ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Lilac Festival will be here next week to celebrate springtime in Upstate New York. This will be the 125th time that the event is being held.

This year, the festival will begin on Friday, May 12, and will end on Sunday, May 21. The festival is open during those days between 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The public is invited to check out the largest collection of lilacs in North America. According to the festival, over 1,800 bushes and over 500 different varieties of lilacs will be showcased at the festival.

Kucko’s Lilac Pics from Highland Park (May 5, 2023)

This year, the festival’s theme is “Partners with a Purpose,” and the community announced a “Giving Garden” art installation project.

However, lilacs aren’t the only thing attendees can look forward to. During the 10-day spring celebration, there will be multiple events, vendors, and shows for visitors to enjoy. Below is a breakdown of the festival’s main events and concerts, as well as parking information, a map of the festival grounds, and vendors.

Festival Schedule:

Concert List:

Mikaela Davis performing at the 2022 Rochester Lilac Festival (News 8 WROC)

Festival organizers released the concert line-up for the festival in early March, with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong being announced later as a surprise headliner on the first day of the festival.

Each of the below concerts is free to attend, however, those looking for a more “elevated” experience can purchase a VIP ticket to view the concert on a party deck.

All proceeds made from the VIP tickets for the concert on May 15 will go directly towards 490Farmers — a community garden on state-owned land.

Date:Supporting Talent:Headliners:
May 12 4 pm: Personal Blend
5:30 pm: Sneezy
7 pm: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
May 133 pm: MoChester
4:30 pm: Shine
6 pm: Zac Brown Tribute Band
May 141 pm: Sofrito
2:30 pm: BB Dang
4 pm: The Iguanas
6 pm: The Seven Wonders
May 154 pm: Big Blue House
5:15 pm: Public Water Supply
7 pm: Mikaela Davis
May 164 pm: Digglers Bridge
5:30 pm: Organ Fairchild
7 pm: Sam Grisman Project
May 174 pm: Inside Out
5:30 pm: Root Shock
7 pm: Blue Sky Brothers
May 184 pm: Mothership
5:30 pm: Stunt Double
7 pm: Almost Queen
May 193:45 pm: Steve Grills and the Roadmasters5 pm: The Founders
7 pm: The Record Company
May 202 pm: Hello City
3:30 pm: The Medicinals
5 pm: Shamarr Allen
7 pm: Big Eyed Phish
May 211 pm: Head to the Roots
2:30 pm: Vintage Pistol
4 pm: Judah
5:30 pm: Workingman’s Dead
7 pm: Into the Now

Special Events:

Saturday, May 13:

  • The Lilac Parade will be held at 10:30 a.m. The parade will begin on South Avenue at Science Parkway before heading towards Highland Avenue and ending near Goodman St.
  • The 2023 Lilac Wine Tasting Expo will take place through two separate sessions. The first session will be between 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. while the second session will be 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. If you can’t wait for this event, you can purchase VIP tickets and enjoy the event an hour early.
  • Art in the Park is a juried art show featuring original work from across the nation. The show will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and continue on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The 2022 Rochester Lilac Parade (News 8 WROC Photo)

Wednesday, May 17:

  • Seniors Day will feature special entertainment on the Lilac Center Stage, lunch specials, and more time to view the gardens and lilacs. The main stage entertainment will begin at 10:30 a.m.
(Photo courtesy of Rochester Lilac Festival Craft Beer Expo)

Saturday, May 20:

  • The Rochester Lilac Craft Beer Festival will take place between 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The expo will feature many breweries, craft cider makers, and distilleries. If you want to attend either session earlier, you can purchase a VIP ticket online to attend an hour early. All tickets are available online.
  • The Lilac Health & Wellness Expo, presented by Evans Bank and Whole Foods, features products related to health, self-care, nutrition, weight loss, and personal development. The expo will be held on May 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on May 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Additionally, there will be free fitnesses classes in front of the Lilac Main Stage with a schedule found here.
The 2019 Lilac Festival 5K & 10K (News 8 WROC)

Sunday, May 21 (Last Day!):

  • The Lilac 5K/10K, presented by the JCC of Greater Rochester, will be held starting at 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Big Top Tent. The event will benefit Champion Academy, an organization aiming to help teens overcome trauma. Registration is available on the event’s website.
  • The Dunkin’ Dash, another race held this day, is for people of all ages and will provide donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts. Those who participate in the race will get a donut and a T-shirt. The dash begins at 11:30 a.m. through 12 p.m.

Festival Map:


Organizers say that if you want to park close to the festival grounds this year, the parking rate will be $10 a day. If you wish to utilize public parking, the festival’s website lists some options:

  • The first option is located adjacent to and east of 1000 Elmwood Avenue just south of the Lilac Festival.
  • The other option on Elmwood Ave. is the former Psych Center (1111 Elmwood Ave)
  • The third option is at 1065 Elmwood Avenue along Goodman Street. The website says this lot is only available on weekends only.

A shuttle service will also be available at 1111 Elmwood Avenue and will operate from 12 p.m. until 9 p.m. Pick-up and drop-off will be at the entrance of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Signs will be posted.

Food Vendors:

The festival will feature a multitude of food vendors and trucks located throughout the many areas of the festival grounds — located at the Purple Crosswalk, Beyond the Arches, Garden Battles Loop, the Big Top Food Tent, the traffic circle trail, and near the arts and crafts show.

Below is a list of each area’s food vendors:

Purple Crosswalk:

  • Avenue 29 Foods (Salads and impossible meats)
  • Big Kahuna Smoothies.
  • Cinnamon Roasted Almonds.
  • Debbie’s Concessions.
  • Eat Greek.
  • Frozen Dreams.
  • Henry’s Kettle Corn.
  • Ice Cream N Chill.
  • Nancy’s (Fried dough, quesadillas, and lemonade)
  • Rita’s Italian Ice.
  • Rudy’s Bubble Tea.
  • Sonny’s Landing (Hot dogs and hamburgers)

Beyond the Arches:

  • Le Petit Poutine.
  • Marty’s Meats.
  • Munchies Roc City Empanadas.
  • Wraps on Wheels.

Big Top Food Tent:

  • Abbott’s.
  • Big Kahuna. (Gyros)
  • Bloomin Onions.
  • Effortlessly Healthy (Wraps)
  • Neno’s (Mexican gourmet)
  • Oberst Concessions (Chicken sandwiches, stuffed baked potatoes, and corn on the cob)
  • Red Osier (Roast beef)
  • Rob’s Kabobs.
  • Rochester Hots.
  • KO-BQ (Korean barbecue)
  • Steve and Al’s Steakout (Steak bombers)
  • Turkey Legs.

The Traffic Circle Trail:

  • Oberst Concessions.
  • Mary’s Foods (Sausages, hot dogs, and burgers)
  • The Big Cheese.
  • Mediterranean Cuisine.
  • Nancy’s.
  • JMB Concessions.

Arts and Crafts Show:

  • Dainty Donut Factory.
  • Kona Ice.
  • Macarollin.
  • Roc City Sammich.
  • Travelin Tom’s Coffee.
  • Tuscan Wood-Fired Pizza.
  • Wraps on Wheels.
  • KO-BQ.
  • Melt Truck ROC.
  • Effortlessly Healthy.
  • Chef’s Catering.