Lilac Festival Brings Big Crowds and Revenue to Rochester

- As the crowds trickle in the economic impact of the Lilac Festival goes far beyond the event itself.

People are staying in Rochester hotels and eating at local restaurants and that means a big economic boom for the city. If the average family is spending $50 a day or more at the lilac festival, and this event lasts ten days, you can imagine how much money is flowing to the area.

"It's about a $3 million economic impact for our area," Visit Rochester President Don Jeffries said. "It's a fun event. It's a free family event and great economically for our city and country."

Every year thousands of people wantder around Highland Park for the first festival of the summer season, the Lilac Festival. That includes 20,000 from out of town, like Alan Baris from Ontario, Canada who makes the three hour drive one every two years.

"We don't have anything like this back in Ontario," Baris said. "The food and music are great."

Mark Polizzi is the owner of Chef Marcos. He makes famous homemade gnocchi fresh at the festival daily. He goes through over 100 pounds of chicken for a crowd that keeps wanting more.

"I've served people from Germany, all over the world, not just in the country," Polizzi said. "People come from all over to see the lilacs here in Rochester."

Henry's kettle corn is also making a profit. The festival is full of die hard kettle corn lovers.

"It gets pretty ridiculous," Henry's employee Eric Fiot said. "People wait in line and yesterday with the crazy storm, as it passed through people were still in line."

Henry's goes through fifteen 50 pound bags a day. The lilac fest is the first of 147 Rochester festivals that draw in the cash and the crowds.

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