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Rochester Restaurants Open For Business…Err, Takeout

March 18th, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

With the rate of COVID-19 infections on the rise in Rochester, everyone is on high alert. Folks have been encouraged to practice social isolation in order to stem the risk of infection. Now that the first death from COVID-19 in Monroe County has been confirmed, it makes sense that people are feeling uneasy.

After experiencing symptoms matching those of COVID-19, the RGH employee was admitted to the hospital where he worked. While asbestos is the number one work-related cause of death, it makes sense that health care workers would be at particular risk for contracting the virus. The worker in question also had a few underlying health issues, including liver disease and hypertension.

The other people who are at-risk? Those who work at restaurants and bars.

As of Monday, March 16, New York — and a few other states — have officially ordered bars and restaurants to stop serving patrons in their dining rooms.

This is bad news for many small businesses in Rochester. Though countless people have followed government directions and have taken shelter in their homes as a result, owners of local restaurants and bars don’t have the luxury of staying home. After all, their livelihood depends on their business’ success. It’s likely that their bills won’t stop coming and heating the restaurant at the end of winter makes up 42% of the average home’s utility bill already. If a business is already floundering, then such a pandemic like this can be the final straw in a restaurant’s final closing.

Some Rochester-area restaurants are able to afford a temporary pause while others are finding ways to stay afloat: namely, by relying on take-out and delivery options.

This way of doing business helps ensure that contact is as limited as possible. If you’re too tired to go to Wegmans and sift through the remnants of their supplies, there are still plenty of Rochester-area restaurants that are willing to supply you with great food.

Here are some of the Rochester restaurants you can count on for the next couple of weeks:


If you can’t resist a delicious cup of coffee, these cafes have got your back.

The Genesee Bakery will be open from 7:30am to 6pm weekdays and 9am to 12pm on Saturdays. They are offering takeout options and curbside delivery for their lunch menu, breads, and pastries.

Arnett Cafe is offering takeout options. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, they will be open from 8am to 2pm. On Friday and Saturday, you can see them from 8am to 6pm.

Founders Cafe will be open from 7am to 5pm throughout the week. Their Saturday hours are from 9am to 3pm. They also have options on GrubHub and Uber Eats if that works better for you.

Roam Cafe is sticking to the hours of 11:30am to 9pm daily. They’re even offering a discount on delivery services if your order is over $20.

Magnolia’s will operate between 11am through 7pm every day of the week but Sunday. On Sundays, they will be open until 4pm.

Even though Jine’s is more of a diner than a cafe, you can expect this Rochester staple to operate every day from 8am to 8pm.

Latin cuisine:

You don’t have to speak Spanish to indulge in these Rochester favorites. Juan and Marias Empanada Stop will be open from 9am to 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 7am to 2pm on Saturdays.

Neno’s Mexican Gourmet will be open every day from 11am to 7pm at its new location on 642 Monroe Avenue. Their full menu will be available for takeout, delivery, and curbside pickup.

Old Pueblo Grill is expected to be open from 11am to 7pm every day but Sunday. They ask that only credit cards are used to order in advance and that customers call when they arrive.

John’s Tex Mex will be open from 11:30am to 10pm every day but Sunday. They will also be offering beer to-go.

Savory dinners

If you’re looking for something to fill you up, this list makes for the perfect dinner:

Drifters Bar & Restaurant will be open from 4 to 8pm daily with GrubHub and Uber Eats backing up their takeout options.

Merchants Wood Fired Pizza & Bistro will have the same hours as Drifter’s but they’re only open Tuesday through Saturday.

Restaurant Good Luck is following suit but will only be open from Wednesday through Saturday. They’re sporting a limited menu, but they also have alcohol and ice cream options available for takeout.

The Saucey Chef will be serving takeout meals from 12:30pm through 8:30pm between Wednesday and Friday. If you’re itching for a bite on the weekend, they’re open from 3 to 8:30pm on Saturdays. They ask that you pay ahead of time online to further limit interactions between workers and customers.

With Wegmans already cutting down on available hours, ordering out doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Just be sure to keep the regular rules of the road in mind during this time of panic. After all, the most dangerous times for motorcyclists to drive are between 3 and 6pm, but a single distraction could result in an injury for anyone. Times are stressful, but keeping a cool head and supporting your local businesses are the best ways to make it through this period of social isolation.

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As Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Increase, List of Rochester Cancelations Gets Longer

March 16th, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

The rapidly spreading new coronavirus is already taking its toll on Americans — and residents of the Flower City are now being encouraged to wait out the worst from the comfort of their own homes. With major holiday events and public school courses both on the cancelation list, it’s an eerie feeling for a city that normally has no shortage of things to do.

The cancelation of the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and related festivities was a tough blow for many Rochesterians who were eager to celebrate all things Irish (including whiskey and Guinness). Although the U.S. police force is expected to increase by an estimated 41,400 people from 2012 to 2022, the Rochester PD presence wasn’t needed in the way it’s always been. Concerts, traveling theatrical productions, home and garden shows, upcoming Easter events, and even the Mayor’s Ball had to be outright canceled or postponed for dates yet to be determined. Local libraries have been shuttered and expos have been shut down. And even though officials might have been hopeful that canceling St. Paddy’s merriment could cut down on the 15,000 car accident injuries that happen nationwide each year due to drug and alcohol use each year, many Rochesterians could still be found in bars and at house parties — ignoring concerns about social distancing.

But since the second local case of COVID-19 was confirmed and all schools in Monroe County were declared closed until further notice, residents are paying a bit more attention. Rochesterians joined the throes who lost their minds trying to stock up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer. And while some were still harping on the cancelations, declaring that the media had swept everyone into an unnecessary frenzy, it’s clear that most are in favor of these seemingly drastic actions. Although 93% of children have seen a doctor in the last year, most people don’t want to risk having to go to the hospital for complications from the newest coronavirus. Now, all bars, restaurants, gyms, and other facilities throughout New York State are set to close Monday evening to impede the spread of the virus.

It might not be fun to see your favorite seasonal event be on that cancelation list, but it’s truly for the greater good. Once Rochester is in the full swing of festival season, residents will probably be glad they decided to stay home in March and April.

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7 Tips To Help You Make It Through The End Of Winter

March 2nd, 2020
Posted in Other | No Comments »

With the last lingering dregs of winter upon us, it can feel like spring will never arrive. The long, dark times of a Rochester winter can have a serious effect on people’s mood and health. Some people even develop SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, due to the low light of winter.

Whether you are suffering from SAD or just longing for the warmer days of spring, here are seven tips to get you through the final days of winter.

1. Try to Eat Healthy and Exercise

While we should eat healthy and exercise year-round, it can be especially important in winter. Eating right can be hard when winter sets in. The temptation to comfort ourselves with junk food like soda and candy gets even worse when the weather is gloomy for days or weeks on end.

However, a healthy diet can help your body and mind cope better with winter. Healthy carbohydrates like fruit, pasta, and rice can help you feel better during the long months of winter. And there are a lot of options out there, with the global wellness industry worth about $4.2 trillion. Check your local grocery store for pre-made healthy meals if you don’t have the energy to make them yourself.

Exercise is also challenging during winter, when it is often tougher to go outside or even drive to the gym. But exercise has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress, and help fight depression. An hour of aerobic exercise outside is as good as two and a half hours of light treatment inside. In winter, you may need to get creative with outdoor exercise. However, even a snowball fight is great aerobic exercise and you can get your kids involved as well.

2. Get a Light Box

Light boxes are also highly effective for sufferers of SAD. A light box mimics the effect of real sunlight, thereby improving your mood and restricting the secretion of melatonin in your brain in winter.

If you are planning to use a light box, set aside 30 minutes to two hours per day. You may see improvement in as little as two weeks.

3. Make Sure You Are Sleeping Well

On average, an adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night. This is especially important in winter. The shorter, darker days prompt our bodies to produce more melatonin (as mentioned above), which can make us sleepier. Sleeping properly at night can, therefore, keep our bodies in balance and prevent us from getting excessively sleepy in winter.

If you are having trouble with fatigue in winter, try going to bed an hour earlier than usual. The extra hour can help you stay in balance during winter and fight off that extra melatonin.

4. Find Time To Relax

Winter might seem like a strange time for a vacation, but it may be just what you need to fight the winter blues. With most of us retiring around age 63, it’s clear we spend a lot of our time working. In winter, that can be especially depressing and stressful. Plan a little time away to relax and find some inner peace.

5. Get Creative

Being creative can stimulate the mind and improve your mood, especially if you do it with friends. Winter is a great time to host a creative get together. You could make holiday wreaths, bake, paint, or do anything else. Not only will being creative help keep your mind happy, but it will also allow you to get together with friends, which is a good way to avoid feeling lonely and isolated because of winter weather.

6. Drink Water

It might sound obvious, but you need to drink water during winter. Being dehydrated can not only make you feel bad emotionally, but it can also have harmful physical effects.

In winter, the air can be extremely dry, so keep an eye on your water intake. Try to drink when you wake up, as well as throughout the day. This will help keep your mind sharp and your body hydrated.

7. Be Grateful

Winter might feel like an odd time to feel grateful, but trying to find reasons to be thankful even in the darkest winter months is a good, healthy practice than can improve your mood and outlook. If you practice mindfulness or mediation, winter is a great time to put those practices to use.

If you don’t, simply try to find something you find beautiful or comforting about winter. Perhaps it’s a chance to wrap up in your favorite blanket. Perhaps the snow looks particularly beautiful and is worthy of a photo to share with friends. Perhaps you are just grateful to be warm and dry at home. We can all find reasons to be grateful, even when winter is trying to get us down.

Rochester winters can take a toll on both your mental and physical health. As we shake off the last few snowfalls and freezing nights during March, using some of these techniques can help you develop a positive mindset for the rest of the year. Soon enough, the warm weather and rejuvenating sunshine will be here and the dreary winter will be just a memory again.

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3 Companies Hitting Rochester — What Are They Offering?

February 24th, 2020
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

There’s no doubt that Rochester, New York is growing. As younger families move to the city and there becomes a greater demand for jobs and entertainment, new companies are discovering the advantages of rooting themselves in Rochester. Rochester has the advantage of being relatively close to big hubs with plenty of financial opportunities while remaining lowkey enough to remain affordable for newer companies. The state wants those companies to move to Rochester and is making efforts to further incentivize them. Long-term economic development plans, with state investments and job creation programs offering specific advantages to not simply businesses in general, but the specific types of businesses that Rochester wants to attract.

A targeted approach to attracting companies is crucial to Rochester’s long-term plans. While restaurants, for example, are important to any city, they won’t necessarily add a lot of jobs to Rochester. Nor will they necessarily last. For Rochester to grow its job opportunities and sustain those jobs for the long-term, it’s important that businesses within certain sectors settle in the city. Rochester is, in particular, targeting tech companies for a number of different reasons. Currently, three different companies have answered that call. They include CloudCheckr, a company that specializes in cloud management, Mastodon Design, which manufactures communication hardware, and Calero Software. These companies are either moving to or expanding in Rochester, and are bringing plenty of jobs with them. Obviously, the state and Rochester, in particular, are making practical and financial concessions in order to attract these companies. Let’s look into why these companies are ideal for this type of project, and what they’ll bring to the table in turn.

Why Tech Companies?

CloudCheckr, Mastodon Design, and Calero Software are diverse companies and are different from each other in various ways. However, they do have one thing in common: they are all tech companies. It’s important that tech companies, versus other types of businesses, settle and expand in Rochester. There is a national demand for tech companies, and that demand will only grow as the nation becomes more dependent in technology. For example, as 82% of companies are relying on the cloud to save money, cloud management companies like CloudCheckr will become increasingly necessary to the running of a healthy and financially successful business. Tech companies, in general, have contributed to the growth of the nation’s economy in recent years, and it stands to reason that they will contribute to the growth of a state or city as well. There is certainly a good deal of money in tech; currently, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is valued at $286.25 billion. As there are 100 billion searches each month on Google, that number can only be expected to grow over time. Tech also provides a wide variety of job opportunities. While programmers and IT specialists are the primary recipients of tech jobs, there are also opportunities for sales professionals, corporate professionals, and of course laborers who can contribute to the upkeep of an office environment. As long as tech companies thrive in Rochester, these jobs will continue to exist.

What Can These Companies Contribute To Rochester?

So, what can CloudCheckr, Mastodon Design, and Calero Software contribute to the economic landscape of Rochester? By 2025, it’s expected that CloudCheckr can add 400 jobs to the city. Mastodon Design, in turn, should around 235 jobs to the community. Finally, Calero Software is expected to bring about 100 jobs. This is just the growth expected within the next few years or so. Over time, even more growth can potentially occur, especially if these companies flourish within Rochester in particular. Furthermore, CloudCheckr has connections with major companies like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Its partnerships with such tech titans make it an attractive opportunity for Rochester professionals looking to expand into the tech world. Of course, Maston Design, in turn, works with the U.S. Department of Defense, which of course offers a good deal of stability. It’s undeniable that there are financial incentives for these companies to choose Rochester as their expansion sites. Calero will receive $1 million in state aid, and CloudCheckr will receive $8 million in tax credits — but only if they create the jobs that they promise. Therefore, these companies are not getting something for nothing from Rochester. They must fulfill their promises, and create opportunities within Rochester.

Why Do These Companies Wish To Expand In Rochester?

What is the appeal of Rochester to these tech companies, outside of the state aid and tax credits promised? As previously mentioned, the city offers a lot in terms of location. While it is not too close to New York City, it is within the same state and therefore offers easy access to this major city. Tech companies have long been drawn to cities that offer an opportunity for expansion. These companies require a good deal of space in order to create the jobs they promise — though not all of them must be exactly within a specific office or warehouse, as people can conduct business from almost anywhere thanks to current technology. Rochester is not overly populated or overgrown in terms of professional development. There isn’t too much competition present for tech companies, which allows them to organically grow and put a real stamp on the city. It’s important for tech companies, in particular, to have a strong presence in the locations wherein they expand. Locations like Rochester are not so small that they require too much aid from the companies that expand within them, but are still open to growth.

Rochester is home to many small businesses (of which there are roughly 28 million in the U.S.), but the presence of these companies in Rochester is exciting and will ideally present new jobs and financial opportunities for Rochester residents. While it may seem like a risk at first, it is in fact a calculated risk for the city and the state, made with the city’s economic future in mind.

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How Rochester Roads Are Recovering Post-Snowstorm

February 12th, 2020
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

As much as Rochester residents have grown used to rough winters, colder weather can nonetheless be rough on all of us. It’s become particularly difficult to prepare for winter snowstorms due to the yearly fluctuations in temperatures, making them harder to predict. In this past season, the wintertime has already been expensive due to regular costs. Usually, you can expect to have about 42% of your utility bill made up through heating, though these costs can of course rise during particularly harsh winters. However, the seasonal costs will only rise due to the recent snowstorm. Many of them will be associated with damage done at home, and will, therefore, be taken care of by individual homeowners by and large. A big concern, according to a consumer survey, will be roofing — 65% of homeowners reported that this was their major concern following weather damage, and a snowstorm can certainly do a good bit of damage to a typical roof.

With that being said, it’s important that public grounds are made safe as well, and this will fall to the state. Drivers have to be catious at all times while out on the snowy roads — but it’s important to avoid neglecting snowy lawncare, as well. When the snow on your lawn begins to melt and as the daytime temperature reaches between 30°F and 45°F, snow mold can begin to spread rapidly. Conditions worsen in areas where moisture is abundant, such as protected, shady, depressed areas. Now, let’s look into the road conditions following severe weather in Rochester, how to stay safe on these roads, and what is going to happen to make them safer for everyone.

Why Are Roads Particularly Dangerous During The Wintertime?

Winter is perhaps the most dangerous time of year to go driving. While summer and spring may see more rain — leading to many drivers losing control of their vehicles and spinning out — ultimately it’s much riskier to go driving after the temperatures lower. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. For one thing, the winter may seem dry but often includes a good amount of precipitation itself — not only in the form of freezing rain, but ice, snow, and even hail. The most obvious concern, in this case, is ice. It’s even harder for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles on icy roads as opposed to watery ones. Furthermore, black ice is a particularly dangerous factor consider, as it’s difficult for drivers to identify ahead of time. Snow can cake on roads, hardening and forming icy patches, or it can melt and become slush, which causes an involuntary slowing of vehicles similar to that of water, but more solid. And, when driving through a snowfall, it can be exceptionally difficult for drivers to see ahead, even when they use their headlights. Not only do they have to contend with the snow itself, but also the heavy cloud cover that will usually come with it. This can result in an increase in accidents, especially when layered on top of the ice and snow issues. If drivers end up spinning off the road and damaging their vehicles during a snowstorm, they could be at risk of being overly exposed to the elements. This is particularly dangerous when you’re driving on remote roads, and many people have fallen prey to the dangers of being stranded on the side of the road during the winter. The roads themselves can also be greatly damaged during bad winter weather. Not only are they easily damaged in the aftermath of bad car accidents — but the particularly heavy downfall of hail can cause the roads to become uneven and cracked, and they can even cause or exacerbate potholes.

What Can I Do To Be Safe When Driving During The Winter?

Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to stay safer on winter roads — even following weather events like the Rochester snowstorm. Many of them come down to being a more proactive and defensive driver. You will most certainly want to be on the lookout when driving. Not only will you need to worry about the immediate effects of bad weather like the snowstorm, but the aftereffects as well. Be prepared for road closings and the resulting extra traffic, as well as bumpier and more uneven roads. For that matter, don’t wait for the evening to turn your lights on if a day is particularly overcast. If you see the signs of a snowstorm brewing — even if it was not initially projected by the weather forecasters — you may want to consider not leaving your house or place of work until you’re sure that it’s cleared. This is especially true if your commute involves isolated roads. That being said, there are also steps you can take to ensure that your car is more prepared to drive on winter roads. If you haven’t already, have your vehicle inspected to ensure that it is road-ready. The last thing you would want to deal with would be an engine failure on a wintry road. You can also exchange your typical tires for a set of winter-ready tires. Be on the lookout for ice or leftover slush — and be aware that each year, there are 5.5 million car accidents in the United States alone. While not all of them are completely preventable, you must do what you can to ensure that you stay safe.

What Is The State Doing About The Roads?

The state is also doing what it must to aid in repairing Rochester’s post-snowstorm roads. In fact, it’s been announced that there will be $17.5 million allocated in funding for Rochester-area road repairs. These could include mending potholes as well as damaged guard rails and will ensure that the roads are safe moving further into 2020.

While this project is crucial to better the roads, you must also be alert regarding your own personal safety. Be careful when driving — and don’t underestimate winter roads.

It’s Finally Here: Wegmans Sets Date For Plastic Bag Ban

January 8th, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | 1 Comment »

Most Rochesterians can’t imagine life without Wegmans. But soon, they’ll all need to remember their reusable grocery bags when they make a shopping trip — or else they’ll end up paying the price.

That’s because the chain has finally set the date of their plastic bag ban, ahead of New York State’s own that goes into effect on March 1. Starting on January 27, Wegmans shoppers statewide will no longer have access to the single use plastic bags they’ve grown accustomed to using (and adding to a growing collection in the hall closet).

Up to 500,000 reefer trailers are currently in operation in the United States. Many of those trailers are packed with various items heading to Wegmans locations around the northeast.

While we rely on plastics for a variety of applications in our everyday lives, such as the durable plastics created through the reaction injection molding process, single use plastics are being heavily targeted for their wastefulness. Stainless Steel 304 is the number one most common grade of stainless steel. While 88% of the world’s steel is recycled, single use plastics are known to be harmful to the environment. We currently use 23 billion plastic bags each year, but researchers state that these bags never really decompose. This has prompted states like California to ban these single use plastic bags outright — and New York followed suit.

But until now, New York residents weren’t exactly sure when their shopping routines would be disrupted. You won’t be able to walk into a store, load your cart with personal care items (many of which contain oils in concentrations of 1-99%) and prepared food, and expect to be given grocery bags for free. Wegmans previously announced the chain would be getting rid of the bags (other than plastic bags used for uncooked meat, sliced and prepared foods, bulk products, prescription drugs, carry-out orders, and newspapers) prior to the statewide ban, but now, some residents are scrambling to get their reusable bags in order so that they won’t be forced to pay a fee.

That’s right: if you forget your own bags, you’ll need to pay a fee — if you’re in a county or municipality that’s opted into that corresponding program, that is. Wegmans will charge five cents per paper bag where applicable. Instacart shoppers will not be charged extra for paper bags, since they do not have the option of providing their own reusable ones. But before you make assumptions about where that money is going, you should know that the chain plans to donate those proceeds to local food banks in areas that have not opted into the statewide five-cent charge program. In the areas that have opted in, two cents from each bag will go towards local government, while three cents will be diverted to New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund.

That said, many advocates have pointed out that paper bags and even reusable plastic options are not necessarily better for the enviornment and that some of the guidelines show a lack of understanding about the issues at-hand.

Still, that won’t stop the wheels of progress from turning — or keep you from needing to invest in reusable shopping bags. There are plenty of options available (there are even ones you can buy right at Wegmans), but most people will want bags that are washable and sturdy enough to carry all of that fresh food without worry. Although the number of fast-food restaurants throughout the U.S. has more than doubled since the 1970s, having the right kind of reusable bags can make it that much easier to shop for healthy itemsand support environmental initiatives. It’ll just take some getting used to — and likely a couple of extra trips back to the car to retrieve the bags you forgot in the trunk.

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Rochester Home Assessments Reach Impressive Heights

January 2nd, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

Rochesterians know all too well that living in the Flower City comes with its caveats. While the city offers a plethora of cultural events, a rich history, and an exploding food scene, the harsh winters can sometimes make some forget why they live here in the first place. When you’re scraping ice off your car or shoveling snow in the driveway — whether it’s six inches of wet snow or 38 inches of dry snow, it’s all the same — you might curse your decision to settle down in the ROC. But you may change your tune when you hear about just how valuable your home might be.

Despite the fact that 85% of the nation’s homes were built prior to 1980 (and many of the houses in the city center are older than that), it looks as if age isn’t negatively impacting Rochester’s housing market. In fact, many homeowners just received notice that their property assessments are on the rise. In a citywide assessment, it was revealed that property values in the city increased by 19.3% on average, jumping from $76,145 to $90,864. The biggest increases were seen in the South Wedge and Upper Falls neighborhoods, which showed respective jumps of 37% and 34%. Overall, 84% of residential property owners saw increases in their assessments, though only about one-fourth of commercial property owners experienced any kind of assessment increase.

“Rochester is home to one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation,” explained Justin Roj with the City of Rochester in a statement. “Home assessments are up in every single neighborhood in the city. Every single one.”

This is potentially good news for homeowners looking to sell in the near future. But it could also have a negative impact on property taxes for those who choose to stay put. Assessments will apply to the 2021 fiscal year, which starts in July. And since one-third of Rochesterians live in poverty, higher taxes and less-affordable housing could actually have negative effects on property ownership overall. It’s entirely possible that many Rochesterians will have to continue renting if they want to remain in the city — and perhaps rent a professional storage unit to secure valuables and belongings they can’t store on-site — rather than buying property they can’t afford. Alternatively, it could push some residents to look for homes outside the city itself; while suburban living remains a popular option, many Rochester residents don’t want to give up convenient walkability and other perks.

Of course, it’s not a sure thing that all homeowners will see a tax increase. That’s determined by the tax rate and levy, which won’t be set until next summer. Should city spending remain constant or if the tax rate is reduced, property taxes might end up going down (depending on the specific assessment increase).

Still, many homeowners and community leaders aren’t thrilled by the news. Bryce Miller of the North Winton Village Association expressed his concerns to, saying that he’s worried about the most vulnerable people in the neighborhood.

“There are people here who have such a strict budget, they have nowhere they can cut,” said Miller. He’d like to see some kind of assessment cap put in place and suggested that homeowners can meet with a city appraiser to set up another assessment in an effort to contest the increases.

And while recently ranked Rochester as the sixth-hottest housing market nationwide, other residents are apprehensive about whether the assessments actually reflect true property values — and what the increase could mean for the escalating number of rental properties in the area. In many cases, it means that landlords and rental property owners are making major money while many homeowners could end up being priced out.

For now, city residents may have to adopt a wait-and-see approach. Alternatively, they can prepare for what’s known as “Grievance Day” — the designated date to contest housing assessments. In Rochester, that occurs on March 17, 2020. In order to contest an assessment, homeowners have to present evidence to Rochester’s Board of Assessment Review and offer sound reasoning for a lowered assessment. But if arguing your case isn’t an option, you may simply have to see what happens when the tax rates are determined later this year and hope for the best.

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ROC Around the Christmas Tree: Must-See Holiday Events in Rochester

November 27th, 2019
Posted in Rochester Destinations, Rochester News | No Comments »

By Sammi Cohen

According to the New York Post, Rochester seems to be a “grim and depressing” place to live. But anyone who loves the Flower City will tell you otherwise — even when it’s covered with that ubiquitous lake effect snow. Although people over the age of 55 are at least four times more likely to suffer a heart-related injury when shoveling the white stuff, many Rochesterians feel the harsh winters are well worth staying for.

Despite the cold and ice, there’s something magical about spending the holidays here. Although the holidays are a stressful time and Americans, on average, argue 19 times per month, there are plenty of fun activities that can actually strenghen releationships. And if you’re stumped on how to celebrate the season, there are plenty of events and activities that can help you appreciate what the city has to offer.

ROC Holiday Village

Only in its second year, this free event promises to be a real crowd-pleaser. In fact, its debut last year actually brought more than 100,000 people downtown to Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park at Manhattan Square. It’ll return for a three-and-a-half-week run starting on Friday, December 6 and will be open from 4 pm to 11 pm on Fridays, 10 am to 11 pm on Saturdays, and 10 am to 6 pm on Sundays through December 31. This year’s Village will feature a larger restaurant and bar, a new gaming room, a live nativity, more food trucks, ice skating, crafts, photos with Santa, and more. ROC Holiday Village will also light an outdoor menorah during the evenings from December 22 through December 30 — and since the average life expectancy of a fluorescent or LED bulb can range from 20,000 to 50,000 hours, organizers may be hoping that their bulbs will last just as long as the oil in the Hanukah story. In addition, the Village will host Kwanzaa and Three Kings’ Day celebrations on December 21 and 28, respectively. Although no permanent construction will be performed (meaning that some of the 8.4 million people employed within the construction industry might not be working on this project), putting the event together literally takes a village.

Lighting the Trees, Poles, and Kegs

The City of Rochester will host its annual Liberty Pole lighting on December 7. Starting at 4:30 at East Main Street and Franklin Street, the festivities will involve and meet-and-greet with Santa, Rudolph, and his elves (as well as local sports team mascots), followed by the lighting at 5 pm. A parade will then make its way to Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park.

If you want to embrace an unconventional Rochester tradition, head to the Genesee Brew House for their now-annual keg tree lighting ceremony on December 6 at 6:30 pm to enjoy the lights, the beer, the music, and the food trucks. Last year, the event drew more than 6,000 Rochesterians to witness the unique tree created out of 520 kegs. Just make sure that if you attend, you have a safe way of getting home. While there were 5,172 fatal motorcycle accidents in 2017, drunk driving accidents in general become more common around the holidays. Those who choose to drink should arrange for alternate transportation.

Of course, if you’re in the mood for a traditional tree-lighting, there are plenty of options to choose from. You just might need to venture outside the immediate city center to see them. Partake in Pittsford’s Candlelight Night on December 3 and see two separate tree lightings in the village (one at Main and State streets at 6 pm and the other at Label 7 in Northfield Common at 7 pm). Your family can also meet Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Grinch. Keep in mind that South Main will be closed to traffic and that shuttle service will run from Pittsford Sutherland High School to the village for convenience. You could also venture out to the Greece Community Center for their annual Tree Lighting and Family Christmas Party on December 5. Be sure to arrive early for holiday carols and stay for the tree-lighting at 6:15 (after which the indoor-outdoor party will begin). On December 7, check out the Village of Victor celebration and stick around for the 5 pm tree-lighting ceremony. That same day, you could also attend Fairport’s Come Home For the Holidays Event from 3 pm to 6 pm, which includes a 5 pm tree-lighting ceremony at Kennelley Park on West Avenue. You might also consider attending Little Italy’s second annual Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration on December 14, which takes place on the front lawn of the Rochester Fire Department’s Engine Number 5 Fire House, at 5 pm. Festivities include Italian cookies, cocoa, holiday music, and photo ops with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Special (and Affordable) Seasonal Offerings

Kids love getting presents, sure — but there is something about a celebration that adults can enjoy, too. A recent survey showed that 71% of participants love celebrating their birthday, at any age. If you’re looking for affordable ways to celebrate the season with your family, there are a number of events you’ll want to put on the calendar now. There’s Holiday Laser at the Strasenburgh Planetarium, which features holiday favorites with dancing laser lights, running now through January 5 (there’s also a sensory-friendly performance on December 7). The George Eastman Museum is also putting on a Holiday Homecoming Event on December 12, which features live music, cookies and punch, family activities, and festive displays, along with a visit from Santa. The museum’s Sweet Creations Gingerbread Display will also continue through December 15, so families can take advantage of both options with museum admission. Just remember to adhere to the recommended practice of brushing your teeth twice a day if you indulge in any of the sweet treats at these Eastman events. You could also take the family to Christmas with Santa at Springdale Farm (which includes breakfast!) in Spencerport on November 30, December 7, or December 14 or go to Garden Factory’s Holiday Family Fun event on Saturdays and Sundays through December 22. The event includes rides, games, crafts, Santa appearances, and a petting zoo. The Rochester Public Market will host Holidays at the Market on December 1, 8, 15, and 19, which will include holiday carriage rides, cookie decorating, and (you guessed it) appearances by Santa.

Remember to be extremely careful while driving this winter, as well. In a single year in Texas, there was one person injured every two minutes and four seconds, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. But in upstate New York, where heavy snowfall is a factor, it’s far more dangerous to be on the roads. So drive safe!

If you’re sticking around Rochester for the holidays, there are clearly plenty of reasons to feel jolly. With so many yuletide events going on, you’ll probably have trouble deciding which ones you’ll have to skip this year.

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Like a Phoenix From the Flames, Water Street Music Hall Rises From the Ashes

October 22nd, 2019
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »
water street music hall

Ever since Water Street Music Hall lost its entertainment license back in 2016, Rochester hasn’t been the same. The once-top venue in the music scene was the victim of violence and financial insecurity, causing the city of Rochester to question its safety.

In one infamous incident, a band arrived at the music hall, only to be met with a closed venue. In another notorious case, songwriter Anna Nalick had to wear mittens during a January show when the heat didn’t work. While it’s estimated that buildings eat up to 40% of the nation’s energy, Rochesterians weren’t sympathetic to the venue: many people walked out as a result.

In March 2016, it wasn’t surprising when the city refused to renew the club’s entertainment license. About 33% of small business owners report that a lack of funding is a top business challenge.

The city cited eight separate instances that hindered the venue’s safety and public welfare. Among these incidents included gun violence, traffic violations, and on-site brawls among patrons. Under Title 18, aggravated assault and battery is a Federal crime.

The music hall did not appeal its sentencing and closed, thereby allowing Syracuse-based venue Funk ‘n Waffles to take over in 2917. Here the new business witnessed calmer streets and more relaxed shows, but Rochesterians failed to adopt the new business. As such, Funk ‘n Waffles was unable to book national acts and headliners, causing further financial difficulties for the venue. After all, you will have to pay quarterly estimated taxes if your business owes income taxes of more than $1,000, regardless of business type. In only a year and a half, they closed their doors.

Owner Peter Sewell didn’t waste any time reclaiming the space.

After working on reinventing Water Street Music Hall for almost a year, Sewell announced the venue’s reopening this October. Dubbed “Water Street 2020,” he wants patrons to recognize the tried and true atmosphere of Water Street that Rochesterians grew up with. But he was sure to add a few new fixtures to entice new customers.

The newest remodel includes a new sound system, moving lights, and updated bathrooms. These will offer a huge return on investment for the venue, especially if they qualify as start-up expenditures for the new space. The biggest change, however, is the club’s new restaurant: Jack’s on Water Street.

Jack’s on Water Street will feature some of Sewell’s favorite cuisines from his time in Las Vegas. The venue has also ditched its old stage for the sake of making more room for restaurant seating. This was a smart move on Sewell’s part: up to 69% of home remodels involve renovating the kitchen. Even though he has wanted Water Street Music Hall to feature a restaurant for a long time, this will be a key aspect of the venue’s revitalization project.

Sewell named the restaurant after his rescue pitbull Jack, one of the 75 million pet dogs loved throughout the United States. But don’t think the food is made for Fido: Sewell’s head chef once worked for Wolfgang Puck and Bellagio’s Steakhouse.

In its heyday, the club witnessed top acts and more sold-out shows than the owner could count.

“We’ve had 300 sell-outs over the years and we were named the number one club in Rochester for multiple years,” reminisces Sewell in an interview with WHEC.

Though Jack’s on Water Street has already opened, the music venue side, Water Street 2020, is slated to open this weekend.

“I want people to know, ‘It’s the Water Street I grew up with,'” explains Sewell. “I’ve had so many people tell me, ‘I was there for my first-ever concert, it was a high school battle of the bands.’ I’ve had so many people say to me, ‘My first concert was, fill in the blank, at Water Street.'”

Hopefully, this venue will serve as someone’s first concert for more years to come.

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Fun Fall Festivities: 5 Rochester Activities To Do Before Autumn’s Over

October 17th, 2019
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fall activities

By Melissa Brewer

The months between the end of summer and the start of the hectic holiday season are ripe with opportunities to create wonderful memories with your friends and family. While the autumn weather gives you plenty of sunny days and the changing leaves create a beautiful backdrop, you can spend your weekends doing all of the things that make fall in upstate New York so special. In 2017, there were approximately 11.6 million youth participants (aged between six and 17 years) in fishing in the United States.

There are plenty of important things to do before winter hits — especially when it comes to preparing your vehicle for the snowy roadways. On average, there’s a rear end collision on U.S. roads every eight seconds. And we’ve all seen how dangerous 490 can be during a snowstorm.

Although we’re well into the fall season, you still have plenty of time to indulge in some fall fun before winter settles in. Professional services firm Ernst & Young conducted an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation time employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8%. Whether you’re taking a nice fall vacation back home or you currently live in Rochester, there are plenty of fun things to do around here! Save the gutter cleaning you need to do twice a year for another weekend and take the family out for a day full of activities. Let’s dive into seven activities in the Rochester area you need to check out while fall is still in full swing.

Admire the Fall Foliage

One of our region’s most striking features at this time of year is the fall foliage. As the leaves change out of their summer greens, we get to see swathes of brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows take over the landscape. A great way to see the changing colors is by riding aboard the foliage trolley, which is an attraction at the New York Museum of Transportation in Rush.

This 1920s-era trolley goes along its two-mile route every Sunday until Oct. 27. Along the route, you’ll see rural scenes with wells — which were first constructed over 8,000 years ago — and pastures with farm animals. And, of course, plenty of trees with those brilliant leaves. On Saturday, Oct. 19, the trolley will take on the role of the “Halloween Express” and bring riders to a nearby pumpkin patch where they can pick a pumpkin to decorate back at the museum.

Take a Hike

Engaging in just 10 minutes of physical activity every day can help you improve mobility and live longer. If you’d rather see the fall foliage more actively, try hiking along trails in Rochester’s parks. There are plenty of family-friendly options with fewer hills, such as Corbett’s Nature Park in Brighton and Oatka Creek Park in Wheatland. For a bit more of a hiking challenge, you could try Washington Grove in Rochester’s Cobbs Hill Park or Mendon Ponds Park in Pittsford and Mendon. As just one mile of hiking burns an average of about500 calories, you’ll be getting plenty of exercise while you revel in the beauty of the changing leaves on whichever trail you choose.

You could also take a day trip to a nearby state park to see some stunning scenery. Letchworth State Park is a favorite of New York nature lovers and Watkins Glen State Park offers breathtaking views of waterfalls as well as the fall foliage. To catch the leaves in their times of peak color change, check New York’s weekly fall foliage report. With this report, you’ll know where you should go each weekend. For instance, you would know that driving out to the Ithaca gorges this weekend would allow you to see the area’s near-peak foliage, with about 75% of the leaves transitioning to their fall shades.

Pick Apples

Plucking apples straight from the tree is an activity that people of all ages can enjoy. There are many orchards and U-pick farms in the Rochester area that allow visitors to pick fruit from their hardwood trees, which can take twenty years or more to reach full maturity. These welcoming orchards and farms include LaMora Farms in Ontario, The Apple Farm in Victor, Whittier Fruit Farm in Ogden, and many more.

Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes, and Apple Cannons, Oh My!

Larger farms in the Rochester area have been transforming their usual fields into centers for fall fun over the years and this autumn you’ll find plenty of places offering a variety of activities. Typically, these farms feature corn mazes, hayrides, pumpkin patches, apple cannons, and more. They usually have areas where visitors can grab a warm bite to eat and hot apple cider as well as autumn treats like fried cakes and pumpkin goodies.

Wherever you live in Rochester, there is probably a fun-filled farm near you. Some of the most popular spots include Stokoe Farms in Scottsville, Long Acre Farms in Macedon, Schutt’s Apple Mill and Wickham Farms in Penfield, Ford Farm Market in Chili, and Zarpentine Farms in Hilton. Whichever farm you choose to spend the day at, remember to bundle up to avoid catching one of the one billion colds Americans get every year. Temperatures tend to dip and rise wildly in the fall, but wearing layers and having a pair of gloves in your pocket can help keep you toasty during your day of fall fun.

Go To A Haunted House

We couldn’t end this list without including at least one Halloween activity. If you’re into the spookier side of fall, be sure to make it to a haunted house before the season’s over.

While this may not be the best place for every family, it’s the perfect activity for a group of friends who want to feel the fright. Even the chipper friend of the group who’s among the 30% of people who smile more than 20 times per day won’t be able to hold back a few screams and looks of distress as you traverse a haunted house. Keep in mind that haunted houses tend to get busier as Halloween approaches. Try to go sooner rather than later, or else you’ll face long lines outside the house that might be spookier than what’s lurking inside.

Whether you spend the remaining autumn weekends exploring a local pumpkin patch or gathering the courage to face a spooky haunted house, you’ll be taking advantage of all that fall has to offer. If you can’t fit everything in before the temperatures plummet and snowflakes start to fall, don’t worry. Autumn will come again next year and bring all of its fun festivities with it.

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Homeowners Building In The City Could See More Tax Break Incentives

October 2nd, 2019
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

By Melissa Brewer

Mayor Lovely Warren recently announced a new effort to promote homeownership in the city of Rochester. She wants to expand the homeownership tax breaks that the city currently offers in downtown Rochester to all city neighborhoods.

That program, called Core Housing Owner Incentive Exemption (CHOICE), has been successful in recent years at turning the once-desolate downtown Rochester into an area where people actually live. According to Gary Kirkmire of Neighborhood and Business Development, CHOICE offers a significant tax incentive to people who build homes and live in them, encouraging growth through owner-occupancies and construction in residential neighborhoods.

The incentive is a nine-year declining tax exemption on city, school, and county property taxes. In year one the exemption starts at 90% and is 10% by year nine. There are no discounts thereafter, but this steep cut on property taxes could be very helpful for new homeowners. Although the vast majority of American employees pay income taxes, which account for about half of federal revenue, the additional burden of property taxes is often what disrupts the dream of homeownership for many. Interested participants can claim the exemptions for new owner-occupied, market-rate housing construction or renovation. According to the Census Bureau, 30% of remodeling activity was major additions and alterations, 40% minor additions and alterations, and 30% maintenance and repair.

For 24% of recent home buyers, the primary reason for the recent home purchase was a desire to own a home, while 9% purchased due to a job-related relocation or move, and 8% bought for the desire to be in a better area or a change in family situation. Warren hopes that the structure of this new incentive will help close the gap between the assessed property values in various city neighborhoods and the cost of new construction.

“We have people who want to live, work and play in our city and we want to give them that opportunity and giving them that opportunity to actually build and design their home the way that they want, to design it on some of the land that we have available in many of our neighborhoods,” said Warren.

Imagine Monroe, a local industrial development agency, administers the tax agreement. The city is still seeking approval from Imagine Monroe to expand CHOICE to other neighborhoods in Rochester. If approved, the program would allow for single-family homes — the median of which is about 2,386 square feet — and two-family homes that are owner-occupied. Homeowners can even combine CHOICE with other incentive programs. According to Kirkmire, developers such as Habitat for Humanity and Greater Rochester Housing Partnership can take advantage of the program as well.

It’s important to note that studies show that the average amount it takes to sell a house in the U.S. is around $15,200. The city’s plan could also open the door to new housing options, including tiny houses. Down state, specially in Suffolk County, the median home price is $415,000. Records show that these homes would likely be most appealing to empty nesters and millennials. While empty nesters may see the draw in tiny houses in their ability to downsize, millennials are looking to grow financially, with about 96% of millennial investors interested in making a real estate investment. A tiny house offers an affordable option while still giving millennial investors a viable piece of real estate.

Despite the city’s insistence that CHOICE is a successful program, some critics think otherwise. Democratic City Council candidate Mary Lupien has seen CHOICE’s impact and believes that it favors the wealthy. Lupien says that the focus on middle and high-income neighborhoods is a focus on development that doesn’t need financial support. She instead points to the many vacant lots in Rochester that need investment.

“If it is not targeted, the CHOICE program will further gentrification and increase inequality,” Lupien said in a joint statement released by her and Rachel Barnhart, Democratic nominee for Monroe County legislator.

Barnhart has said that the majority of people who will apply for the tax break would have built anyway. According to Barnhardt, the break wouldn’t encourage homeownership for renters who occupy some of the 42.58 million housing units in the United States, but simply help the wealthy build homes they would have built anyways. She points to the new builds on East Avenue and Park Avenue that have happened in the last decade without assistance from CHOICE.

Lupien believes that focusing on other programs in which construction is already subsidized could help more low-income residents get into homeownership. As the United States is the second largest construction market in the world and continues to see growth, the price of new home construction is often beyond the budgets of low-income residents. If a program subsidizes the cost of construction, these residents could more often afford becoming homeowners. Lupien sees this outcome as a huge step for the Rochester community.

In the face of these criticisms, Kirkmire counters that low-income neighborhoods would not be shut out because market-rate prices would be proportionate to the area. He maintains that if the program helps develop all 600 vacant lots in the city, all of the city’s residents would be able to benefit.

City Council still needs to approve the CHOICE expansion proposal before it goes into effect. The public will be able to give input on the proposal as well.

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Everything You Need To Know About Park Ave Fest This Weekend

August 2nd, 2019
Posted in Art + Culture, Events | No Comments »
park ave fest

By Melissa Brewer

The summer festival season in Rochester continues this weekend with the 43rd edition of the Park Ave Summer Art Fest on Saturday, Aug 3 from 10a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Aug 4. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This annual celebration of arts and culture stretches for a mile and a quarter along Park Avenue from Alexander Street to Culver Road. Every year, this part of the picturesque Park Avenue neighborhood transforms into a mecca of shopping and entertainment. Better yet, admission is completely free.

Over 350 artists, exhibitors, and craftspeople from the U.S. and Canada set up between the curb and sidewalk. With more than 40 festival food favorites adding to the already culinary-rich landscape of Park Avenue, you can easily indulge in the $7.99 billion U.S. food and drink industry. As festival-goers flood Park Avenue to visit each booth, eat as much food as possible, and go to the stages that have a rotating schedule of musicians, the street closes to vehicular traffic.

It’s important note if you’re considering setting up a shot at any festival in the future, you need to properly advertising throughout the event. Full priced merchandise performed 18% better with signage than without. To avoid any confusion when you arrive at the festival, let’s run through the arts and entertainment that you can’t miss and take a look at how they’re handling parking and safety.


The global art market was valued at almost $64 billion in 2017. The focal point of Park Ave Fest is its mass celebration of the creative spirits local to the Rochester area. This year is no different. Whether you’re looking for one-of-a-kind pieces to give to your loved ones at the holidays or to decorate your own home, you won’t lack for choice at Park Ave Fest. There are so many different styles of art and creative prodcuts across the world — some even created with recycled materials. In fact, currently, about 40% of steel production across the globe is made with recycled metal — and artists are creating all sorts of awesome projects!

There will be art booths selling:

  • Sculptures
  • Pieces crafted from wood
  • Paintings
  • Ceramics
  • Body care products
  • Drawings
  • Fiber accessories, apparel, and crafts
  • Jewelry
  • Glasswork
  • Photography
  • And much more!

The best part of shopping at Park Ave Fest is that you’re able to interact with the artisan you’re supporting. Many of the booths are run by women-owned businesses and while they may not be among the percentage of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies who made history by topping 5% for the first time in 2017, these hard-working women deserve your support. By buying from them, and all of the other deserving artisans, you’ll be helping real families.

Music and Entertainment

To break up your day of perusing, the organizers of Park Ave Fest have crafted a lineup of musicians to fill every hour of the two-day festival. There will be three stages along the length of Park Avenue and the first bands go on at 10:15 in the morning. At the east end of the festival, there will be the Alexander Stage on the corner of Alexander Street and Park. In the center of the festivities is the Oxford Stage on the corner of Park and Oxford Street. The third stage will be the Somerton Stage at the west end of Park Avenue between Somerton Street and Culver Road.

As a festival built for families, there will be a Kids Park designed to entertain the little ones. This shady tree-lined park will be on the Park Avenue side of the Rochester Museum & Science Center. Additionally, there are all kinds of delecious meals to be enjoyed across Park Ave. Americans consume more chicken than anyone else in the world. In fact, it’s the number one protein consumed in the United States. There will be plenty of tasty chicken during the festival, for sure!

Kids can enjoy a wide variety of activities including bounce houses, Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventure, a Euro Bungee attraction, and a rock-climbing wall. While 45% of Americans have trouble falling asleep, your kids will have no problem drifting off the dreamland after a day filled with these fun activities. To further ensure you tire out the tykes, there will be additional bounce houses, obstacle courses, and other interactive inflatables for young festival-goers in the 7-Eleven parking lot near the corner of Park Avenue and Berkley Street.

Parking and Street Closures

To get to the festivities, you’ll need to know a bit about where you can park and what roads will not be accessible. Road closures during big events like this are essential in preventing car accidents, which injure 3 million people every year in the United States. Luckily, the only road closure will be where the festival is setting up. Between Alexander Street and Culver Road, Park Avenue will be closed from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Aug 3 and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug 4.

Parking will be available on one side of the side streets in the Park Avenue neighborhood. As these spots will be in high demand, the Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation located at 962 East Ave is offering off-street parking for $5 per car.

Free parking will be available behind Gleason Works on University Avenue and at Monroe Square on Monroe Avenue. To transport you from these free lots to the festival, there will be roundtrip shuttle service for $3 that runs throughout the day. The shuttle is accessible for wheelchairs and there will also be a limited number of handicap parking spots available at Parkleigh, located on the corner of Park Avenue and Goodman Street.

For general information on the festival when you’re there, you can go to the Festival Office just west of Oxford Street.

There will also be first-aid service available next to the 7-Eleven parking lot. If you feel ill during the festival, don’t hesitate to visit the first-aid tent or go to an urgent care center nearby, which can often provide expert medical treatment with wait times of 30 minutes or less. Anyone who sees suspicious activity during the festival or becomes separated from their child should seek the help of Rochester Police Officers, who will be on patrol throughout the festival, or Festival Block Captains who will be wearing light blue polo shirts and bright yellow messenger bags.

With a sunny weather forecast, it’s sure to be the perfect weekend for Park Ave Fest. Step out of your homes and give your HVAC systems a break from keeping you cool by stopping by the festival this Saturday or Sunday. You’ll eat delicious food, hear wonderful music, discover new artists, and make memories that will last for years to come.

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Heat Wave Hits Rochester: Here’s How to Stay Cool this Weekend

July 19th, 2019
Posted in Events, Rochester News | No Comments »

There’s a lot to look forward to this weekend in Upstate New York; between the Rochester Pride Parade and the Ithaca Grassroots festival, we’re planning on spending a lot of time outside. Unfortunately, the heat might try to ruin your summer fun as temperatures soar into the 100s.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30 each year. During those months, some U.S. city residents have to constantly worry about storms ruining their livlihood. Rochesterians, on the other hand, don’t have to worry about hurricanes, but they do need to watchout for extremely high temperatures. The heat and humidity are expected to be so bad that Rochester City Mayor Lovely Warren has officially announced a heat emergency for Friday and Saturday, making it the third excessive heat warning ever issued for the region.

According to weather reports, the heat index is supposed to reach a high of 108 degrees Fahrenheit in some locations. The last time we experienced such temperature highs was back in 1936.

In light of the new warning, the city’s emergency plan is preparing public buildings to provide relief from the heat. The Democrat and Chronicle notes that some pool hours will be extended, libraries will serve as cooling centers, and hydrants will be opened to beat the heat.

While we can expect a few spotty showers throughout the region, these cooling events won’t be enough to offer relief from sweltering temperatures. It’s important for kids to get outside and have some fun before school begins. There are 30,861 private schools in the U.S., serving 5.3 million PK-12 students. However, when temperatures are nearing the 100s, it’s much safer to keep them cool and keep them inside.

Local area doctors note that the heat can be particularly damaging for older people and those with compromised immune systems.

“For people who are elderly or have underlying medical problems… the consequences can be more severe. The heat can cause their medical conditions to be exacerbated or for them to become more ill in a very rapid manner,” explains Dr. Mike Kamali who serves as the chair of the URMC Department of Emergency Medicine.

Kamali recommends that people stay in air-conditioned locations as much as possible this weekend, especially if you’re out and about. It might also be worth investing in a new HVAC system for your home; the average house has nearly doubled in size since the 1950s, making it more difficult to keep cool. However, energy-efficient models have aided in keeping cool air in and hot air out.

While these increasingly high temperatures might not be enough to make you one of the 45 million people who move each year, it’s certainly enough to make you stay in your Rochester home. But if you’re planning on camping, attending Rochester Pride, or visiting Grassroots, you can follow these helpful to stay cool.

Drink plenty of water

This point might seem obvious, but its importance bears repeating: without enough water, you might find yourself suffering from heatstroke or worse. It’s recommended that you drink at least two liters of water each day, but you’ll need to drink even more in extreme heat to replenish the water that your body loses through sweat.

“When you start to feel hot, you start to sweat,” continues Kamali. “Your body is trying to get rid of excess heat and usually, you can do that as long as you’re staying hydrated and making attempts to cool yourself off.”

Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go and try to heat hydrating, healthy foods throughout the day. These include grapes, watermelon, and other fruits with high water content. It’s recommended that you already eat five servings of vegetables each day, so try to avoid particularly salty or heavy foods when you’re spending time outside. Keep in mind that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Also, use this time to enjoy some delecious frozen treats. It takes 50 licks to finish a single scoop of ice cream — so take your time and stay cool.

Stay out of the sun

Planning a party involves organizing hundreds of details, from invitations to decorations, food and activities. Whether you’re plannig a few parties this summer or not, it’s best to find shade whenever possible, whether that means idling under a tree or wearing an oversized hat. Consider getting a few extra fans and setting up some large tengs for added shade. This will help keep you cooler and prevent the possibility of sunburn.

Dress in loose-fitting clothing

While you might not be able to access air conditioning in the middle of the Pride parade, it’s vital that you do whatever you can to stay cool. One way to do that is by wearing, light, loose-fitting clothing. Light colors will help reflect the heat from your body while the loose fit will help wind cool your skin. You can also try wetting your clothing to stay cooler since the damp patches will catch the wind and further cool you down.

Know the signs of heatstroke

The young and elderly are at particularly high risk for heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Here are the symptoms you should watch out for when you’re worried a loved one is suffering from the heat:

  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Very hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

Go swimming

If you’re spending too much time in the sun, try to get to a pool or other body of water after your festival. Pools with glass finishes maintain their integrity indefinitely, making this a great option for apartment buildings, public watering holes, or your local gym. If you’re by the lake, don’t hesitate to take a dip. Just be sure to layer on the sunscreen to prevent sunburn.

Stay safe

Remember that the Pride Parade starts at 1 PM on Saturday, right when the sun is at its peak. If you have to venture outdoors this weekend, try following these tips to stay safe. Rochester may be under a heat warning, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your summer fun.

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Can Millennials Take Advantage of Rochester’s Hot Housing Market?

July 17th, 2019
Posted in Rochester Apartments | No Comments »

On average, Americans move once every five to seven years. It can be difficult to find a new home in a neighborhood you like and at a price that won’t break the bank. Luckily, you can’t go wrong with moving to Rochester.

Rochester sits atop’s list of the hottest real estate markets, so how can the emerging generation take advantage of it?

In May, the real estate listing service released the data. It ranked markets based on where homes sell in the least amount of time and where the site gets the most listing views. In other words, ranks markets based on how fast homes sell and how many searches there are in that particular market. 

According to the site’s data, the median days that a home in Rochester, NY sits on the market is a measly 31. In other words, the typical home will sell in about a month. In other parts of the United States, it’s far different. It’s fairly average to see a house stay on the market for six to twelve months in most places.

All markets are different but, on average, you’re going to pay five-to-six percent of the sale price to your Realtor. So, for example, if you sell your house for $300,000, you’ll have to pay a commission of around $18,000.

While the news is glad tidings, does it matter to Millennials?

To qualify for most loans, you need to keep your credit score above 700, with a score of 619 on the FICO score and lower being qualified as “bad.” According to the Federal Reserve reports, 90% of mortgages taken out in 2019’s first quarter were by people who had credit scores of at least 650, while 75% had a score of 700 or higher.

Millennials account for around 34% of home buyers. This generation of those between the ages of 23 and 38 have had a trying path towards financial wellness, having had to deal with crushing student loan debt and the unfortunate circumstance of dealing with the 2008 economic crisis’s fallout. Consequently, Millennials have an average FICO score of only 665, according to Experian

It gets worse. Experian also reports that Millennials have an average credit card balance of $5,231, carry an average student loan debt of $34,770, and have a total debt of $80,666 and up on average. 

The upshot is that houses in Rochester cost less than the average price of a home. The Huffington Post reports that the median home price is $188,900. According to the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, the region’s median sale price is $140,000. 


Are Electric Cars Worth It?

July 15th, 2019
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

By Samson Weinberg

Day by day, technology grows. Back in 2016, there were over 3.5 billion internet users. Over just three years, that number has increased to 4.33 billion. Not only is technological growth shown in internet usage, but in vehicles as well. In recent years, more and more consumer electric vehicles have been introduced and developed. With more than two dozen models now commercially available, some 800,000 Americans have made the switch to driving electric. These unique vehicles will supposedly help reduce fossil fuel consumption and curb carbon emissions over time. Keep in mind, if you plan on going off-roading, you’re going to need certain tires. There are four main types of off-road tires: all-terrain, mud-terrain, snow/winter, and sand. However, is this really the case? What are the benefits of driving electric? Like any vehicle choice, electric cars come with a series of pros and cons.

No Need For Gasoline

When driving an electric car, there’s no need to stop to fill up your tank. When you’re anticipating a drive, simply plug in your car and get ready to go. This ultimately results in reduced carbon emissions from burning gasoline. However, you’ll need to know in advance when you’re planning a trip, since fueling an electric car takes longer than just adding a few more gallons of gas to your tank. Additionally, while you’ll still be saving money by not paying for gas, expect your electricity bill to climb a bit. One thousand watt-hours equals 1 kilowatt-hour. Your utility bill usually shows what you are charged for the kilowatt-hours you use. More than likely, you’ll see increased usage as a result of charging your electric vehicle at home.

High Performance, Low Maintenance

One of the best benefits of switching to an electric vehicle is the changes it will make to your vehicle maintenance schedule. Electric cars tend to require less maintenance than their hybrid or traditional counterparts. Why? In traditional cars, you have much more to worry about, particularly when it comes to caring for the engine and selecting the right oil. According to a recent survey, 89% of lubrication professionals consider an oil’s viscosity index when selecting a lubricant.

However, because electric cars operate differently, you won’t need to worry about changing the oil in your car’s engine ever again. Likewise, electric cars tend to be easier on the brake pads as well. If you’re looking for a car with low impact that’s easy to maintain, an electric vehicle could be a good match for you.

All Energy From Somewhere

While your car might not use gasoline anymore, the electricity your car now uses has to come from somewhere. While many people don’t think about the source of their electricity on a regular basis, not all electricity is necessarily renewable. Forests are often felled for the purpose of clearing space for generating electricity. Since hardwood trees can take upwards of twenty years or more to reach maturity, that clearing alone has a significant impact on the environment. If you want your electric car to really help with reducing emissions, you’ll have to make sure your home’s electricity is coming from a renewable source.

Not So Cost-Friendly

By value, ocean vessels carry 53% and 38% of U.S. imports and exports, respectively. In 2018, the U.S. imported $325.3 million worth of electric vehicles — the 10th most across the globe. Driving electric might mean you don’t have to pay for gas anymore, but that cost-saving advantage comes at a price. Electric vehicles, generally speaking, still tend to be a bit more expensive than traditional cars. For reference, the most commonly searched vehicle price range is $5,000 or less. Additionally, because these cars are still so new, it’s much more difficult to find one to purchase used. If going electric is on your to-do list but still outside your budget, you may want to consider waiting a few years. As these cars advance further, more affordable options will start to become available.

All vehicles have their pros and cons, but this is especially true for new electric vehicles. While they might be great for some, they’re not always the best choice for everyone. Can you see yourself purchasing an electric car sometime in the near future, or is this environmental trend just a flash in the pan?

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Pet Parrot Takes Flight, Returns Home Over A Year Later

June 17th, 2019
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

By Melissa Brewer

Rochester resident Cindy Dudak experienced the unique sadness that comes with a beloved pet going missing when her pet bird Missy, a conure parrot, flew out of their Seneca Towers apartment. Dudak has also now experienced the wonderful happiness and sense of relief that comes with that same pet returning home. What’s strange about this story is that these two feelings happened over a year apart.

On April 12, 2018, Dudak accidentally left the apartment’s sliding balcony door open for a just moment. In that sliver of time, Missy took the chance to spread her wings and got outside. A gust of wind swept her up, depositing the parrot into a nearby tree. Before Dudak could successfully coax her back inside, two larger birds chased Missy off of her perch and away from her home.

“There were no leaves on the tree, so she was like a sitting duck. If I were younger, I would have climbed the tree myself,” said Dudak, 66.

Short of scaling that tree, Dudak did everything she possibly could to get Missy back home. She walked around the neighborhood with her carrier and favorite bell-adorned toys, hoping the parrot would hear the familiar ringing and come back to her. She then scouted the area by bike and car, but to no avail.

Dudak contacted lost-pet organizations in the city and surrounding suburbs to post information about her missing bird. She got in touch with the Humane Society of Greater Rochester at Lollypop Farm and made sure notices about Missy were posted to the Lollypop Spotters Facebook page. According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report, nearly two-thirds of marketers cited Facebook as the most important social platform.After a couple of weeks, Dudak realized how much stress the search was putting on her body and knew she had to slow down.

Despite the weeks and months that were passing, Dudak didn’t stop praying for Missy’s safety. She also held on to Missy’s cage, toys, and perches around the apartment. Perches allow a conure parrot to have the run of an apartment, whether that apartment falls in the median rent of $1,492 per month or well above or below it. According to Lollypop spokesperson Ashley Zeh, parrots are happiest when they can spread their wings and fly around. Dudak’s perches ensured Missy could do this, but she was apparently looking for a grander adventure.

That adventure ended on June 7, 2019 when Missy flew into a building under construction. Thankfully, the construction project hadn’t gotten around to installing energy efficient windows, which lower energy bills by 7% to 15% when compared to standard windows. Without those money-saving panes in place, Missy was able to sail in through a fourth-floor window.

She found a new perch on a construction worker’s shoulder and refused to leave it. The building this unsuspecting construction worker was in was less than two miles from Seneca Towers.

Luckily, Dudak wasn’t one of the 35.5. million Americans who move every year. She had stayed put, stayed hopeful, and Missy had returned home. The two were reunited less than 24 hours later after Dudak received a long-awaited email. A worker at Birds Unlimited, a pet store in Penfield Dudak had contacted when Missy initially went missing, had seen a post on the Lollypop Spotters page about a conure that had been turned into the Perinton shelter. Dudak checked the post and started crying when she saw the parrot looked just like Missy.

When Dudak arrived at the shelter, they confirmed that the band number on the found parrot matched Missy’s and the year-long separation between pet and owner ended. But history has shown us that time is relative, as when French revolutionaries tried to institute a 10-hour clock after the French Revolution. Just like the revolutionaries, time certainly seemed to have no meaning for Missy and Dudak, as the two were thick as thieves again almost immediately.

“She came right over to me, and I was so happy,” Dudak said.

Zeh has said that she cannot remember a pet bird being found after going missing for such a long time, making Missy’s story quite unique. Although a recent study has found that dozens of parrot species typically kept as pets are now living in the wild in states across the Northeast and Midwest, many were shocked that Missy survived the harsj Rochester winter on her own. After all, Missy’s species of parrot is native to the forests of South America and as a pet bird she shouldn’t have been accustomed to foraging for her own food.

Yet despite all odds, Dudak has her beloved Missy back in their Seneca Towers apartment. Dudak now knows to never give up hope on a lost pet and, hopefully, to never leave a balcony door open with an adventurous parrot inside who likes to spread her wings.

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A Straight-Forward Guide To 2019 Pride

June 1st, 2019
Posted in Events | No Comments »

By Samson Weinberg

June is unofficially recognized in the United States as LGBT Pride Month, even if Rochester typically waits until July for Pride Week. This year, however, is sure to have a Pride Month to remember, as 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising that led to increased recognition and rights for LGBT people across the nation. However you plan to get involved this year, use these tips to make sure you’re celebrating Pride Month respectfully and supporting the LGBT community appropriately.

Make Mindful Merchandise Choices

Many companies and organizations have started to pick up on Pride Month as a commercially viable opportunity, meaning you’re likely to start seeing rainbow products on shelves everywhere. However, not everything with a rainbow on it means your money is supporting the LGBT community. The U.S. apparel market is expected to grow to an estimated value of $385 billion by 2025, and any apparel company with a good marketing team is going to start putting rainbows on their clothing if they notice it sells better around Pride Month. Whenever possible, try to support your local, smaller, LGBT-owned stores; you’ll be helping individual creators directly this way.

Give What You Can

While some progress has been made since the Stonewall uprising fifty years ago, many LGBT people still face discrimination and struggle on a regular basis. Pride Month is an excellent opportunity to support non-profit organizations that help improve life for the LGBT community and provide much-needed resources. You might even find yourself wanting to give more often; 55% of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action.

Not all organizations will require the same sorts of donations or support. Check with local organizations like the Out Alliance to see what donations are needed. Some will prefer physical items like food or clothing, while others collect money to help support LGBT families directly. Surrogacy for gay men typically costs anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000, and many look for financial support from local non-profits that you can help support with your donations.

Avoid Gatekeeping

If you plan on attending one of the many Pride Month events taking place over the next few weeks, either as part of the community or as an ally, remember that not everyone in the LGBT community is able to be open about that part of their life. What might look initially like a straight couple might not be, or they may be there to support a loved one. Pride events are intended to be supportive for all members of the community regardless of whether they can safely be out or not; make sure you’re doing what you can to make sure everyone feels welcome.

Many people see Pride Month as an opportunity to have fun, celebrate, and attend events decked out in rainbows. However, Pride Month exists for a reason, and on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, it’s important to remember why people are celebrating. Enjoy Pride Month responsibly, and be sure to support your local organizations and businesses while celebrating.

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Rochester To See New Affordable Housing Program And Plan For City Rezoning

May 30th, 2019
Posted in Rochester News, Urban Development | No Comments »

By Melissa Brewer

The city of Rochester is gearing up for a few major construction projects that are all looking to change its current landscape and affordability. One program that will shift the housing market in Rochester is the Mission-Based Affordable Housing Partnership.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James came to Rochester on May 18 to announce to program. According to the announcement, the program will grant up to $1.4 million to mission-based organizations that are looking to develop available land into affordable housing. Nonprofit civic institutions will also be eligible for the grant. This program will extend beyond Rochester into Erie county as well as areas of Central New York and the Capital Region.

When James visited earlier in the month, she met with local political and faith leaders at F.I.G.H.T Village, a champion of affordable housing in Rochester led by Minister Clifford Florence. The organization has been pushing for affordable housing in Rochester since the 1960s. Its challenges lie in combatting the placement of low-income families in cheap but old homes that present dangers such as lead paint, which is still present in about 57 million homes in the United States.

“We’re fighting with racism, we’re fighting with the lack of jobs, affordable housing, education. So the issues are the same as they were 50 years ago, but we have to have the will to do what it takes to change it,” Florence said.

With the new partnership, organizations like F.I.G.H.T will finally be able to give Rochester residents a permanent solution for stable and economical housing. Too often, homeowners facing financial troubles turn to temporary fixes such as hard money loans, which typically have a loan-to-value ratio in the 60% to 70% range. Now F.I.G.H.T will be able to give residents another option by working with trustworthy developers. These professionals can help guide organizations through the construction processes, which are often long and complicated. For instance, unlike traditional mudjacking where a minimum waiting period of 24 hours is necessary, builders can use raised concrete right away.

A typical family spends about a third of its annual heating and cooling budget — roughly $350 — on air that leaks into or out of the house through unintended gaps and cracks.Since there are around 17 million shipping containers in the world, and only 6 million of these in use — approximately 11 million shipping containers are currently unused and could be converted into affordable homes for people all over the United States.

The Flower City Habitat for Humanity and the Autism Council of Rochester are also partnering to bring housing for an underserved community in the city. The two organizations plan to develop autism-friendly homes for families that have children with autism.

Not only will the program get more families closer to being homeowners, the number of which in the country is down to 63.4% from 69% in 2004, but it will also provide the space and modifications that children with autism need.

Objects such as compression swings can help balance the behavior and emotions of children with autism, but they don’t fit very easily into a two-bedroom apartment. The housing will also include sound and light sensitivity and a stockade fence in the backyard that measures six to eight feet high to ensure kids don’t wander into the streets while they play.

The final piece of news in Rochester construction is the proposed Rochester 2034 comprehensive plan. This plan aims to increase density and create more varied uses for certain city arterials. According to city officials, the proposal won’t result in many dramatic changes, but will instead reinforce or restore the downtown area’s historic form and character.

The rezoning efforts would aim to balance the stark differences in poverty rates, education levels, unemployment, minority population share, and more seen between the neighborhoods with the highest and lowest demands. In the southeast and crescent, two areas that are polar opposites to one another, two-thirds of residences are rentals. This is higher than the citywide average and with 33% of renters moving every year, there isn’t much permanency in either of these zones.

No official zoning changes are underway now, but they will go be brought to the neighborhoods and go through normal approvals when it comes time.

The plan will also focus on street-level retail around the East End area, Sibley Square, and Midtown. Establishments like local restaurants and independent coffee shops, which have about $12 billion in annual sales, will help guide the rezoning process in these areas.

The proposal is both more flexible in regulations regarding minimum lot sizes and parking and more adamant about higher standards for the design of mixed-use and multi-family building projects. Although no details of the plan are definite quite yet, the city will hire a consultant to review its zoning code and map once the plan is adopted.

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How to Prepare Your Exhibit for the Corn Hill Arts Festival

May 29th, 2019
Posted in Art + Culture, Events | No Comments »

Even though most people know Rochester for Kodak or its signature garbage plate, more people have started to take note of Rochester’s thriving arts scene. From new featured art at the Memorial Art Gallery to the local artists showcasing their skills at its countless festivals each year, folks from across the state have indulged in the local art for which Rochester is known.

Now that the Lilac Festival has wrapped up for the season, it’s time to set our sights on the next upcoming Rochester-based event: the Corn Hill Arts Festival.

This annual event will be entering its 51st year as a Rochester staple event. Taking place in the Corn Hill district, hundreds of craft exhibitors and food vendors will peddle the best art and grub that Rochester has to offer.

This year, more than 325 artists are expected to line up and down nine streets to present and sell their best work starting on July 13.

But if you’re an up-and-comer, don’t worry: the festival will also feature its 11th annual display of the Emerging Artists Expo. This exposition is designed to celebrate emerging talent in young artists aged 15 through 25. The event will be taking applications until May 31, so be sure to submit your work before the deadline in only a few days.

The Emerging Artists Expo is a great opportunity for rising artists to showcase their work and begin interacting with the local community. Those who are accepted to present at the event will be given a 10 ft by 10 ft booth on Eagle street, giving them ample space to feature art and compete for a cash prize at the end of the festival.

“The Corn Hill Arts Festival is a perfect opportunity for young, emerging artists throughout Rochester to showcase their talents and highlight their impact on the community,” notes Denise Cook, the CEO and director for MVP Health Care.

If you’re one of the many artists attending the event, whether new or old, here are some of the top tips you can use to prepare your exhibit for the festival.

Consider the size of your booth

Artists will be given a booth that measures around 100 square feet. This will include any tables, staging, or other displays you want to incorporate in this space. The size is akin to those that you would see in trade shows. But while there are more than 252 convention centers for trade shows across the country, there’s only one Corn Hill Arts Festival. To make an impact with this crowd, you’ll need to use your space dynamically.

Your first step should be buying a tent to shield your guests and art from the sun and rain. This will protect your art from the glare of the hot sun and the sporadic rain that Rochester handles on a daily basis. While you might think your tent detracts from your booth’s aesthetic, this is a valuable tool for many artists. Try pinning your artwork on the walls of your tent and hanging dangling pieces, like wind chimes or jewelry, from its connecting rods. This will create an interactive space for your customers.

Create emphasis on certain pieces

While most artists typically showcase their art on a few tables, you can bring as many tools and displays as you want for your tent. This includes stacking boxes, drawers, shelves, and more. Though you shouldn’t make your tent look too cluttered, you can utilize these unique components to feature more of your artwork than you ever thought possible.

You can add points of emphasis in your booth by displaying art at multiple levels to highlight statement art pieces and organize like-groups. Many artists will organize their space through a number of different categories, including:

  • Color
  • Style
  • Medium
  • Collection
  • Price

Other artists may even include cultural sections that highlight their personal backgrounds. This offers a unique opportunity for the artist to make connections with buyers. For example, artists showcasing traditional Mexican art may feature a collection of unique pieces for a higher price. It’s estimated that Mexican-Americans make up the largest population of immigrants in the United States at 26%.

Use lighting

Even though the Corn Hill Arts Festival starts in sunny July, you might still need great lighting for your tent on dreary days. Try accenting your tent with stylish string lights or bright LED lights so your guests can still view your work regardless of the weather outside. These eco-friendly options shine brighter than incandescent lights and are a top choice for businesses looking to utilize signage and more. It’s no wonder LEDs are estimated to receive 53% of the global market for lighting. Even if attendance is low because of the rain, you can be sure that any attendee will be able to check out your art.

Add an interactive component

There will be countless vendors showcasing similar products at the festival. When you want your booth to stand out, you need to utilize any tactic you have at your disposal. One of the most simple ways to encourage people to visit your booth is by adding an interactive component.

This can be as simple or as big as you want. Many tradeshow exhibitors and vendors find that fishbowl lotteries are an easy way to pull a crowd. Those who are acquainted with the Corn Hill Arts Festival might even include a scavenger hunt associated with the event or other forms of group entertainment. The sky is the limit when it comes to showcasing your booth’s creativity!

Use printing

Even if your booth showcases the most beautiful, unique pieces of art, you may not make sales if your customers don’t know your name. When you’re setting up your booth, it’s vital that you invest in great signage to display your name or the name of your company. In fact, it’s estimated that half of all customers who patron a business — or in this case, your exhibit — entered because of its signage.

You should also be sure to include business cards for your customers. Even if someone doesn’t buy a piece of art today, that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. Offer quality business cards with your contact information, including your social media handles. This will ensure anyone who comes to your booth will be able to find you later. They may even recommend you to their friends, potentially doubling your reach.

With only a month and some change to spare, it’s time to start planning. These are just some of the ways you can stand out at this year’s Corn Hill Arts Festival.

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Lilac Festival 2019: Your Guide On What To Do And Where To Eat

May 10th, 2019
Posted in Events | No Comments »

By Melissa Brewer

Warmer weather is finally starting to make an appearance in the city of Rochester and that can only mean one thing. Festival season is upon us.

To kick off a season filled with fun festivals for adults and kids alike, we have the 121st Rochester Lilac Festival. This iconically Rochester festival welcomes spring like no other event in the city with its array of fragrant blooms, lineup of performers, and gathering of food vendors. This year, the festival begins today, May 10, and runs through May 19. The festival grounds in Highland Park will be open from 10:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night every day in that period. Since roughly 40% of brides and grooms-to-be are looking for unusual venues that better reflect their personality — Highland Park could be the perfect location, so keep an eye out!

Now that we have the mundane details out of the way, let’s talk about the fun stuff. Read on to find out which events you have to go to and the tasty treats you can’t miss.

Fantastic Flowers

One of the biggest draws for the Lilac Festival is right in the name: the lilacs. With about 1,200 plants featuring over 500 varieties of lilacs, anyone coming for the beautiful bushes won’t be disappointed. According to Mark Quinn, superintendent of horticulture for Monroe County Parks, the lilac shrubs are doing wonderfully and the warming temperatures are helping them bloom on time.

There will be plenty of other floral features in Highland Park’s 150 acres of gardens as well. The park’s entrance at South Avenue and Reservoir Drive is home to an annual bloom of tulips, giving visitors a rainbow of colorful flora. You’ll also see plenty of blossoming magnolia trees, azaleas, and pansies while you walk through the park. Whether you’re a member of older generations that dominate gardening participation at 35% or of the younger generations that are showing an increasing interest in the green-thumbed hobby, you’re sure to love these blooms.

Exciting Entertainment

A festival wouldn’t be a festival without entertainment that gets you moving and grooving. This year’s Lilac Festival has 70 acts throughout the 10-day run that perform from early in the day until after the sun goes down. The performers are a mix of local and touring musicians, including Yonder Mountain String Band, Nobody’s Marigold, Soul Passenger, and many more. To learn about these artists and the other talented performers participating this year, contribute to Google’s 63,000 searches per second and look up the festival’s lineup for a full schedule.

For those looking for some adult-specific fun, the Special Events Tent will be hosting a couple of alcohol-themed events throughout the festival. There are more than 7,700 wineries across the country, but a select 36 of those local to the Upstate area will make an appearance in the tent on Saturday, May 11 at the Wine Tasting Expo. On the following Saturday, May 18, the tent will house a Craft Beer Expo to showcase the area’s beloved brewmasters.

Don’t worry, the kids won’t be left out of the festival fun. The annual Lilac Parade will be held on Saturday, May 11 and feature over 2,500 participants that range from dancers and costumed characters to marching bands and community organizations. On May 13 and 14, the beloved children’s character Arthur will make an appearance to read books and take photos with the little ones.

Tasty Treats

With over 40 food and drink vendors, you would probably need all 10 days to eat your way through the festival. One of the surest places to start your festival food tour is with a famous garbage plate from Nick Tahou’s. The Bacon Dog stand will be offering an equally indulgent Peanut Butter and Spicy Jelly Bacon Dog for anyone who’s had their fill of garbage plates over the years.

But who’s really tired of garbage plates? Certainly not us. For dessert, you can try the Rochester Garbage Apple from the NY Apple Factory. This homemade caramel apple is covered with leftover toppings from their other tasty apples, resulting in the same type of delicious hodgepodge that makes a garbage plate. With all of this tasty sugar, be sure to take care of your chompers and follow the recommended twice-a-day brushing. Otherwise, you might be cursing the festival for your resulting toothache and trip to your local dentist.

Dental issues aside, there’s even more food to enjoy at this year’s Lilac Festival. If you’re a part of the 90% of U.S. households that regularly indulge in a sweet, frozen treat and want to do the same at the festival, keep an eye out for a few key vendors and food trucks. Frozen Flavors will have a stand of their own and Kona Ice will be serving their colorful shaved ice this year.

The possibilities for fun are practically endless at the Lilac Festival. Whether you hop from one live performance to another or decide to sample every bit of food from the local vendors, you’re sure to make memories that will last a lifetime. Or at least until next year’s festival.

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