ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Rochester Mayor Malik Evans hosted a press conference Thursday to announce details regarding this year’s Harborfest celebrations.

Harborfest is set to kick off on Friday, June 17, and run through Sunday, June 19 at Ontario Beach Park along with the adjacent Port of Rochester area.

After a hiatus of more than 10 years, the event officially returns to the area’s waterfront.

“For many years the Harborfest was the signature event opening the summer season at the beach,” Jim Farr, chairperson of Ontario Beach Park program committee said. “We’d get a quarter-million people down here. I was telling some folks before, I don’t know how we did it.”

This year’s version of the festival will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of Monroe County and the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse and feature live musical entertainment each day.

A professional sand sculpting demonstration is expected to be the stand-out attraction. That demonstration will feature a massive replica of the lighthouse constructed with tons of sand.

“We are not telling you what it’s going to be, but it’s gonna weigh more than 40 tons,” Farr said. “A world-renowned sand sculpture is going to start the building process Monday.”

There will also be a sand-sculpting workshop at 10 a.m. Saturday and an amateur sand-sculpting contest from 9 a.m. to 4 .m. that same day. The contest is open to the public and will offer cash prizes, plus a “crown” for Rochester’s official Sand Champion.

There will also be a car show and a boat parade of lights Saturday, and a display of antique fire equipment will be featured on Sunday.

Firefighters with the Rochester Fire Department will be the crown jewel of the parade. Members will lead the boat parade before spraying spectators with water cannons.

Other activities, according to Visit Rochester, will include a beach volleyball tournament, a 5k/10k run, food and merchandise vendors, as well as tours of the historic lighthouse.

“If you’re spending your summertime in Rochester, and you can’t find something fun to do, you are not looking hard enough,” Evans said.

There will also be a children’s area with free rides on the historic 116-year-old Dentzel carousel, plus street entertainers busking along the boardwalk.

Bello said giving back to the community and highlighting the unique qualities of Rochester is something the county is proud to take advantage of.

“We have a lot to celebrate in our future,” Bello said. “When we think about our parks and having events that are free and open to everyone. Monroe County is intentionally investing a lot more in our park system.”

“Rochester is a festival town, and next weekend it’s going to be on full display,” Evans said.

Area businesses are set to feature food and beverage specials all weekend in anticipation of the festival.


You can view the full press conference below:


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