Mark Your Calendar 

...but use a pencil

As of the printing of this publication, 2020 hasn't unfolded as expected. We hope the health crisis is short-lived and that, when it's all over, Rochester will get back to its routines and showcasing its treasures. Here are some highlights of the area's scheduled attractions. Fingers crossed we get a chance to partake!

Visit the venue's website for the most current information on events.

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Bird of Prey Days
April 24-26
Braddock Bay Park, 199 East Manitou Rd.
This is the 32nd annual celebration of Braddock Bay's specialty, with a kettle of fascinating events, including owl prowls, hawk watches, banding demos, live raptor story times, a wildscaping workshop, and lots of live raptors. [KS]

Mayday! Underground Crafts & Arts Spring Market
April 25
Village Gate Atrium, 274 N Goodman St.
OK, I bet one ogre portrait, a sweater creature, and two felted chestnuts that you will think, say, or hear one or more of the following: "Ooh, how clever!" or "Wow, that's unusual!" or "I have got to have this." [KS]


I Love My Park Day
May 2, 9am-12pm
Here's a big hug for our state's parks, where volunteers can help with trail maintenance, litter pick-up, tree planting, painting, mulching, and more. Participating local parks include Ganondagan, Sonnenberg, Letchworth, and Chimney Bluffs. Bring gloves, water, snacks, and tools if you have them. [KS]

Keuka in Bloom
May 2 & 3, May 30 & 31
Keuka Lake wineries.
Wine pairs with garden daydreams in a tour that's just in time for planting season. Ticket-holders will be treated to herb-flecked foods and receive a unique 4" potted herb and flower from each of the featured wineries. [KS]

Summer Camp & Activities Fair
May 3, 11am-4pm

Eastview Mall, 7979 Pittsford Victor Rd., Victor
Families can get to know more than 60 camps whose specialty is nurturing kids and their fascinations – from piano-noodling pre-schoolers to microscope-peering teenagers. Nature, arts, sports, and more. [KS]

Stompology: Authentic Solo Jazz Dance Weekend
May 8-19
Historic German House, 315 Gregory St.
Groove Juice Swing's big dance weekend turns tapping toes to stomping feet, maybe even leaping into spontaneous acrobatics. The 6-piece and 13-piece Eyal Vilner Big Band leads the action. [KS]

Rochester Lilac Festival
May 8-17
Highland Park, 180 Reservoir Ave.
Just how far will you follow your nose? To the hundreds of varieties Highland Park's fragrant lilacs, or to that ever-hypnotic kettle corn? Perhaps the patchouli-beer infusion at the live stage is more your style. Why choose? Through its 10 days, you can do it all. [KS]

Finger Lakes Celtic Games & Festival
May 16, 9:30am-6pm
Finger Lakes Celtic Society, 4925 Collett Rd., Shortsville
Chase the distant sound of bagpipes to an immersive celebration of Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and Cornish heritage full of live music and dance, food, artisan vendors, and the Highland Heavy Games. [KS]

HERstory/Our Story
May 16 & 17
Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan, 7000 County Rd 41, Victor
This weekend of art and music celebrates Haudenosaunee women and the women's suffrage movement, featuring an intriguing event called "Table Talk & Tea: Women Voted Here Before Columbus." [KS]

May 22, June 26, July 24, August 14, September 11
Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St. Paul St.
The zoo's popular happy hour let adults (ages 21 & older) explore the zoo without stepping on any kids. A portion of ticket proceeds will go toward elephant conservation. [KS]

Geneva Music Festival
May 22-June 14
Various venues, Geneva & Skaneateles
GMF's 10th season line-up celebrates Beethoven's 250th birthday and more; discover "forgotten masterpieces" and explorations of German Classism, Argentinian tango, jazz, and bluegrass. [KS]

Tree Peony Festival of Flowers
May 23 & 24, 29 & 30, June 6 & 7
A stunning collection of Japanese & American tree peonies bursts with spring in Linwood Gardens' annual opening of their private estate. [KS]

Flower City Comic Con
May 30 & 31
Total Sports Experience, 880 Elmgrove Rd
At last, an event where you don't have to check your prosthetic tentacles at the door. And no one gives you the side-eye if they're not prosthetic. Freaks, geeks, and pop culture galore. [KS]


Rochester Cocktail Revival
June 1-7
Various bars & venues in Rochester
Bartender, could you please pour a potent mix of Rochester's lively cocktail scene with art, science, lectures, food, and music – and top it off with a Bar Room Battle Royale? It's for Gilda's Club. [KS]

Midtown Eats
June-August, 1st & 3rd Wednesdays & Thursdays
Midtown Commons, Elm St.
Sample our city's fabulous restaurant scene in a lively downtown pop-up plaza, a perfect place to nosh and sip after work. [KS]

The Nitrate Picture Show
June 4-7
George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave.
The dazzle of nitrate's glowing shimmer on the silver screen, the danger of its combustible composition, and the work to preserve it draw an international audience to a weekend of films, tours, and workshops. [KS]

Fairport Canal Days
June 5-7
Village of Fairport
Fairport celebrates its canal town heritage with a juried art show, food festival, and live music showcase. But it's the duck race that really gets ya. [KS]

Rochester Twilight Criterium
June 6
Downtown Rochester
World-class cyclists race through a downtown course with head-spinning speed and agility, while spectators can enjoy the food truck rodeo, beer garden, and lots of kids' events. [KS]

June 6-July 12
Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 137 East Ave.
True to its name, this "international small art phenomenon" seems to grow exponentially. I have a feeling this year will be really, really big. 6x6 artworks are being accepted through mail, postmarked by April 10. [KS]

Dances at MuCCC 2020
June 9-20
Multi-use Community Cultural Center, 142 Atlantic Ave.
Now in its 7th season, this celebration of movement features performances, workshops, and master classes that highlight the many facets of contemporary dance. [KS]

Rochester International Film Festival
June 11-13
Dryden Theatre, 900 East Ave.
Once known as Movies on a Shoestring, this annual short film festival is one of the longest-running in the world, featuring dozens of shorts of varying genres – all for free. [KS]

Rochester Real Beer Expo
June 13
Gregory St.
The South Wedge puts on a street party that showcases more than 120 craft beers, great local dishes to pair them with, and lots of live music. [KS]

23rd Annual Outdoor Expo
June 13
Mendon Ponds Park, 95 Douglas Rd
The Genesee Valley Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club hosts a day of outdoor experiences both on land and water – with skills workshops, a petting zoo, and music by the Golden Link Folk Singing Society. [KS]

Party in the Park
Thursdays, June 18-August 13
MLK Jr. Park, 1 Manhattan Square.
Now in its 23rd year, this downtown mainstay brings national acts and local openers, supported by lots of food trucks, a craft beer garden, the recently added Bazaar in the Park. [KS]

Rochester International Jazz Festival
June 19-27
Various East End venues.
This year marks the 19th installment of this nine-day music extravaganza, featuring everything from straight-ahead jazz and avant-garde European acts to Americana, jam-friendly bands, and popular Rochester musicians. [KS]

Record Store Day
June 20 (Originally April 18)
Various local record stores.
Some of us don't need any nudges to spend a day hanging out at local record shops, but it doesn't hurt to have a national organized effort behind it. Participating stores will offer limited RSD-only releases, live music, food trucks, and like-minded music nerds. [KS]


Independence Day
July 4.
Genesee Country & Village Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Rd., Mumford.
This special celebration welcomes new citizens with an oath-taking ceremony, an old-timey Grand Parade and lots of bunting. [KS]

Hill Cumorah Pageant
July 9-11, 14-18
Hill Cumorah, 603 State Rt. 21, Palmyra
This is the last year to experience the grand production of the Church of Latter Day Saints' origin story, featuring hundreds of actors, period costumes, and complicated choreography. Equally impressive is the skilled conducting of traffic in and out of the event. Epic and efficient. [KS]

Corn Hill Arts Festival
July 11 & 12
Corn Hill neighborhood, S. Plymouth Ave. & S. Fitzhugh St.
The historic Corn Hill neighborhood lines its streets with artists, artisans, live music, and food vendors in this 52nd edition of one of Rochester's favorite arts festivals. [KS]

ROC Pride 20/20
July 11-19
Various locations
A week of LGBTQ+ shows, art, and workshops kicks off with Rochester's most colorful and spirited parade. That same night, Rochester Gay Men's Chorus presents its a Gala performance at Hochstein. [KS]

Erie Canal Bike Tour
July 12-19
Buffalo to Albany.
Just get a bike, and call it Sal; 40-60 miles on the Erie Canal ... or you can be a neighbor, and you can be a pal: wave to riders navigating on the Erie Canal. [KS]

Jewish Film Festival
July 12-19
Dryden Theatre (900 East Ave), Little Theatre (240 East Ave) & Jewish Community Center (1200 Edgewood Ave)
JCC's annual film festival explores themes in Jewish identity that never cease to fascinate, provoke thought and empathy, and sneak in a few laughs. [KS]

Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance
July 16-19
2150 Trumansburg Rd., Trumansburg.
The Grassroots Festival is a family-friendly four days of bluegrass, reggae, Americana, Afro-beat, blues, soul, gospel, dance and so much more. Stalwart natives Donna the Buffalo has hosted this event since its 1990 beginning. [KS]

July 17-26
Various venues, Canandaigua
A 6-date tour of big names in classical music, with pre-concert chats, a free children's concert, and ChamberFest's signature event, Classical Blue Jeans at Casa Larga. [KS]

Waterfront Art Festival
July 25 & 26
North Ponds Park, 750 Hold Rd., Webster
You might remember this fine arts festival from the 41 years it spent on Canandaigua Lake. It has since nestled into North Ponds as a nice park stroll filled with artist tents, demonstrations, live music, and food court. [KS]

Indigenous Music & Arts Festival
July 27 & 28
Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan, 7000 County Rd 41, Victor
This summertime festival celebrates the best of regional Native American culture, with offerings like a Hodinöhsö:ni' art show, dance performances, and storytelling, as well as special musical guest performances. Free with Ganondagan membership; one- and two-day passes available. [DJK]

Monroe County Fair
July 31-August 2.
Monroe County Fairgrounds, 6565 E River Rd., Rush.
Spend a day out in the county, where you'll find animal shows, a tractor pull, arts & crafts, food, and family activities, and perhaps yourself — as the next winner in the annual talent show. [KS]


Park Avenue Summer Art Fest
Aug 1 & 2
Park Avenue, Culver Rd. to Alexander St.
A mile of Park Ave transforms into a lively pedestrian mall lined with artists, food stands, and multiple stages of live music and performances. [KS]

Brockport Arts Festival
Aug 8 & 9
This free, two-day event features art and food vendors, live music and other performances, a tented Wine Garden, and even a Vintage Car Cruise-in. [DJK]

Puerto Rican Festival
August 13-15
Frontier Field, 1 Morrie Silver Way.
The Puerto Rican Festival is the longest-running ethnic festival in Rochester, a lively celebration with food, family events, dance performances, and live music. [KS]

Flour City Brewers Fest
Aug 14
Rochester Public Market, 280 N Union St
This festival has everything a beer lover could want: seemingly endless tastings of New York State craft beers from area breweries, food trucks, and live music performances, all located at that beloved summertime location, the Public Market. [DJK]

Clarissa Street Reunion
August 15
Clarissa St., Rochester
The Clarissa Street Reunion ushers in its 25th year, celebrating the rich, multicultural history of the Clarissa Street neighborhood. This literal reunion of community members past and present includes live music, food, guided walking tours, an archival audiovisual exhibition, and more. [DJK]

Fiddlers' Fair
August 15 & 16.
Genesee Country & Village Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Rd., Mumford.
Rain or shine, this weekend will showcase more than 100 musicians who take the many facets of fiddlin' very seriously. [KS]

Arts at the Gardens
August 15 & 16
Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion, 151 Charlotte St., Canandaigua
A juried fine arts exhibit and sale weaves into Sonnenberg's stately grounds. Admission includes tours of the gardens and mansion, food, wine, and live music. [KS]

New York State Fair
August 21-September 7.
New York State Fairgrounds, 581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse.
New York is on proud display, with lots to explore in agriculture, industry, and innovation. And the food? Fried and on-a-stick, please! Take the train direct for the ultimate experience. [KS]

Rochester Black Pride
August 26-30
Various locations.
This 5th anniversary edition promises to "Make it Fashion," starring queer black artistry rooted in the ballroom scene that's always ahead of its time. [KS]

ROC Summer Soul Music Festival
August 28 & 29
Frontier Field, 1 Morrie Silver Way
This party is for old- and new-schoolers alike, with lots of classic soul, rhythm & blues, and hip-hop, plus new acts that keep it fresh. [KS]

Steve Martin & Martin Short, Paul Shaffer, The Steep Canyon Rangers
August 29
CMAC, 3355 Marvin Sands Dr., Canandaigua.
Quirks, quips, and quibbles comprise the comedic chemistry of these two long-time pals. And Paul Shaffer? Classic. [KS]


Antiquarian Book Fair
September 12
Main Street Armory, 900 East Main St.
Find treasures among books, old maps, vintage posters, postcards, memorabilia, and various other collectible ephemera, all from small booksellers from throughout the state. [KS]

Clothesline Arts Festival
September 12 & 13
Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave
Stroll the museum grounds and explore fine arts and craft booths, meet the artists, and learn the story behind the special pieces you find. [KS]

Festival of Food
September 14
Rochester Public Market, 280 N Union St.
Sample from more than 100 local restaurants, wineries, and more to benefit Foodlink's mission to end hunger. [KS]

Fall Foliage by Trolley
Sundays, September 15- October 27
New York Museum of Transportation, 6393 East River Rd., Rush
Leaf-peeping on the museum's 90-year old electric trolley car takes scenic Sunday excursions to the next level. [KS]

Rochester Fringe Festival
September 15-26
Various city venues.
The Fringe has become the fabric of our rich festival scene, spanning the arts and inspiring more to join in the action each year. [KS]

Rochester Marathon
September 20
Starting at Maplewood Park and finishing at Frontier Field, the route takes athletes & cheering spectators through some of our city's best historical and natural features. [KS]

11th Annual Artist Row Juried Art Show
September 20
Rochester Public Market, 280 N Union St.
More than 200 local artists present their works in this juried show lively market atmosphere, complete with live music, and yes – food trucks. [KS]

Naples Grape Festival
September 26 & 27
Main St, Naples
Do you prefer your homemade grape pie with a pastry top or crumb? And do you like your slushies made with Riesling, or a rosé & fruit-purée blend? These are some of the choices you'll be facing at this quintessential Finger Lakes event. [KS]


Agricultural Fair
October 3 & 4
Genesee Country & Village Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Rd., Mumford.
A traditional county fair with 19th-century flair: Cast Iron Chef Competition, Mayor's Cup Base Ball Championship, a museum of oddities, merchant stands, livestock shows, and family activities celebrating the local harvest. [KS]

ImageOut Film Festival
October 8-18
Dryden Theatre (900 East Ave) & Little Theatre (240 East Eve)
Rochester's longstanding LGBTQ film festival is a mammoth achievement in film curation and exhibition, extending beyond the screen with ImageOut Art Exhibit at Gallery Q and ImageOutWrite literary magazine. [KS]

Fashion Week Rochester
October 12-17
Various venues
Local designers, artists, and boutiques will get the flashbulb treatment along the runway, all in the name of raising support and awareness to The Center for Youth's homeless programs. [KS]

Gateways Music Festival
October 13-17
Various venues.
Now an annual festival in the fall, Gateways brings together black classical musicians in a series of concerts and other events such as panel discussions and film screenings, all designed to reflect and promote the diversity of the classical music scene. [DJK]

Accessible Trick-or-Treat
Date TBA
Center for Disability Rights, 497 State St.
CDR transforms its office into a neighborhood where kids with and without disabilities can go door-to-door in an open, safe, and fun environment. Early admission is available for a low-sensory experience. [KS]

2nd Annual Stephen King's Dollar Babies
October 28 & 29
Dryden Theatre, 900 East Ave
Since 1983, author Stephen King has been licensing certain short stories to budding filmmakers for $1. The resulting short films are full of heart. Submissions are being accepted for review through April 30. [KS]


Rochester Jewish Book Festival
November 3-13
Jewish Community Center, 1200 Edgewood Ave.
Founded in 1992, the festival highlights literature by Jewish authors, as well as books that speak to Jewish history, culture, and community. Presented by the JCC of Greater Rochester, with support from the Jewish Book Council. [DJK]

High Falls Women's Film Festival
November 5-9
Little Theatre, 240 East Ave
High Falls spotlights the work of women in filmmaking, featuring narrative, documentary and shorts as well as post-screening discussions, coffee chats, and an award presentation. [KS]

Holiday Bazaar
November 20-22
Rochester Museum and Science Center, 657 East Ave
RMSC's Holiday Bazaar is destination holiday shopping for that unique, quality handmade gift – especially when you find it at the feet of Murray the Mastodon. [KS]

The Nutcracker
November 25, 27, 28, & 29
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs St.
The RPO and Rochester City Ballet pair together to perform Tchaikovsky's enduring ode to holiday magic, and it never fails to enchant. [KS]


ROC Holiday Village
December 4-6, 11-13, 17-20, 26 & 27
MLK Jr. Park, 1 Manhattan Square.
The city of Rochester has revived the downtown holiday scene we had been craving since our last goodbye to Santa at Magic Mountain. This new tradition features outdoor shopping, ice skating, hot chocolate, time with Santa, and lots more. [KS]

Holiday Open House
December 20.
Genesee Country & Village Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Rd., Mumford.The halls will be decked and the streets will be dressed for a day of old-fashioned glad tidings. Surely someone will bring out the figgy pudding. [KS]

Our parks are natural beauties, but they need us to keep them tidy. And who doesn't like a day in the park? Strap on the boots for these seasonal scrub-downs. Most clean-ups have supplies, but be sure to pack gloves and water. Here are some clean-ups:

Seneca Park Zoo Community Clean-Ups
April 18: Maplewood Park
May 16: Turning Point Park
June 27: Durand Eastman Beach
August 1: Cobb's Hill Park
September 26: Seth Green Island
October 3: Maplewood Park

Monroe County's Pick Up the Parks
April 19
Ellison Park, Greece Canal Park, Highland Park, Mendon Ponds Park, Powder Mills Park, and Webster Park.

Earth Day El Camino Clean-up
April 22, 3-6pm
Conkey Corner Park, 92 Conkey Ave

Rochester Clean Sweep

In This Guide...

  • Shelf-aware

    A peek into Rochester's literary scene
    Rochester's got many organizations and literary centers that support its crowd of authors, poets, and lit-loving audiences.

  • Exhibit A+

    A survey of Rochester's museums, galleries, art studios, and public art
    Rochester is regularly called a "city of the arts" by politicians and cultural movers and shakers alike.

  • A renters' rights run-down

    Some recent, high-profile cases of negligent landlords, along with an explosion of new high-end apartment complexes with equally high-end rents, have brought issues of housing and renters rights to the fore.

  • A guide for all seasons

    You might think you know all there is to know about your hometown, but you can live in a place your entire life and learn something new about it every day. That's what CITY's Annual Manual is all about.

  • From ale to weisse, Rochester brews it

    The Flower City loves beer and there's no shortage of fresh, local brews.

  • For the kids

    Family-friendly options in Rochester
    If there is one constant theme to greater Rochester, it's that the area is a great place to raise kids.

  • Take me to your leader

    Greater Rochester saw a lot of changes in its political scene in the last year.

  • Moving the needle

    As the third-largest city in New York, Rochester has a rich local media scene, with a daily newspaper, a feisty alternative news weekly, three network television news affiliates, and dozens of radio stations.

  • The sites for sounds

    A curated guide to essential local concert venues
    Location is everything when it comes to seeing music performed live.

  • Welcome to the neighborhood(s)

    When we talk about "Rochester," we're not just talking about the city.

  • Dive into the nightlife

    As the old Willie Nelson song goes, "The nightlife ain't no life, but it's my life."

  • Susan B.'s Big Year

    Rochester has grand plans to celebrate its favorite daughter — Susan B. Anthony — and her accomplishments throughout 2020, a year that marks a trifecta of important anniversaries.

  • House party

    Rochester's off-off-really-off-Broadway performance venues
    For a city of Rochester's population size and general distance from the Great White Way, there's an impressive amount of talent and options for theatre lovers.

  • Weed in the Flower City

    Let's make one thing clear off the bat: Recreational cannabis was not yet legal in New York as of this guide's publishing.

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