Festival City 

CITY Newspaper's 2017 Festival Preview Guide


It's that splendid time of year when the Flower City transforms into Festival City. The 2017 festival lineup is as diverse as ever and expands beyond Rochester to Livingston, Ontario, and Wayne Counties. The fests offer celebrations of flowers, glorious food, booze, cuddly animals, music, art, pirates, and more.

Below is a quick guide to the season's upcoming celebrations — from the Lilac Festival to the Rochester Fringe Festival. While CITY tries to be as comprehensive as possible, new details and even new festivals are always being announced, so check out this guide on occasion as we update it throughout the summer. And if we missed anything, leave us a comment.

Low Bridge, High Water

Thursday, May 11, through Saturday, May 13

It sounds like the name of a classic rock song, but the Low Bridge, High Water festival is actually an ode to the Erie Canal. This Village of Brockport "signature event" coincides with the annual opening of the Erie Canal for the season. Info: brockportny.org.

Rochester Lilac Festival

Friday, May 12, through Sunday, May 21

Smiles and flower puns bloom as the Lilac Festival kicks off another season on May 12. Aside from showcasing the beauty of Highland Park, this staple features The Mowgli's (May 15), Rusted Root (May 17), and the Zac Brown Tribute Band (May 20). Food, drinks, art, a parade and more are also here. Info: rochesterevents.com/lilac-festival.

Rochester Dachshund Parade

Saturday, May 13

This festival has gone to the dogs, but we mean that in the best way possible. Handcrafted dachshund items, along with dog health info will be for sale during what is arguably one of the most adorable parades around. 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Washington Square Park (181 South Clinton Avenue, downtown Rochester). Info: Dachshundparade.com.

Roc City Rib Fest

Friday, May 26, through Monday, May 29

Rib lovers fear not, this delicious annual event is back for another year. While it was announced in late 2016 that the festival was ending, new ownership has revived the food favorite. Bring your bibs.

Rochester Greek Festival

Late May/Early June

Delicious Greek food plus plenty of dancing has proven to be a winning formula for the annual festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 962 East Avenue. A Greek marketplace and Kiddie Village round out the festival. Info: Rochestergreekfestival.org; 244-3377.

Sulphur Springs Festival

Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3

A celebration of all things Clifton Springs, this two-day event features a parade, live music, food (pie eating contest alert!), games, a dunking booth, and duck derby. Info: sulphurspringsfestival.com.

Fairport Canal Days

Friday, June 2, through Sunday, June 4

The annual ode to Fairport begins with a concert and chicken BBQ, and continues with more than 200 artisans, food vendors, and more live music. Oh, there's also a canal. Info: fairportcanaldays.com.

19th Ward Square Fair

Saturday, June 3

The 19th ward kicks off summer early with its annual neighborhood showcase. A parade, pancake breakfast, games, local vendors, a book sale, and live music are a few highlights of the fair, which takes place in Aberdeen Square (330 Post Avenue, Rochester). Free admission. Info: 19wca.org; 328-6571.

The Fast & the Furriest

Saturday, June 3

Mark your calendar with a paw print, as Rochester Animal Services' annual fundraiser promises to be at its furry best. Included in the fest are 5K and 10K races, pet contests, a food truck rodeo, discounted pet adoptions, raffles, and more. Proceeds help reunite lost pets with their owners, create incentives for adopting shelter pets, and support pet retention. 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Rochester Animal Services, 184 Verona St. Info: VSAS.org.

Show on Monroe

Saturday, June 3

Rochester's Monroe Avenue between the Inner Loop and 490 transforms into a hub for businesses and communities to come together for some old fashioned fun. Buskers, vendors, and more highlight what promises to be a heck of a show. Info: showonmonroe.com.

Finger Lakes Plein Air Festival

Tuesday, June 6, through Sunday, June 11

Art plus the beauty of the Finger Lakes region combine for this sixth edition of the Ontario County festival. As many as 45 artists from across the country will detail the gorgeous region in their artwork. An exhibition and sale of these works will be held on the last day of the festival. Full list of events and locations: fingerlakespleinair.com.

Rochester Real Beer Week

Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 18

Think of a Homer Simpson-guzzling-beer GIF. That's all of us during Beer Week. Aside from events at dozens of area bars, there's a craft beer tasting at the Real Beer Expo on June 10. Details for the week's events: rochesterrealbeer.com.

Adirondack Mountain Club's Outdoor Expo

Saturday, June 10

The 20th annual expo features over 60 workshops for hiking, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, camping, and biking. 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., beach area, Mendon Ponds Park. Info: gvc-adk.org/expo.

Keuka Arts Festival

Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11

Food, wine, music, and of course, art will be featured along the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail, just a few blocks from downtown Penn Yan. This festival runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Free admission. keukaartsfestival.com.

Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival

Saturday, June 17, through Saturday, July 29

A festival that stretches throughout the summer, this is a feast for classical musical lovers. Programs include celebrations of female composers, German masters, and an Independence Day weekend show. Info: fingerlakes-music.org.

Festival on the Green

Friday, June 16, through Sunday, June 18

Honeoye Falls' festival of local music, art, crafts, and family-friendly activities on the Fireman's Field (321 Monroe Street) on Friday, and Harry Allen Park (21 North Main Street) Saturday and Sunday. Also includes a 5K run/walk. Info: festivalonthegreen.us.

Maplewood Rose Festival


Everything is rosy at the Maplewood Rose Garden. The fest features over 300 rose varieties and 5,000 roses in bloom. Aside from the flower power, there's also yoga in the garden, live music, a wine tasting, and more. Info: maplewood.org/rose-festival.

Rochester International Jazz Festival

Friday, June 23, through Saturday, July 1

It's time once again to bust out that air saxophone. Headliners for this year's Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival include Joss Stone, Mavis Staples, Sheryl Crow, and King Crimson. The 16th edition features a massive schedule of 325-plus shows, including 95 free gigs, in 19 venues. Want a little more? CITY will have its Jazz Festival preview guide on stands June 14. Schedule, tickets, and venue info: rochesterjazz.com.

Macedonian Festival

Friday, June 23, through Sunday, June 25

St. Dimitria Macedonian Orthodox Church's annual celebration of Macedonian culture and heritage features music, dancing, children's activities, and food. 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday; noon to 1 a.m. on Saturday; noon to 11 p.m. on Sunday. 235 Telephone Road, West Henrietta. Free admission. macedonianfest.com.

Sterling Renaissance Festival

Saturday, July 1, through Sunday, August 13

Hear ye, hear ye! Step into the past with a diverse look at Renaissance culture. The slate includes a family appreciation event, ale fest, pirate weekend, fairies, fantasy, and a grand finale. Located at 15385 Farden Road, Sterling. Info: sterlingfestival.com

Corn Hill Arts Festival

Saturday, July 8, and Sunday, July 9

Rochester's oldest residential neighborhood is highlighted with arts, vendors, food, music and more. Fitting this year's renewed emphasis on music, the festival will include 25 free performances across various genres, including jazz, funk, R&B, gospel, folk, and more. Featured headliner is Miller and The Other Sinners. Other artists include Lyin' Eyes, an Eagles tribute band, on Saturday, and Todd East's Billy Joel Tribute Show on Sunday. Additionally, there will be a Fairy Houses Tour that displays 65 whimsy-filled homes. No word if there are actual magical creatures residing there. Info: cornhillartsfestival.com.

Rochester Pride 2017

Sunday, July 9, through Sunday, July 16

This year marks the 50th anniversary of "The Summer of Love" movement, and Rochester Pride is replicating that attitude. Pride Week includes a beach party, ROC Pride Games, and the annual Pride Parade. Festival tickets and info available through the Gay Alliance website: gayalliance.org.

Festa Italiana

Friday, July 14, and Saturday, July 15

The Rochester Italian American Community Center's annual Festa Italiana will be a celebration of Italian food, music, and cultural heritage. More details can be found on canandaiguaartfestival.com.

Finger Lakes Wine Festival

Friday, July 14, through Sunday, July 16

You had us at "wine festival." Finger Lakes wines from 80 wineries are featured, along with live music, artisans, culinary classes, and cooking demonstrations. It all goes down at Watkins Glen International Speedway (2790 County Route 16). Info: flwinefest.com.

Canandaigua Lake Music Festival

Friday, July 14, through Sunday, July 23

A tribute to music featuring Lithuanian pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, trio Chalaca, a free family concert at Canandaigua's Wood Library, and more. Info: lakemusicfestival.org.

Native American Dance and Music Festival

Saturday, July 22, and Sunday, July 23

The annual ode to Seneca and Haudenosaunee heritage returns at the Ganondagan Historic Site, 1488 State Route 444, Victor. Info: ganondagan.org.

Joseph Avenue Festival

Saturday, July 29

Last year's festival had more than 5,000 attendees, and organizers are hoping for a similar turnout to celebrate the Joseph Avenue neighborhood. The fest will run from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Info: cityofrochester.gov.

Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show

Saturday, July 29, and Sunday, July 30

The north shore of Canandaigua Lake is gorgeous on its own, and the addition of art, music, and food only amplify that beauty. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Kershaw Park, Lakeshore Drive, Canandaigua. Free admission. Info: lakefrontartshow.com.

Spencerport Canal Days

Saturday, July 29, and Sunday, July 30

A family-oriented festival in the village of Spencerport. Art, crafts, live music, food, wine tastings, a farmer's market, and children's amusement rides are all part of the fun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Free admission. Info: spencerportcanaldays.com.

Waterfront Art Festival

Saturday, July 29, and Sunday, July 30

Held in Webster's North Ponds Park for the second year, the fest will include 120 artists, live music, beer, wine, and cider.10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Info: waterfrontartfestival.com.

Lima Crossroads Blues Festival

Friday, August 4, through Sunday, August 6

You know there's anticipation for a festival when its website includes a countdown clock. The excitement is warranted with three days filled with the blues, a car cruise, food, kids' activities, and a euchre tournament. Proceeds benefit Camp Good Days. Info: limafest.org.

Puerto Rican Festival

Friday, July 28, through Sunday, July 30

The 48th Annual Puerto Rican Festival will take place across three days at the Frontier Field VIP Lot, with performances by headliners Toño Rosario, Tito El Bambino, Andy Montañez, among others. Come for a parade, cultural events, celebrity guests, and more. Info: prfestival.com.

Park Avenue Summer Art Festival

Saturday, August 5, and Sunday, August 6

Park Avenue is shut down, and transformed into a glorious showcase for art, vendors, and food. Lots of great food. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10-5 Sunday. Park Ave. between Alexander St. and Culver Rd. Free. Info: rochesterevents.com/park-ave-festival.

Pageant of Steam

Wednesday, August 9, through Saturday, August 12

The 57th Pageant of Steam chugs along with its showcase of antique vehicles powered by steam. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. 3349 Gehan Road, Canandaigua. Info: pageantofsteam.org.

Avon Rotary Corn Festival

Saturday, August 12

An Avon tradition since 1986, this year's version includes art, crafts, and food. Proceeds benefit numerous area charitable programs. Genesee Street, Village of Avon. Info: avonrotary.org.

New York State Wine Festival

Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13

Formerly known as the Finger Lakes Riesling & Craft Beer Festival, the event has expanded beyond New York State offerings. The super-sized version of the fan favorite fest will once again take place at the New York Wine and Culinary Center (800 South Main Street, Canandaigua) and the Canandaigua City Pier (Lakeshore Drive). Wine and beer sampling will be the highlight. Info: nyswinefestival.com

Little Italy Festival

Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13

In its fourth year, the Little Italy Festival is moving to Downtown Rochester (to the Riverside festival site along Exchange Boulevard). The two-day festival, noon to 11 p.m. both days, will feature music -- headliners are Tre Bella on Saturday and Sal Valentinetti on Sunday -- food and spirits, carnival rides and games, and fireworks on Sunday at the end of the festival. Single day tickets are $8 advance, $10 at the door; two-day passes are $15. For more information, go to littleitalyfest.com.

Flour City Brewers Fest

Friday, August 18

More than 60 New York State breweries as well as wineries, cideries, and food trucks will fill the Rochester Public Market (280 North Union Street) for a celebration of the state's craft beverage boom. Takes place 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and tickets are $40 general admission, $10 for designated drivers. More info can be found at flourcitybrewfest.com.

Arts at the Gardens

Saturday, August 19, and Sunday, August 20

The art-filled fest is back at Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park (151 Charlotte Street, Canandaigua). It features work by more than 100 artists plus a wine and beer garden, live music, food, a sculpture garden, and access to the Sonnenberg Mansion and gardens. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Info: artsatthegardens.com.

New York State Festival of Balloons

Thursday, August 31, through Sunday, September 3

This festival begins with the traditional balloon glow, where dozens of hot air balloons are lit up at dusk. The high-flying fun continues over the weekend. Located at Dansville's Municipal Airport, 176 Franklin Street, Maple Street entrance. Info: nysfob.com.

Turtle Hill Folk Festival

Friday, September 8, through Sunday, September 10

Golden Link Folk Singing Society will host its 46th Annual Turtle Hill Folk Festival at the Rotary Sunshine Campus in Rush. The three-day music festival will feature concerts by Bob Zentz, The Cadleys, Low lily, Stuart Fuchs, and Brother Sun, and there will be workshops and presentations held each day.

Clothesline Arts Festival

Saturday, September 9, and Sunday, September 10

It's the Memorial Art Gallery's popular festival and fundraiser, with works by hundreds of artists, plus workshops, food trucks, and a sidewalk sale. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 ($4 for MAG members); free for children 10 and under. Info: mag.rochester.edu/clothesline.

Rochester Fringe Festival

Thursday, September 14, through Saturday, September 23

Festival season once again concludes with the exciting, odd, and creative pleasures of the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. The lineup will be announced this summer. To be expected: spectacle, art, music, and something for everyone. Look out for CITY's preview guide to the Rochester Fringe Festival, on stands September 6. Info: rochesterfringe.com.

Rochester VegFest

Saturday, September 16

Sponsored by the Rochester Area Vegan Society and Animal Rights Rochester, the first Rochester VegFest will feature food, speakers, films, yoga, and cooking demonstrations all centered around the vegan lifestyle. Held in Martin Luther King Jr. Park (353 Court Street). For more information, visit rocvegfest.org.

Festival of Food

Monday, September 18

Foodlink's annual fundraiser, the Festival of Food features more than 100 restaurants, wineries, breweries, bakeries, and farms from around the region offering food and wine tastings. Takes place Monday, September 18, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the Rochester Public Market (280 North Union Street). General admission tickets are $50; and new this year are VIP tickets for $75, which includes a pre-festival happy hour at Cure and early entrance. A limited number of tickets will be available the day of the event for $60. foodlinkny.org.

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