10 Popular Festivals In Rochester, New York

festivals in rochester ny
Ryan Joshua
Ryan Joshua

The city of Rochester in New York is known for its very long yet unique history and culture. It might have be known before as the biggest producer of flour in the whole United States, but now, the city is known for the wide variety of festivals, exhibitions, and performances that are being held in the city all throughout the year. In fact, the majority of the tourists that come to the city come to experience the unique and fun festivals that are being held. Planning to celebrate and take part in the festivals in the city? Here are just some of the most popular festivals in Rochester, New York.

1. Turtle Hill Folk Festival

Celebrate the beauty of folk music for all the folks at the annual Turtle Hill Folk Festival. This three-day festival organized by the Golden Link Folk Singing Society features camping, sing-alongs and jamming around the fire, workshops, and performances by some of the best folk singers in the country. If you are a huge fan of fiddle and banjo music, or you just love the sound of the guitar being strummed, then you should definitely take part in this festival.

Turtle Hill Folk Festival

Takes Place: September

2. Rochester Lilac Festival

The Rochester Lilac Festival is a festival that celebrates art, music, food, and flora in the city. It is held in May every year at Rochester’s Highland Park, where you can find a vast garden of lilacs, which include more than 1,800 bushes and around 500 different varieties. The annual celebration is usually started with a parade. The whole festival week is also filled with concerts and other enjoyable events. You can also tour the Highland Park arboretum free of charge. There are also a lot of food stands and vendors surrounding the arboretum.

Rochester Lilac Festival

Website: Rochester Lilac Festival

Takes place: May

3. Rochester International Jazz Festival

The Rochester International Jazz Festival is one of the most popular jazz festivals around the world. Enjoy amazing music from rising jazz stars to legendary performers. Explore the world of music and hear songs from all around the globe at this festival. Since the Rochester International Jazz Festival is one of the world’s most sought international film festivals, expect that there will be huge crowds, especially those that are waiting for the hundreds of free shows that will be held during the festival.

Rochester International Jazz Festival

Website: Rochester International Jazz Festival

Takes place: June

4. Corn Hill Arts Festival

Celebrate art by taking part in the annual Corn Hill Arts Festival. It is one of Rochester’s most favorite summer arts festivals that is being held every July of the year at the historic Corn Hill neighborhood. The festival features hundreds of original arts and artsmen spread on over nine streets in the neighborhood. Festivalgoers are more than welcome to explore the festival, shop, relax and have a good time at the beer and wine gardens, and listen to good music at one of the stages. Kids also get to enjoy the festival at the annual Fairy Houses tour, climbing platforms, bounce houses, and many more.

Corn Hill Arts Festival

Website: Corn Hill Arts Festival

Takes place: July

5. Gateways Music Festival

Held every August of the year, the six-day Gateways Music Festival is a celebration of the participation and contribution of the African-American classical musicians. Around a hundred musicians from around the United States are expected to take part in the festival and perform for thousands of spectators of different ethnicities.

Gateways Music Festival

Website: Gateways Music Festival

Takes place: August

6. Rochester Fringe Festival

Since its inception in 2012, the Rochester Fringe Festival has been one of the most attended fringe festivals in the United States. The festival is a ten-day event being held every September of the year and features hundreds of performances in theater, art galleries, cafes, pop up shows on streets, parking lots and even tents across the East End and the Neighborhood of the Arts District in Downtown Rochester.

Rochester Fringe Festival

Website: Rochester Fringe Festival

Takes place: September

7. Five Star Bank Party in the Park

For nine weeks during summer, the Martin Luther King Jr. Park becomes a music haven every Thursday. Hosted by the City of Rochester, the Five Star Bank Party in the Park concert series features a wide variety of music such as blues, rock, funk, reggae, and classic rock performed by some of the world’s best performers, singers, and bands. Enjoy your summer with fun and music as you gather with other devoted music fans at the Five Star Bank Party.

Five Star Bank Party in the Park

Takes place: June - August

8. Rochester Fashion Week

Launched in 2010, the Rochester Fashion Week aims to promote the local fashion scene to the community of Rochester through this three-day event. The festival features local designers, boutiques, businesses, artists and models while putting importance on youth homelessness. All the proceeds that will be collected during this festival will be used to continue to bring awareness and financial support to the homeless programs of The Center of Youth.

Rochester Fashion Week

Website: Rochester Fashion Week

Takes place: October

9. Rochester Festival of Lights and North Pole Village

First stop Downtown Rochester and their Festival of lights

Posted by Lillia Flores-Lawson on Saturday, 21 December 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! Rochester has a very amazing way to celebrate Christmas through its annual Rochester Festival of Lights and North Pole Village. Kids and the kids at heart will surely be amazed at the Rochester Festival of Lights and North Pole Village, which starts as soon as the sun goes down. You will surely enjoy a mile full of bright and shining lights with very festive holiday-themed exhibits and displays. There’s also the North Pole Village at The Dome Arena where you will surely enjoy the special indoor light show, take the most memorable family holiday photos, decorate Christmas cookies, and much more.

Rochester Festival of Lights and North Pole Village

Takes place: late November - December

10. Rochester International Film Festival

The Rochester International Film Festival is known as one of the longest-running short film festivals in the world. Produced and presented by Movies on a Shoestring, Inc. since its inception in 1959, the festival features different narrative films, documentaries, and animations from different independent filmmakers from all around the world. The festival is being held every year at the Dryden Theater of the George Eastman Museum.

Rochester International Film Festival

Website: Rochester International Film Festival

Enjoy the celebrations in Rochester

Rochester NY Skyline
Source: Photo by user Theresa Marconi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

With the number of festivals in Rochester, you will surely have fun in the city all year long. Make sure to plan your trip to the city during these festivals and have even more fun while you are in Rochester.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Ryan is a Computer Engineer with a heart for traveling and writing. Born in Pasay City, Philippines, and raised in Melbourne, Australia, he is now based in the Philippines' City of Smiles, Bacolod...Read more

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