Special Sections » Annual Manual

Block partying


Go ahead, give us a reason to celebrate. I dare you. Just pick something, anything at all --- fruit, airplanes, balloons, jazz, snow --- and we'll throw a party for it. That's just one of our very many talents. Fried dough, anyone?

Lakeside Winter Celebration

Date: mid-February

Place: Ontario Beach Park

Description: games, snow and ice sculpture contests, sleigh rides, "Chilly Chili Challenge," polar plunge in Lake Ontario

Info: 428-7655

Lilac Festival

Dates: May 13-22

Place: Highland Park

Description: 500 varieties of lilacs, live music, activities, food

Info: 256-3070, www.lilacfestival.com

Memorial Day Parade

Dates: May 30

Place: downtown Rochester

Description: parade

Info: 473-0710

East End Night Life Festivals

Dates: June 3, July 8, August 12

Place: East Avenue

Description: bars, clubs and restaurants open on to the street, lots of music and beer

Info: 234-0630, www.milestonesmusicroom.com

Rochester Public Market Centennial Celebration

Dates: June 4-5

Place: Rochester Public Market, 280 North Union Street


Info: 428-6907, www.cityofrochester.gov

Wegmans Concerts By the Shore

Dates: Wednesdays June 8-August 31

Place: Ontario Beach Park

Description: live concerts

Info: 865-3320, www.cityofrochester.gov

Party in the Park

Dates: Thursdays June 9-August 11

Place: High Falls Festival Site

Description: concerts

Info: 428-6697, www.cityofrochester.gov

Rochester International Jazz Festival

Dates: June 10-18

Place: 15 venues throughout city, including Eastman Theatre, Frontier Field

Description: Over 70 concerts, tens of thousands of fans, international, top-notch acts

Info: 234-2002, www.rochesterjazz.com

Fairport Canal Days

Dates: June 3-5

Place: Main Street (Route 250), Fairport

Description: arts and crafts, food, music, many family activities

Info: www.fairportcanaldays.com

Rochester International Air Show

Dates: June 11-12

Place: Rochester International Airport

Description: US Navy Blue Angels, planes, helicopters, jets

Info: 428-2380, www.rochesterairshow.com

Spencerport Fireman's Carnival

Dates: June 15-18

Place: Spencerport

Description: kiddie parade, grand parade, amusement rides

Info: 352-4771, vil.spencerport.ny.us

Rochester Harbor and Carousel Festival

Dates: June 24-26

Place: Ontario Beach Park, Charlotte

Description: RPO concert, juried arts and crafts, food, activities

Info: 865-3320, www.cityofrochester.gov

Maplewood Rose Festival

Dates: June 18-19

Place: Maplewood Park, Driving Park Bridge and Lake Avenue

Description: roses, Genesee Gorge tours, live music, arts and crafts, kids' entertainment

Info: www.ggw.org/~mna/rose.htm

Gay Pride Celebration

Dates: mid-July

Place: various, including Genesee Valley Park

Description: Upstate New York's largest, with a big picnic and Pride Parade

Info: www.gayalliance.org

Sterling Renaissance Festival

Dates: weekends, July 2-August 14

Place: Sterling, NY

Description: food, drink, street performances, crafts, games --- all in the olde style

Info: 800-879-4446, sterlingfestival.com

N.E.N.A. Family Summer Fest and Carnival

Dates: July

Place: Freddie Thomas Learning Center, 625 Scio Street

Description: rides, activities for adults and kids, "home-grown music and home-grown food"

Info: 544-0140

Hill Cumorah Pageant

Dates: July 8-16

Place: Hill Cumorah, on Route 21, near Palmyra

Description: nightly performance with cast of 600, pyrotechnics, music; presents stories from the Bible and the Book of Mormon

Info: 315-597-5851, www.hillcumorah.org/Pageant/

Corn Hill Arts Festival

Dates: July 9-10

Place: Corn Hill neighborhood, off Exchange Blvd and Plymouth Ave

Description: hundreds of craftspeople, live music, family events, food

Info: 262-3142, www.cornhill.org

Monroe County Fair

Dates: July 13-17

Place: Monroe County Fairgrounds, 2695 E. Henrietta Rd

Description: agricultural exhibits, animals, amusement rides, food, special presentations

Info: 334-4000, www.mcfair.com


Dates: July 16-17

Place: various, including Genesee Valley Park

Description: Free, outdoor concerts, this year featuring Latin and soul

Info: 428-6690, www.rochestermusicfest.com

Festa Italiana

Dates: July 15-17

Place: Italian American Community Center, 150 Marconi Blvd

Description: Italian music, dance, and cultural displays

Info: 594-8882, www.iaccrochester.org

Spencerport Canal Days

Dates: July

Place: arts and crafts, entertainment, food, canoe race

Description: off Union Street, along the Canal, Spencerport

Info: 349-1331, www.ogdenny.com/canaldays

Puerto Rican Festival

Dates: mid-August

Place: Civic Center Plaza, Exchange Blvd

Description: Latino music, food, and culture celebrations

Info: www.prfestival.com

Park Avenue Festival

Dates: August 6-7

Place: Park Avenue from Alexander St to Culver Rd

Description: arts & crafts vendors, live entertainment, food, family fun

Info: www.rochesterevents.com

Clarissa Street Reunion

Dates: August 20

Place: Clarissa and surrounding streets

Description: neighborhood reunion, parade, jazz, gospel, and r&b performances

Info: 234-4177, www.csrc.info


Dates: August 13-14

Place: High Falls Festival Site

Description: Caribbean-themed festival and parade

Info: 254-7569

Brockport Summer Art Festival

Dates: August 13-14

Place: Main Street (Route 19), Brockport

Description: arts and crafts, food, live music, rubber duck derby and dragon boat races

Info: www.rochesterevents.com

Penfield Country Fair Days

Dates: August 20-21

Place: Penfield's Four Corners, Rte 441 and Five Mile Line Rd

Description: arts and crafts, entertainment, food

Info: 340-8651, www.penfield.org

Rochester Irish Festival

Dates: September

Place: Camp Eastman, Durand Eastman Park

Description: Irish music, dance, cultural workshops, kids' activities

Info: 234-3746, www.rochesteririshfestival.org

New York State Festival of Balloons

Dates: September 2-4

Place: Dansville, NY

Description: hot air balloon rides, food, entertainment, music, kids' rides

Info: www.nysfob.com

Labor Day Parade

Dates: September 5

Place: Downtown Rochester

Description: parade

Info: 263-2650

Clothesline Arts Festival

Dates: September 10-11

Place: Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Avenue

Description: renowned arts and crafts; MAG's biggest fundraiser

Info: 473-7720, mag.rochester.edu


Dates: September 16-18, 23-25

Place: Camp Eastman, Durand Eastman Park

Description: echt Deutsch music, food, and beer

Info: 336-6070, www.irondequoit.org/events/oktober.htm

Festival of Food

Dates: Sept 19

Place: Rochester Public Market

Description: samples from area restaurants, wineries, farmers, and specialty food sellers

Info: 328-3380

Naples Grape Festival

Dates: September 24-25

Place: center of Naples village

Description: grape pie contest, arts and crafts, food, family entertainment, live music

Info: 374-2240, www.naplesvalleyny.com

Rochester River Romance

Dates: October 8-9

Place: various, including Ontario Beach Park

Description: entertainment, lighthouse and boat tours, hikes, rowing regatta

Info: 428-6770, www.cityofrochester.gov

Hilton Apple Festival

Dates: October 1-2

Place: off Route 18, Hilton

Description: arts and crafts, car show, apples raw and cooked, pie contest

Info: 234-3378, www.hiltonapplefest.org


Dates: October 7-16

Place: Cinema, Dryden, and Little Theatres

Description: films by and about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people

Info: 271-2640, www.imageout.org

High Falls Filmfest

Dates: November

Place: Little and Dryden Theatres

Description: Screenings, visiting artists to celebrate women in film

Info: www.highfallsfilmfestival.com

In This Guide...

  • Annual Manual 2005

    Surprised by Rochester
    When I was getting ready to move to Rochester five years ago, my friends and family were confused. They wore worried faces when they asked me, "What's in Rochester?" and "That's not too far from the city, is it?" and "Do you like the cold weather?"

  • A newbie’s checklist

    Beginner’s guide
    So you've arrived, and now you need the basics: phone, utilities, a way to get around town, and, maybe, a way to get out of town. Here is some info to help you get settled in.

  • Who's representing

    Mayor Bill Johnson 30 Church Street, Rochester 14614

  • It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

    There is so much talk about how to revitalize Rochester's downtown and make the city a more attractive place to live. But many people have discovered the benefits of city life.

  • Pounding the pavement

    I've been thinking about changing my name to Where's Your Car? (though I would have preferred You're Stunning or Are Those Real?).

  • Finding a beat you can dance to

    Live music
    I know it takes a little more than turning on the tube, but heading out for live music is so good for you. Plus the audience (you) is an integral part of each performance.

  • We’ve got music

    We're proud of our musical talent; here are four reasons why. The event

  • Get yourself something to eat

    Welcome to the Rochester food scene. I write full reviews of different restaurants every other week in City, but here is a bit of a primer, by genre, to acquaint you with the area's amazing variety of dining options.

  • Why we love market day

    The Rochester Public Market can be noisy, crowded, and fishy, but that is part of the vibrancy and spirit that make it a unique experience. Where else in Rochester is it almost too crowded to move for hours at a time?

  • Tending to your health

    Major hospitals Highland Hospital

  • Get learning

    Each public school district in Monroe County has contact information (listed below) where you can get more detailed information about individual schools. To get an overall picture, for some general research, or to just get involved, here are some resources:

  • A little culture never hurt anyone

    For a city our size, we've got plenty of culture. There's enough for every taste and energy level, but not too much to overwhelm.

  • What's the alternative?

    Although Rochester has a number of respectable art museums and galleries, rarely will these venues show anything outside the mainstream. For an art space to do something daring, quite often it has to rely on the vision and resources of an individual or a small group of people.

  • The gold of the silver screens

    I'm only about 5-foot-3-inches, but I totally towered over Isabella Rossellini. Now, you may be wondering what sorts of circles a humble hometown girl like myself would run in that would enable me to reach that conclusion.

  • A little place outside the city

    Monroe County has 19 towns and nine incorporated villages. Aided by short commutes, particularly between Rochester and its inner-ring of suburbs, many of these are bedroom communities.

  • High class

    Colgate Rochester Divinity School Can boast of a dedication for diversity, teaching students in over 20 Christian denominations.

  • We'd rather be out in the open

    The areas in and around Rochester are rich with green space --- diverse, convenient, and beautiful places to walk the dog, take out a canoe, find a zoo, or smell the lilacs. From the beautiful Seneca and Highland Parks, both designed by 19th-century landscape genius Frederick Law Olmsted, to Durand-Eastman Park, where you can feel the immensity of that Great Lake --- here is just a partial list of some of our favorite parks in the Monroe County (256-4950, www.monroecounty.gov) and City of Rochester (400 Dewey Avenue, 428-6767 or 428-6755, www.cityofrochester.gov) systems.