ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — Those setting up their stands at the Corn Hill Art Festival believe this will be a major boost to their business, which they’ve been looking for after the festival was canceled for the past two years, reminding them how art brings life to downtown Rochester every summer.  

Making the trip from Albany, Debi Hitter will display and offer her handmade walking sticks that are labeled with positive messages or symbols to illustrate people’s lives. She said a return to the Corn Hill Art Festival is crucial for her business.

“This is all I do for a living so I count on this,” Hitter said. “When the weather is bad you make up for it in other shows, but I have had friends who called it quits which is hard because it’s a family out here.” 

Elyse LeBeau, who sells handmade plant and wall hangers designed entirely by rope, is a public-school teacher. She’s itching for a large turnout since all her sales go towards making ends meet over the summer and paying for classroom supplies.  

“What I do during craft festivals helps make ends meet during the summer,” LeBeau said. “So this is huge for my family and me.”  

Nearly 300 artists are expected to set up this year, along with several live music performances and food vendors. All proceeds for the Corn Hill Community go back into their neighborhood budgets, which relies heavily on this festival returning.  

“It was a little challenging, but, thankfully, we have a great neighborhood association over many years,” Corn Hill Arts Festival Chair Bill Belecz said. “So, we were able to accumulate a “rainy day fund” so we were able to sustain some of the programs that we have. We have a beautification program, we have a pet tech team, we have security, we have philanthropy.”  

The festival kicks off on Saturday and goes on through Sunday beginning at 10:00 a.m. Festival organizers request you park downtown around the public parking garages where they’ll have free shuttle buses to take you over to the neighborhood.