A complete guide to 54 summer (and fall) festivals 


When the sun starts shining and the trees blossom, festival season is around the corner. Balmy evenings full of music. Greasy festival food. Walking it off while browsing rows upon rows of artists’ wares.

Last year a lot of the festivals that were put on hold by the pandemic came back in some form or another. This year, just about every one of them is back to its full, former glory, and the season looks, well, normal.

Here are the region’s festivals, in chronological order, with a new handy key to indicate some characteristics you can expect from each of them.

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Rochester Lilac Festival

May 12 through May 21
Our Flower City appropriately kicks off each festival season with the Lilac Festival at Highland Park. This year marks 125 years of the fest, featuring music, food trucks, vendors, and more. This year’s music lineup includes funky soul powerhouse Shine (May 13), singer-songwriter Mikaela Davis and Southern Star (May 15), tribute bands to Fleetwood Mac, Phish, The Grateful Dead, Queen, and more. There’s “Art in the Park,” the Lilac 5K & 10K, and, of course, more than 500 blossoming lilac shrubs. rochesterevents.com/lilac-festival

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Rochester Dachshund Parade

May 13
This month the Rochester Dachshund Parade celebrates 21 years of its annual fashion show and stroll around Washington Square Park. Get your noodle pup primped and costumed, and head down to the square at 10 a.m. to sing traditional Dachshund songs and make new friends before partaking in the 11:30 a.m. parade. All dog lovers welcome. Organizations dedicated to the relief of animal suffering will be on site. The event takes place rain or shine, although high winds have delayed the event in the past to protect the little stars of the show! dachshundparade.com

Finger Lakes Celtic Games & Festival
May 20
Lincoln Hill Farms in Canandaigua hosts this annual celebration of Celtic culture, featuring Highland heavy games, bag pipes, Celtic music, dance, demonstrations, a large gathering of Scottish Clans, historical and heritage societies, artisans’ wares, activities for kids, and more. Mayo for Sam! flceltic.org

Geneva Music Festival
May 21 through June 11
This year’s theme of “Gods, Myths, and The Divine” is simply ripe for spring and summer storytelling in tunes. The music lineup includes Iris Trio's “Blue Chapter” of its multi-year “Project Earth,” a chamber music prayer for global sustainability; two programs of legends and fairy tales from around the world told by strings and piano, and the beloved trad group The Brothers Blue. Returning artists include ATLYS and other favorites. Concerts take place at several venues in Geneva. genevamusicfestival.com

Tree Peony Festival of Flowers
Saturdays and Sundays, May 20 through June 4
For three weekends starting in late May, the private Linwood Gardens opens its grounds to the public for the blossoming of the tree peonies, which turn the already serene spot into a veritable paradise. The grounds are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekend, and reservations are required. Admission is a $10 suggested donation per adult (kids get in free) or $15 per adult if you’d like to take part in the guided historical tour. The tour lasts an hour and includes information about the history of the summer house, family, and gardens at 1912 York Road West, Linwood, Livingston County. Sweet Arts Bakery will be on site with light lunch and treats for purchase. More info at linwoodgardens.org/festival.

May 25 through May 28
Appropriately hosted in Corning, home of the Museum of Glass, GlassFest is a celebration of glassmaking. In addition to a Friday night “Featured Artist Stroll” — where you can watch live glassmaking and shop for finished wares — there’s live music, including a performance by ’90s rockers Fuel, food, drinks, fireworks, and more. gafferdistrict.com/events/glassfest-2023

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Annunciation Rochester Greek Festival

June 1 through June 4
Spanakopita, gyros, lamb shanks, flaming cheese, dancing, refreshing drinks, kids' activities, and shopping at the Greek marketplace await at the Greek Orthodox Church, 962 East Ave. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. rochestergreekfestival.com

Fairport Canal Days
June 2 through June 4
Fairport Canal Days returns for its 46th year with three days of music, food vendors, and art merchants, as well as the popular Erie Canal rubber duck race for charity. Kick things off with the Chicken BBQ Friday night, shop on Saturday, and stick around for Canal Night featuring live entertainment. fairportcanaldays.com

19th Ward Square Fair
June 3
Each first Saturday in June, the 19th Ward Association hosts the Square Fair, a neighborhood festival celebrating community. The event is held in Aberdeen Square, 330 Post Ave., and opens with a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by games and activities for kids, local vendors, entertainment, and more until 4:30 p.m. A parade starts at 11 a.m., leaving from the 19th Ward Community Association office at 216 Thurston Road. 19wca.org

The Fast & the Furriest
June 3
A must-attend event for animal lovers, The Fast & The Furriest Dog Walk and Pet Fest returns for a 17th year, featuring a 5K and 10K walk, live music, food trucks, sponsor giveaways, vendors, pet contests, and other activities for families, including, of course, the furriest. A virtual option for the dog walks will be available for those who can’t attend in person. Proceeds from the race and fest help fund food, shelter, enrichment, and medical care for shelter animals, and support adoption, lost and found, and spay/neuter programs. The festival takes place from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Brown Square Park across from Rochester Animal Services,184 Verona St. vsas.org

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  • Photo by Mike Martinez
Rochester Cocktail Revival
June 5 through June 11
It's year 10 of the Rochester Cocktail Revival, the annual week-long celebration of the craft of spirits, artful concoctions, and delectable food pairings. Dozens of events, from seminars to tastings, pairing dinners, and a closing “Bar Room Battle Royale” take you on a tour of more than two dozen Rochester bars. This is one of the social events of the summer. rochestercocktailrevival.com

Maplewood Rose Festival
Dates TBD
If lilacs indicate springtime in Rochester, summer’s signal is the rose. Held in the peak of rose-blooming season since 1991, this annual showcase of the heavenly riverside garden and historic Maplewood neighborhood spotlights Rochester's history, ecology, people, and horticultural heritage. Stroll among more than 5,000 blossoms of 300 varieties while taking in refreshments, live music, tours, and more. maplewood.org/rose-festival

Adirondack Mountain Club's Outdoor Expo
June 10
If you dream of being outdoorsy, but feel a little out of your depth, head to the 24th annual Outdoor Expo. From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., you can partake in demonstrations and workshops for hiking, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, camping, bicycling, and other related outdoor activities, all presented by a variety of local clubs and organizations. Live entertainment will be provided by Golden Link Folk Singing Society. Sponsored by the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club and Monroe County Parks, the festival will take place at the beach area of Mendon Ponds Park, Douglas Road, Mendon. Admission is free. gvc-adk.org

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Rochester Real Beer Expo
June 10
For its 11th year, the annual celebration of suds is moving from its South Wedge stomping grounds to the concourse at Innovative Field. This showcase of 65 breweries, craft cideries, kombucha makers, and more is accompanied by live music and food vendors, and takes place from 6 to 10 p.m., with a VIP hour kicking off at 5. Tickets are $50-$70 ($10 for DD) and the event sells out every year. All proceeds from the event will still fund South Wedge projects like public art, community events, and neighborhood improvements. rochesterrealbeer.com

Low Bridge High Water
June 10
Low Bridge High Water is an annual celebration marking the opening of the navigation season of the Erie Canal. Held at the Brockport Welcome Center, the event features family activities, kayaking, biking, music, a Barge Charge 5K, and food. This year’s event marks Brockport’s bicentennial, when the Erie Canal terminated there for two years before it was completed to Buffalo. facebook.com/LowBridgeHighWater, brockportny.org

Keuka Arts Festival
June 10 and June 11
Festivities along the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail, just a short walk from downtown Penn Yan, include hundreds of fine arts and crafts vendors, food, wine, and live blues and jazz. The free event also features family activities, clowns, and art demonstrations. keukaartsfestival.com

Rochester Deaf Festival
June date TBA
The free, day-long family event features vendors and exhibitors, children’s programs, food trucks, and educational opportunities. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Genesee Valley Park, 1000 East River Road. rochesterdeaffestival.wordpress.com

Rochester Harborfest
June 23 through June 25
Marking the opening of the summer season at Ontario Beach, Rochester Harborfest features entertainment, professional sand sculpting demonstrations, a huge car show and a boat parade of lights, a volleyball tournament, children’s area, food vendors, tours of the historic lighthouse, free rides on the 117-year-old Dentzel Carousel, and more. cityofrochester.gov/harborfest

Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival
Dates and details TBA

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CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival

June 23 through July 1
Rochester’s Jazz Fest turns 20 this year, and Gibbs Street will once more be transformed into Jazz Street in mid-June. Among this year’s headliners are Keb’ Mo’ (June 23), Omara Portuondo (June 24), and Bonnie Rait (June 27). But with hundreds of acts at dozens of concert venues and clubs, there’s something for everyone. rochesterjazz.com

Dances at MuCCC
June 28 through July 1
The annual celebration of movement features a series of new contemporary performances by a variety of established and emerging choreographers and companies on the stage at 142 Atlantic Ave. This year’s highlights haven’t been announced yet, so check out muccc.org.

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ROC Pride

July 1 through July 15
Carrying on strong under the community-based coalition ROC Pride Collective, Rochester’s Pride Week includes the picnic, parade, and festival, along with an ImageOut film screening, a Pride Night with the Rochester Red Wings, Pride Day at Seabreeze, open mics, concerts, and dance parties. Watch for related events beginning in June, including a pop-up Pride Day at the Zoo. trilliumhealth.org

Sterling Renaissance Festival
Saturday and Sundays, July 1 through Aug. 17
Time may have stood still in the 1585 village world of the Sterling Renaissance Festival, but the outside world has changed dramatically since the festival’s founding 47 years ago. Escape into the simpler times of this recreation of Renaissance culture that includes themed weekends, artisan demos, jousting, giant turkey legs and tankards of beer, tea with Queen Elizabeth I, and more. Costumes are encouraged. Have fun with it at 15385 Farden Road in Sterling. sterlingfestival.com

Finger Lakes Wine Festival
July 8 and 9
Featuring more than 80 wineries, loads of regional artisans, music, classes, a grand prix race, and more, this is a celebration of the fruit of the vine that you can camp out at, if you so choose. The wine weekend is happening at Watkins Glen International Speedway, 2790 County Route 16). flwinefest.com

Corn Hill Arts Festival
July 8 and 9
One of Rochester’s most anticipated arts festivals turns 55 this year and it continues to provide one of the best bets for early holiday shopping. This massive artist showcase draws hundreds of vendors from across the country who gather on nine historic Corn Hill neighborhood streets for a weekend of art, music performances, food, a 5K race, and more. cornhillartsfestival.com

Douglass Week
July 10 through July 16
Now in its third year, Douglass Week is presented by nonprofits The Globe Lane Initiative, Frederick Douglass Family Initiative, and The Frederick Douglass Ireland Project, as well as a variety of scholars, artists, athletes, and other partners. The collaborative series of events celebrates the work and life of Frederick Douglass in different countries around the world, and includes in-person and virtual performances, creative installations, and critical discussions addressing the history and impact of Douglass in each location. douglassweek.org

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Canandaigua Art and Music Festival

July 14 through July 16
Well into its third decade, the celebration includes the work of more than 150 juried artists in every medium along with music, children’s activities, and food. The celebration takes place at and around 115 South Main St. in Canandaigua. canandaiguaartfestival.com

ChamberFest Canandaigua
July 15 through July 23
This week of concerts and educational events is focused on classical chamber music. Featured programs this year include “Ale-Legro: Classical Music and Beer” (July 16), A Classical Blue Jeans Concert with clarinetist Moran Katz pairing global food and fiery music (July 19), and a Children’s Concert (July 20). chamberfestcanandaigua.com

Macedonian Ethnic Festival
July 16 through July 18
Held at St. Dimitria Macedonian Orthodox Church on Telephone Road in West Henrietta, this annual celebration of Macedonian culture and heritage features music, dancing, and more. Check the festival site for the entertainment lineup, but expect uplifting music and dancing to help work off the Mediterranean fare and pastries. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. macedonianfest.com

Arts at the Gardens
July 22 and 23
Work from more than 100 artists fill the Sonnenberg Mansion and gardens, and the event includes a wine and beer garden, live music, and food. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park is located at 151 Charlotte St. in Canandaigua. Arts at the Gardens runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. sonnenberg.org

Seneca Falls Convention Days
July 21 through July 23
Commemorating the 175th anniversary of The Women’s Rights Convention, this year’s Convention Days will feature a special lineup of speakers and events on site at the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls. nps.gov/wori

Indigenous Music & Arts Festival
July 22 and 23
This annual celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous culture spotlights global native cultures through music, dance, storytelling, art, food, demonstrations, and family activities. The event will be held at at the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan. This year’s headliners are have not yet been announced, but they will be listed on Ganondagan’s website. The festival goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. ganondagan.org

Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show
July 29 and 30
This lakeside celebration marks its 50th year this summer. The annual event brings fine art, music, and food to the sparkling shore at Kershaw Park on Lakeshore Drive in Canandaigua. Admission is free. lakefrontartshow.com

Spencerport Canal Days
July 29 and 30
Browse the arts and crafts vendors, nosh on festival food, sip wine, and enjoy live entertainment at the 41st annual Canal Days. You can also indulge in an elegant carriage ride along Spencerport's scenic streets, participate in the canaligator race (like rubber duckies, but ‘gators), and check out the classic car show. Free admission. spencerportcanaldays.com

Waterfront Art Festival
July 29 and 30
Webster's Charles E. Sexton Memorial Park is the new location for this annual waterfront party that’s marking its 50th year. Previously it was held at North Ponds Park and, for the four decades prior, in Canandaigua. The event features hundreds of artists as well as live music, beer, wine, and cider, and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. waterfrontartfestival.com

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Skaneateles Festival
July 29 through Aug. 19
With a tagline of “World Class Musicians by the Lake,” you know you’re in for some serious entertainment at this four-week celebration of chamber music both classic and new. Running Thursdays through Saturdays for a month, this year’s schedule includes string quartets, folk flavors, tributes to Mozart with soprano Kearstin Piper Brown, and a performance by banjo king Béla Fleck. skanfest.org

Rochester Jewish Film Festival
July 31 through Aug. 6
The Rochester International Jewish Film Festival screens contemporary films telling the stories of Jewish people from around the world, and hosts related events such as talkbacks with filmmakers and social events. When it is released, the schedule of films will be available at rjff.org

St. Stanislaus Polish Arts Festival
Dates TBA
This parish festival features Polish food, live music, and outdoor activities. St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, 1150 Hudson Ave. polishartsfest.org

Lima Crossroads Blues Festival
Aug. 3 through Aug. 6
Just a short jaunt over to Livingston County yields a blues festival that’s worth the trip. This year’s lineup has yet to be announced, but expect both regional and national acts, family events and activities for kids, a BBQ cookoff, and more. limafest.org

Pan Afrikan Festival
Aug. 5
Formerly called the Afrikan American Festival, this one-day event presented by Rochester A.B.O.V.E. celebrates the various cultures of the African diaspora through entertainment and education. In addition to live music acts there will be a literature tent, a space for health screenings, vendors, food, and a children’s play area. panaffestival.org

Pageant of Steam
Aug. 9 through Aug. 12
Now in its 63rd year, this showcase of antique steam-powered vehicles also features tractor pulls, sawmill demonstrations, a chainsaw carvings auction, live music, food, and a gigantic flea market that is worth the trip even if you don’t care about the big cool machines. The Pageant of Steam runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day at 3349 Gehan Road in Canandaigua. nysteamengineassociation.com/pageant-of-steam

Avon Rotary Corn Festival
Aug. 12
Is it really summer if you haven’t had a steaming ear of corn dripping with butter (or whatever fixin’s you favor)? Even if you don’t partake in the featured corn-eating contest, you can enjoy the arts and crafts, live entertainment, and games. Free of charge, the festival takes place on Genesee Street in the Village of Avon. avonrotary.org

Brockport Arts Festival
Aug. 12 and Aug. 13
Now in its 27th year, the festival sees Main Street in Brockport filled with artists selling their wares, live music, a rubber duck race on the canal, food — including a wine garden and farmers' market — and a vintage car cruise-in. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, and admission is free. brockportartsfestival.com

Rochester Ukrainian Festival
Dates TBA
St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Church on East Ridge Road in Irondequoit hosts a free celebration of traditional Ukrainian arts, food, and culture with Ukrainian folk dancers and musicians, a church tour, and more. rochesterukrainianfestival.com

Flower City Brewers Fest
Aug. 18
Rohrbach Brewing Company hosts this beer festival at the Rochester Public Market. The brew fest brings together top-notch beers from New York breweries, food, and music. Cheers! flourcitybrewersfest.com

Puerto Rican Festival
Dates TBA
This vibrant, family-friendly celebration of Puerto Rican culture features music, food, dancing, youth boxing, and celebrity guests takes place in the VIP parking lot of Innovative Field (the new name for Frontier Field) The dates and lineup will be available at facebook.com/prfest once they are released.

Rochester Summer Soul Music Festival
Aug. 18 and 19
Lovers of soul music will want to head to Innovative Field for the return of the Rochester Summer Soul Music Festival. This year’s lineup is TBA, but it will be posted at rocsummersoulfest.com once it is available.

Highland Greek Fest
Dates TBA
For the past few years, this festival has entailed placing a takeout order of delectable Greek foods. Check the website to learn what shape it will take this summer. highlandgreekfest.com

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Turtle Hill Folk Festival
Sept. 8 and 9
This one’s for the Folkies! This annual celebration of traditional and contemporary tunes features evening concerts on both days, workshops and small presentations during the day on Saturday, and many informal opportunities for performers and audience members to sing and play music together. The festival takes place at the Rotary Sunshine Campus, 809 Five Points Road, Rush. Organizers are finalizing contracts with performers, so look for the lineup at goldenlink.org.

Clothesline Arts Festival
Sept. 9 and 10
For more than 60 years, Clothesline has showcased fine artists and craftspeople on the lawn of the Memorial Art Gallery. In addition to more than 400 artists from around the country, there will be music and dance performances, food, art-making activities, and more. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. mag.rochester.edu/events/clothesline-festival

Rochester Fringe Festival
Sept. 12 through Sept. 23
The Fringe Festival is an annual whirlwind of arts performances. Though this is the 12th year of Rochester's festival, the origins of Fringe date to 1947, in Edinburgh, Scotland, where eight cast-aside theater groups crashed the newly established Edinburgh International Festival, performing on “the fringe” of the festival. Today more than 200 cities worldwide have a Fringe Festival, and Rochester’s has expanded from its original five days to 12 days of artistic performances and interactive events at multiple downtown venues. Stay tuned for the lineup of acts at rochesterfringe.com.

Festival of Food
Date TBA
For $50 you get to spend an early fall evening tasting food and beverages prepared by area eateries set up throughout the Rochester Public Market on North Union St. All proceeds benefit Foodlink. From 6 to 9 p.m. foodlinkny.org

Gateways Music Festival
Oct. 17 through Oct. 20
With a mission of connecting and supporting classical musicians of African descent, the Gateways Music Festival takes place in Rochester, New York, D.C., and Chicago. In Rochester, this year’s fest presents performances by the Gateways Brass Collective, lectures, a screening of “Chevalier,” and more. In partnership with Eastman School of Music and The Hochstein School. gatewaysmusicfestival.org

Rebecca Rafferty is an arts writer for CITY. She can be reached at [email protected].
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