Rochester Lilac Festival: Dates announced, free live outdoor music returns in 2022

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s not even winter yet, but it’s never too early to start thinking spring.

Organizers from the Rochester Lilac Festival announced Tuesday the dates for the 2022 event. The 124th annual Lilac Fest at Highland Park will follow the pattern of the 2021 iteration, which featured three consecutive weekends instead of the traditional ten consecutive days.

  • Week One: May 6-8
  • Week Two: May 12-15
  • Week Three: May 19-22

The three-weekend format was instituted for COVID-19 precautions, but organizers and officials hailed it as a success, and say it will be continued to accommodate pandemic safety requirements.

“The weekend format was such a success that we will continue it next year for the 124th Annual event,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “In our bicentennial year, the Lilac Festival takes on even more important celebration as we pivot from the pandemic to Bring Monroe Back and Plan Forward to our next 200 years. This community is primed and ready to celebrate the incredible quality of life we enjoy in Monroe County —and I know we all look forward to enjoying the Lilac Festival next year. ”

“By focusing on weekends when our families can best enjoy the Lilac Festival, we have breathed new life and excitement into one of our City’s premier events,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “I can’t wait to see the lilacs in bloom and our community enjoying the annual kick-off to our great festival season, especially with the return of the parade, concerts and, of course, the beauty of Highland Park in spring!”

Lilac Festival’s return in 2021 was one of the first local, large-scale community events to return amid the pandemic, and by adopting the three-weekend format, organizers say it is the largest, 11-day free festival in the United States.

The festival draws more than 500,000 visitors annually, organizers said, and some of the event’s favorite activities will return in 2022, including free live outdoor music. According to organizers:

  • Free Live Outdoor Music: Free live music will once again grace the center stage at the upcoming Lilac Festival, along with VIP upgrade experiences. The official music line-up is scheduled to be announced in early 2022.
  • Lilac Run at Highland Park: The Lilac Run returns to its normal format after a one-year hiatus from Highland Park due to capacity restrictions. Registration is now open. Sign up here to register.
  • The Lilac Festival Parade: The parade will make a triumphant return with more than 125 marching units more than 3,200 participating groups.
  • Wine & Beer Expos: These classics are returning in 2022 with expanded footprint and selections adding to their original flavor and style.
  • Champion Academy Partnership: Last year, Festivalgoers donated $3,500 to the Champion Academy through a benefit concert and Lilac race registrations. The charitable partnerships will continue and expand next year. “

Due to COVID concerns, last year’s event did not have the free live outdoor music that Lilacgoers have grown to love throughout the years, and instead the festival offered paid, ticketed concerts in a special events tent on the Highland Park grounds.


Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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