Rochester Lilac Festival: thousands of fragrant lilacs, live entertainment featuring national headliners, children’s amusements, arts and crafts, home and garden show, wine & beer tastings and more.
May 6th-15th at Highland Park in Rochester NY (10:30am to 8:30pm daily). FREE ADMISSION.
I think around here we get pretty spoiled by all the garden and arboretum choices to visit— we don’t even realize how lucky we are, and how many people travel a good ways to see the natural beauty that’s in our backyard.
That being said, it’s still worthwhile to take some daytrips or weekenders here and there to check out the flora in other areas! This year is the 118th Rochester Lilac Festival and it’s the first time I’ve ever even heard of it. It takes place May 6th through the 15th in Rochester NY and features more than 500 varieties of lilacs on 1,200 plants. That’s a lot of lilacs, people.
The 10-day festival is FREE and held at Highland Park, designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Special events include the televised Lilac Parade, a Wine Tasting & Farmer’s Market, Lilac Brew Fest, Home & Garden Show, Seniors Day, and the Highland Hospital Lilac 10K and 5K. There will be more than 50 musical performances.
The full list of musical acts has yet to be announced— it’ll be revealed in its entirety the first week of April—but seven of the fourteen headliners have been announced:
- Sheepdogs – May 7th
- Los Straightjackets – May 8th
- NRBQ – May 8th
- Gaelic Storm – May 9th
- Matisyahu – May 10th
- Eilen Jewell – May 11th
- Rusted Root – May 12th
The Home & Garden Show takes place on Saturday and Sunday, May 7th and 8th. There will be a variety of experts ready to answer your questions, plus celebrity guests Wayde King and Brett Raymer, stars of Animal Planet’s hit TV show “Tanked.” Tickets are $8 per person, kids 8 and under are free.
For $15 per person, you can check out the Wine Tasting & Farmer’s Market on Thursday and Friday, May 12th and 13th. Sample and purchase from 30 award-winning wineries offering 150 varietals to taste; pair them up with the natural artisan cheeses that will be available at the market. Obviously you need to be over 21 with valid ID.
The Lilac Brew Fest on the 14th allows you to sample from 100 artisan craft beers from 30+ breweries and cideries. Tickets are $35 per person and include a 5 oz. tasting glass with a 2 oz. pour line. “Designated driver” tickets are also available.
Art in the Park at the Rochester Lilac Festival features the handmade creations of more than 160 artists, makers, designers and craftspeople. Shop one of a kind pieces: ceramics, drawings, graphics, fiber, glass, jewelry, sculpture, wood and mixed media along with specialty packaged foods and body care products. Art in The Park happens on both weekends— Saturday, May 7th and 14th from 10:30am to 6pm and Sunday, May 8th and 15th from 10:30am to 5pm.
Immersed in the sight and smell of lilacs, the sound of music, with some spirits and shopping to boot: sounds like a pretty good way to spend a spring day to me.
For more info or to buy tickets for special events, check out http://www.lilacfestival.com/ before you go.
Photo credits: Liz Gareri