ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Tuesday marks day one of Rochester’s 2022 Fringe Festival and businesses in the area of East Avenue and Gibbs Street say they’re eagerly anticipating a boost in customers.

This year’s iteration will be the first full-blown Fringe Fest since before the pandemic. In 2020 organizers kept it online-only, and in 2021, the event was hybrid. Owner of Ludwig’s Center Stage Café Emma Goole says for a typical year, hundreds of people can be spotted in the streets.

She says the family-owned café has been on Gibbs Street since 2012. The past few years have been challenging, with the pandemic, staffing shortages, and other festivals taking hiatus.

“We were closed for most of it, then we would reopen, and close again,” she said. “We lost most of our employees during that.”

But this year feels reminiscent to pre-pandemic times.

“So we’re excited for Fringe,” she said. “That’s a thing we’re used to, really nice to have back.”

Organizers say after last year’s hybrid run, many performing artists have been eager to get back at it — acts ranging from music, comedy, theater and dance.

Michael O’Leary, owner of Temple Bar and Grille says the strip of businesses on East Avenue, needs all the help it can get with the effects of construction, inflation, and the pandemic still looming.

“All the businesses here used to be open for lunch,” said O’Leary. “Now very few of us are.”

He’s hopeful for these next few weeks, though. Especially with some new businesses setting up shop in the neighborhood, soon.

“We’re hoping for some big things, and hoping people come down and enjoy the festival.”

O’Leary says unlike Ludgwig’s, they did not experience a surge in traffic for the Jazz Fest. The reason, due to organizers moved it down a few blocks towards Parcel 5. He’s hoping next year, they might be able to move vendors and musical acts more towards the bar district.

For more info on the festival, head over to this link or click here for more specific acts.