ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The annual Lilac Festival is making a full return this year with all its usual offers from retail and food vendors, live music, games and more.
When walking through the park you can feel the excitement building up as crews set up all the tents and rides to welcome around 500,000 people this year. This time around there are no covid regulations.
Over the last eight months, festival organizers with Rochester Events have been working to welcome back several hundred vendors. Since no crowd control measures need to be taken, fans are free to crowd around the stage for live music, and games can be played anywhere in the park without needing a ticket.
“The music lineup this year is stellar, and we have over 75 bands playing this year,” Jenny LoMaglio with Rochester Events said. “Going every day for free 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day we have blues traveler on opening night.”
Elizabeth Tanner with Heidi Jo’s Beef Jerky came all this way from New Hampshire to treat festival-goers with special kinds of hot sauces made from secret family recipes. She feels her business was saved when the Lilac Festival returned with all its specialties.
“Seeing human beings again outside and since this festival is outside a lot of people should be unmasked,” Tanner said. “Which will be nice to see and smile because the kids are happy, and you can see that now.”
Instead of going on for ten straight days, the Lilac Festival begins this Friday and goes on through Sunday. Then picks back up Thursday through Sunday on the second and third weekend of May. Vendors like Michael Blackburn feel this saves businesses by keeping them open only when it is busy.
“It helps out with not being such a long time away from home in one spot and dodges any severe weather hopefully,” Blackburn said. “Get more people who couldn’t come out another opportunity.”
From pulling up to the parking lots and into the festival grounds, organizers also have constant security protocols in place.
“We have security inside the park, outside of the park,” LoMaglio said. “You may see them, or you may not see them. We have had no issues and have an age rule if you are a minor, you must be accompanied by an adult.”
On weekends, festival organizers will have shuttle services to bus people to and from Monroe County Community College’s main campus to avoid traffic.
Each day the Lilac Festival begins at 10:30 a.m. and goes on until 8:30 p.m.
A full schedule and list of events for the Lilac Festival can be found here.