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.
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 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 will be booths selling:
Pieces crafted from wood
Body care products
Fiber accessories, apparel, and crafts
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Howard Nielsen, owner of Sticky Lips BBQ, is currently in the process of renovating the 33,000 square foot building at the corner of Culver and Atlantic. He plans to rebrand the complex into a neighborhood entertainment district called “Photo City Junction” (derived from Rochester’s history in film and camera manufacturing).
Last week Nielsen went to New York City to speak at the NY State Wage Board hearings. He says his concerns for New York State’s proposed minimum wage increase led him to represent business owners like himself. Nielsen sent a copy of his speech from June 15 to RochesterSubway.com. Here it is in its entirety…
Danielle Raymo and Stephanie Rankin, two recent college grads, have just opened a new and exciting business in Village Gate. Rochester Brainery brings fun and affordable learning experiences to the public with sort of a no-strings attached philosophy. They seek out people in the community to come in and run educational workshops on various topics of interest, and anyone can sign up to take a class…
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