Our picks for Free at the Fringe 

There are more than 170 free performances and events during this year's First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. So if you're looking for a night on the Fringe without stretching your wallet, there's likely a program out there for you.

To search through all of the free programs, we suggest using the "Find a Show" function at rochesterfringe.com, and refining your search with the "Only Free Shows" option. But if you're crunched for time, here are seven free shows at the Fringe we recommend.

STREB in SEA (Singular Extreme Actions)

Three stages, a live DJ and "Extreme Action Heroes" come together to create stomach-dropping performances with flips and falls that will make audiences gasp. Each half-hour production is packed with intense athleticism, choreographed by world-renowned performer (and former Rochesterian) Elizabeth Streb. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of STREB, the show will test the human body's strength across three stages on Parcel 5.

STREB will perform as part of the Friday and Saturday on the Fringe programs, all free, with music from KOPPS, The Demos, and more.

(Friday, September 16, 8 p.m.; Saturday, September 17, 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 10 p.m.; Parcel 5; Appropriate for all ages)

Fringe Street Beat

In a Fringe first, the Street Beat dance battle is sure to get heated as teams of three compete for the chance to win $1,500. Some of the region's best dance crews have signed up, so expectations are high for stiff competition and crazy moves.

(Saturday, September 17, 3 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.; Parcel 5; Appropriate for all ages)

"Two 4 One"

Sponsored by ImageOut, the Rochester LGBT Film Festival, "Two 4 One" is a light-hearted, sweet comedy that will take viewers through the struggles of gender identity and a progressive take on modern love. The film is directed by Maureen Bradley, and follows what happens when the transgendered Adam tries to help his ex-girlfriend Miriam artificially inseminate. But the pair wind up sleeping together and both end up pregnant.

(Monday, September 19, 7:30 p.m.; Spiegelgarden; Appropriate for ages 18 and older)

"Shaun of the Dead"

"You've got red on you." This hilarious film, paying homage to all of the great zombie flicks, follows Shaun (Simon Pegg) as he and his friend Ed (Nick Frost) find themselves in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The characters aren't extraordinary at crisis management or unrealistically great at fighting off zombies, and that's what makes this film gold. Directed by Edgar Wright, this is a chance to start the Halloween and horror movie season early.

(Thursday, September 22, 7:30 p.m.; Spiegelgarden; Appropriate for ages 18 and older)

Grimms' Mad Tales

Two hundred actors will line Gibbs Street to perform some of your favorite Brothers Grimms tales. Walking through Gibbs, while speaking and interacting with characters is the trick for this show. Produced by Method Machine, the show is not only exciting for its unpredictability but for the flash mob-esque vibe. If you love the traditional Grimms' stories, you should see this alternative storytelling bring it a new life.

Also, hang around Gibbs Street for more free music, art, and performances for the second weekend on the Fringe.

(Friday, September 23, and Saturday, September 24, 6 p.m.; Along Gibbs Street and in One Fringe Place; Appropriate for all ages)

The Campbell Brothers

The Campbell Brothers have made their way across the country and back, from California, to Washington, D.C., and back to New York. The Rochester-based band gives listeners high-energy beats intertwined with African-American gospels for a sound that brings plenty of soul. The band has been together for more than 20 years but keeps the variety and flavor in its music alive.

(Friday, September 23, 9:40 p.m.; Gibbs Street Main Stage; Appropriate for all ages)

Sand Mandalas

Sand mandalas are temporary, and that's what makes them so beautiful, according to artist Katie Jo Suddaby. The art form is known as a meditative practice, an escape from reality's stresses and worries. Suddaby's sand painting will take days to produce and seconds to disappear. Take a peek during the weekend to see this year's one-of-a-kind piece and try to absorb some of that contemplative energy.

(Thursday, September 15, and Friday, September 16, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 17, 12:30 p.m.; Sunday, September 18, 11:30 a.m.; Thursday, September 22, and Friday, September 23, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 24, 12:00 p.m.; TheatreROCS Stage: Lobby; Appropriate for all ages)

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