Festival Preview Guide 2018 

The winter gear is stored away for another terrible time, and even the spring attire is banished back to the depths of the closet. It's now time to bust out the festival hats — Rochester's top season is upon us.

Of course, part of what makes this such a fun time of year is that festival season can't be contained to just Rochester. There's great food, drinks, and outdoor activities across Monroe County as well as in parts of Livingston and Ontario.

So, grab yourself a tall beverage and take a look at our Festivals Preview Guide to the fest time of the year. More details and new festivals are always being announced, so keep up with an updated version of this online guide online.

Low Bridge, High Water

Thursday, May 10, through Saturday, May 12

Brockport's signature event is our gateway to Festival Season 2018. Low Bridge, High Water has something for everyone: Friday features a craft beer festival, while Saturday includes live music, kayak rentals, rock painting, and more. At various downtown Brockport locations. Info: brockportny.org

Rochester Lilac Festival

Friday, May 11, through Sunday, May 20

Fun fact: The scientific name for a common lilac is Syringa vulgaris. This is impossibly cool, and kind of sounds like a Queens of the Stone Age album. If you want to go ahead and call this the Syringa vulgaris Festival, you have our support. The Highland Park festival once again features art, live music, food, drinks, flowers, and live music. This year's headliners include The Devil Makes Three (May 11), Al Copley Band (May 12), The Record Company (May 14), The Wood Brothers (May 18), and Uprooted, featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root (May 17). Info: rochesterevents.com/lilac-festival

Rochester Dachshund Parade

Saturday, May 12

From 10 a.m. to noon, Washington Square Park will be transformed into a glorious, real-life version of "Isle of Dogs." Adorable dogs, plus information on keeping pets healthy are included. Clearly, this will be a doggone good time. Info: dachshundparade.com

Roc City Rib Fest

Friday, May 25, through Monday, May 28

We're going to need a bigger bib. Ribs and music are the main draw for the 11th edition of Rochester's rib fest. This year's location: The Barnard Fireman's Field in Greece. Your blood will be 80-percent barbecue by the end of this fest. Info: roccityribfest.com

Geneva Music Festival

Thursday, May 31, through Sunday, June 17

This season's theme is "18 Days of Music and Spoken Word," and will feature a celebration of African-American culture, plus popular artists such as violinist Jinjoo Cho, pianist Esther Park, violist Eric Wong, and the Cavani Quartet. Concerts take place in venues around Geneva, Skaneateles, Canandaigua, and Auburn. Info: genevamusicfestival.com

Rochester Greek Festival

Late May/Early June (Dates TBA)

The celebration of Greek culture will returns with gyros, spanakopita, and other Greek culinary delights. Dancing, drinks, and activities for kids also included. Once again held at the Greek Orthodox Church (962 East Avenue). Dates had not yet been announced by publication. Info: rochestergreekfestival.org

Sulphur Springs Festival

Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2

Two days of pure Clifton Springs fun featuring some festival classics, including a parade, live music, games, and plenty of food. This ode to a fine Ontario County village takes place on Main Street. Info: sulphurspringsfestival.com

Fairport Canal Days

Friday, June 1, through Sunday, June 3

Fairport's summer celebration on the Erie Canal turns 42 this year. Highlights include Canal Nights (music, wine, beer, etc.), a chicken BBQ, and a duck race (rubber duckies duking it out on the canal, like a Pixar version of "Mad Max"). Info: fairportcanaldays.com

19th Ward Square Fair

Saturday, June 2

This celebration of the 19th Ward is returning in June. A parade, games, local vendors, and live music are all part of the fair, which takes place in Aberdeen Square (330 Post Avenue). Free admission. Info: 19wca.org

The Fast & the Furriest

Saturday, June 2

You can never be 2 fast or 2 furry for Verona Street's annual race and festival to support pets. Once again, there will be 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. to 2 p.m.; Rochester Animal Services (184 Verona Street). Info: vsas.org

Finger Lakes Plein Air Festival

Tuesday, June 5, through Sunday, June 10

Canandaigua, along with the entire Finger Lakes region, is a place loaded with beauty. This festival aims to use art to shine a light on these majestic landscapes. Dozens of artists from across the country will paint pictures of various Finger Lakes spots, and the festival culminates with a public exhibition and sale June 10. Takes place throughout Canandaigua, with events at Sonnenberg Gardens (151 Charlotte Street, Canandaigua) June 9 and 10. Info: fingerlakespleinair.com

Frederick Douglass Freedom Festival

Friday, June 8, through Sunday, June 10

The tribute to Frederick Douglass beings with a trip to Central New York. Friday features an abolitionist tour to the Harriet Tubman home in Auburn, followed by a Wreathing Ceremony at the Frederick Douglass memorial in Highland Park on Saturday. A homage motorcade will proceed from Favor Street Circle to Douglass's gravesite on Sunday. Info: cityofrochester.gov/frederickdouglass200

Rochester Real Beer Expo

Saturday, June 9

Gregory Street in the South Wedge will once again transform into a gloriously sudsy haven for beer fans. This street party includes more than 120 craft beers, plus ciders, poutine, pizza, sausage, cigars, and more. The expo is the tentpole event for the Real Beer Week; more events to be announced. Info: rochesterrealbeer.com

Adirondack Mountain Club's Outdoor Expo

Saturday, June 9

The 21st annual expo will feature more than 60 workshops for hiking, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, camping, biking, and more. 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; beach area, Mendon Ponds Park. Info (including some handy camp cooking tips): gvc-adk.org/expo

Keuka Arts Festival

Saturday, June 9, and Sunday, June 10

Art is obviously a focus, but so is family. The festival — only a few blocks from downtown Penn Yan — features a wholesome weekend of food, jazz, blues, and yes, art. Runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., both days. Free admission. Info: keukaartsfestival.com

Maplewood Rose Festival

Saturday, June 9

Horticulture and heritage collide at the Maplewood Rose Garden (Maplewood Drive and Seneca Parkway). The rosy affair features more than 5,000 roses in bloom, and more than 300 varieties of the signature flower. Info: maplewood.org/rose-festival

Dances at MuCCC

Wednesday, June 13, through Saturday, June 23

Dances at MuCCC will feature 10 contemporary dance performances plus classes and workshops. Hanlon Dance, BIODANCE, and choreographers James Hansen, Heather Roffe, and Melanie Aceto, and more, will perform during the festival. MuCCC is located at 142 Atlantic Avenue. Info: muccc.org

Festival on the Green

Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17

Organized by village residents, Honeoye Falls-Lima students, and business owners, this celebration of artisans, crafters, and food takes place 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 and walk. Info: festivalonthegreen.us

Little Italy Festival

Saturday, June 16

This year marks 150 years of Italian-American History in the City of Rochester. The cultural festival will feature food, music, and a soccer match between Toronto FC II and Indianapolis Eleven. Located at Capelli Sport Stadium (460 Oak Street). Info: littleitalyroc.com

Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival

Saturday, June 16, through Saturday, July 28

World-class chamber music will be performed at various venues throughout the summer. Works by Beethoven, Bernstein, Piazzola, and Mozart are on this year's schedule. Playing the air violin in anticipation is acceptable. Info: fingerlakes-music.org

Rochester International Jazz Festival

Friday, June 22, through Saturday, June 30

That time of year when the East End is transformed into a perfect amalgamation of music, drinks, and food trucks. Headliners for this year's Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival include Seal, Lake Street Dive, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Alison Krauss, Boz Scaggs, and Jill Scott. The 17th edition features a schedule of 300-plus shows, including 97 free events. Jazzed for the fest and want more? CITY will have its XRIJF preview guide on stands Wednesday, June 13. Schedule, tickets, and venue info: rochesterjazz.com

Macedonian Festival

Friday, June 22, through Sunday, June 24

St. Dimitria Macedonian Orthodox Church's annual celebration of Macedonian culture and heritage features music, dancing, and more. Bonus: Toronto's Grupa Rumba is new this year, and fan favorite dance group Ensemble Makedonka returns. 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; donations are accepted. Info: macedonianfest.com

Sterling Renaissance Festival

Saturday and Sundays, July 7 through August 19

Raise your glass (or flagon of ale) for this recreation of Renaissance culture. The festival includes themed weekends, jousting, turkey legs (not turkey legs that joust, sadly), Queen's tea, and more. The realm is located at 15385 Farden Road, Sterling. Info: sterlingfestival.com

Rochester International Jewish Film Festival

Sunday, July 8, through Monday, July 16

While this year's program hasn't yet been announced, the Rochester International Jewish Film Festival this summer will continue its mission of screening quality contemporary films telling the stories of Jewish people from around the world. Taking place at the JCC Rochester, Dryden Theatre, and The Little. Info: rjff.org.

Corn Hill Arts Festival

Saturday, July 14, and Sunday, July 15

This is the 50th anniversary for the Corn Hill Arts Festival (hold for applause). While the milestone is celebrated with fresh branding, the classic staples remain intact: art, music, food, beer, wine, kids' activities, and themed events that tie into the festival's beginnings. Info: cornhillartsfestival.com

Finger Lakes Wine Festival

Friday, July 13, through Sunday, July 15

It's pretty straightforward: Wine and cheese, that's what you're getting here. Finger Lakes wines from 90 wineries are featured, along with live music, artisans, culinary classes, and cooking demonstrations. The grape goodness is happening at Watkins Glen International Speedway (2790 County Route 16). Info: flwinefest.com

Rochester Pride 2018

Saturday, July 14, through Sunday, July 22

This year's theme, "Stand Out: [Live] in Color," encourages attendees to be true to themselves, find inspiration from icons in the LGBTQ community, and to utilize every color of the spectrum to highlight individuality and diversity. Colorful and super fun events include the annual parade, Gayme Night, Sassy in the South Wedge, and more. Info: rocpridefest.org

Canandaigua Art and Music Festival

Friday, July 20, through Sunday, July 22

Art, music, and food are solid ingredients for a fun weekend, and they're all in Canandaigua for this one. Centering around 115 South Main Street, Canandaigua. Info: canandaiguaartfestival.com

Canandaigua Lake Music Festival

Friday, July 20, through Sunday, July 29

The 14th edition of this classical music celebration features eight different performances plus a free children's concert. Info: lakemusicfestival.org

ROC The Taste

Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28

A new festival taking place at Parcel 5 downtown. As the name alludes, there will be a variety of food from local vendors and restaurants, along with a lineup of music performances. The theme? Warrior Weekend. Sponsors and vendors will be raising money for Wilmot Cancer Center and Honor Flight Rochester. Info: rocthetaste.com

Native American Dance and Music Festival

Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29

The 27th celebration of Seneca and Haudenosaunee heritage returns to the Ganondagan Historic Site (1488 State Route 444, Victor). Actor and vocalist Gary Farmer Cayuga, Wolf Clan, and his blues band, "The Troublemakers," will perform both festival days. There will also be daily performances by the Allegany River Dancers; traditional artisan demonstrators; Haudenosaunee storytelling; family programming at the Family Discovery Tent; vendors at the popular Native American Arts Market; tours of the Bark Longhouse replica and the Seneca Art & Culture Center; guided trail walks; food; and raffles. Info: ganondagan.org

Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show

Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29

The scenic north shore of Canandaigua Lake hosts this event with top-notch art, food, and more. The 45th celebration takes place at Kershaw Park, Lakeshore Drive in Canandaigua. Free admission. Info: lakefrontartshow.com

Spencerport Canal Days

Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29

There's something perfectly quaint about a carriage ride through the streets of Spencerport. Aside from this charming tour, the canal days will host tasting areas with fresh produce and honey plus a car show. Other highlights: Live entertainment, food, and a visit to The Depot Museum. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., each day. Free admission. Info: spencerportcanaldays.com

Waterfront Art Festival

Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29

As you may be able to detect from the name, art is the headliner. Held in Webster's North Ponds Park for the third year (after 41 years in Canandaigua), the fest will include hundreds of 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 3, through Sunday, August 5

A lively, bluesy weekend is on tap in Livingston County. Rochester favorites Hanna and The Blue Hearts and Steve Grills and the Roadmasters will hit the Crossroads stage. Proceeds benefit Camp Good Days. Info: limafest.org

Park Avenue Summer Art Festival

Saturday, August 4, and Sunday, August 5

Creative crafts, artwork, food trucks and more takeover Rochester's Park Avenue for the first weekend in August. More than 350 artists, exhibitors, and craftspeople will set up shop on the nearly 1.5-mile stretch. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday; 10 to 5 on Sunday. Park Ave. between Alexander Street and Culver Road. Free. Info: rochesterevents.com/park-ave-festival

Pageant of Steam

Wednesday, August 8, through Saturday, August 11

The Pageant of Steam celebrates its 58th year in 2018. The showcase of antique vehicles powered by steam also features tractor pulls, sawmill demonstrations, chainsaw carvings auction, food, and more. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. 3349 Gehan Road, Canandaigua. Info: pageantofsteam.org

Avon Rotary Corn Festival

Saturday, August 11

Finally it's time to talk about the season's corniest festival. (We're also happy that we're the first ones to use that pun for Avon's annual summer festival.) There will be arts and crafts, three stages with live entertainment, games, and of course, a corn eating contest. Genesee Street, Village of Avon. Free. Info: avonrotary.org

New York State Wine Festival

August (Dates TBA)

Hanging out on Canandaigua Lake with plenty of Finger Lakes wineries and food trucks is basically living the dream. Info: facebook.com/NYSWineFestival

Flour City Brewers Fest

Friday, August 17

The festival in the Rochester Public Market (280 North Union Street) brings together New York State breweries, food, and music. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Info: flourcitybrewersfest.com

Arts at the Gardens

Saturday, August 18, and Sunday, August 19

Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park (151 Charlotte Street, Canandaigua) is not just historic, it's gorgeous. Arts at the Gardens takes advantage of its lovely host, and its August date. It features work by more than 100 artists plus a wine and beer garden, live music, food, a sculpture garden, and more. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Info: artsatthegardens.com

Fairport Music Festival

Friday, August 24, and Saturday, August 25

There isn't much better than a solid, rockin' music festival -- except one that's raised more than $1 million for a children's hospital. The Fairport Music Festival, which has grown into featuring 30 bands across two nights, has donated more than $1.3 million to Golisano Children's Hospital (close to $204,000 in 2017 alone). The 2018 music lineup hasn't yet been announced, but keep up to date at fairportmusicfestival.com.

New York State Festival of Balloons

Thursday, August 30, through Monday, September 3

Personal note: One of the coolest summer jobs I had as a young adult was as a hot air balloon chaser. While the riders were lifted to the clouds, my job would be to communicate with them and try to track their landing spot. I'd drive there, and help pack up the balloon. My conclusion: Hot-air balloons are the best. This Dansville festival features a sky full of beautiful balloons. Info: nysfob.com

Turtle Hill Folk Festival

Friday, September 7, through Sunday, September 9

A fest for folk lovers, Turtle Hill will feature evening concerts by Pepper & Sassafras, Jamcrackers, Christine Lavin, Reggie Harris & Scott Ainslie, and Bruce Molsky with special guest Allison de Groot. Located at the Rotary Sunshine Campus (809 Five Points Road), in Rush. Info: goldenlink.org

Clothesline Arts Festival

Saturday, September 8, and Sunday, September 9

Clothesline is one of Rochester's largest and longest-running fine art and crafts festival, and it continues to evolve. The experience goes beyond the art — there's all-day live entertainment, food vendors, family activities, and attendees can check out galleries in the museum.10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday; 10 a.m. to 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

Wednesday, September 12, through Saturday, September 22

Things are getting extra fringy this year — the September staple expands to 11 days of creative, mind-blowing performances, musical acts, comedy, and basically every form of entertainment you can imagine. Look out for CITY's preview guide to the Rochester Fringe Festival, on stands Wednesday, September 5. Info: rochesterfringe.com

North Winton Village Festival of the Arts

Saturday, September 15

Music, food, and, of course, art will fill the North Winton neighborhood as festival season reaches its conclusion. The community fest also includes face painting, games, a bounce house, and more. Info: northwinton.org

Festival of Food

Monday, September 17

There's no official contest, but this is a contender for best festival name. It's simple, yet gives the people what they want. Includes tastings from more than 100 local restaurants, wineries, and breweries. All proceeds benefit Foodlink. Rochester Public Market (280 North Union Street); 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Info: foodlinkny.org

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