrote about in a couple of ways.  It has less vendors (though still a mere 300!) and it tends to be a bit more festive – with many Park Ave residents (the neighborhood is a popular choice to live amongst twenty- and thirty-somethings) hosting house parties in their front yards and even in the street of entire blocks (e.g. Vassar Street).

The festival started at 10 a.m., but even when I arrived at 10:30, parking was difficult to find.  I couldn’t believe it was already packed that early.  A stroll down Park Ave (15 blocks worth!) allowed for a good look at the goods to buy, food to induldge in, and bands to listen to and watch.

If the food vendors didn’t have anything to suit one’s tastes, all the cafes lining the Avenue – Cibon, Jines, Jack Laveres Restaurant, and Hogan’s Hideaway to name a few – were open for business and most had outdoor seating – always ideal for people-watching.

At 3 o’clock, I headed to the parking area of a neighborhood bar, Prepps, to watch a band.  A tent was set up complete with cocktail tables and I settled in to watch a free concert of terrific late 80s and early 90s "hair band" cover songs.

After the show, I walked to a friend’s house for an outdoor gathering.  Even though the festival officially ends at 6 p.m., the area was still lively well into the evening.  All in all, a day very well spent outdoors enjoying the summer day.  I highly recommend checking this festival out next year – I certainly will be coming back!

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