NOT (A) Festival, It’s A Party: unique neighborhood event this Sunday

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s a “festival” that takes it’s name from a beer, according to festival organizer and unofficial Minister of Mayhem at Three Heads Brewing, Geoff Dale.

“We’re calling it ‘NOT (A) Festival It’s a Party.’ We have a beer we make celebrating the area, called the N.O.T.A pilsner, but everyone comes in and orders the ‘not a’ pilsner,” Dale said. “When we were talking about doing this idea for the festival, the city said we can’t call it a festival unless we get the permits for a bunch of things, so the name just wrote itself.”

The NOT (A) Festival, It’s a Party this Sunday celebrates the Neighborhood of the Arts in Rochester. Showing the art, the people, the businesses, the food and the drink — all within a handful of city blocks, and all of the people and businesses are local. It won’t look like your usual Rochester festival, either:

“It’s essentially a neighborhood-wide party. Instead of one long street with a bunch of tents, it’s a celebration of an actual neighborhood, where you walk from one part of the neighborhood to another,” said Aaron Metras, president of the NOTA Business Association. “NOTA is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city, has some of the most unique architecture, and we wanted to celebrate that. We wanted to get people out and about seeing and seeing things they may not normally see.”

There are seven ‘hubs’ that will serve as destination with different entertainment options throughout the day.


Dale and Metras think this neighborhood’s rise and success is replicable in other neighborhoods and cities across the state and country. By following artists, who bring creative and new ideas about food, drink, and architecture, any neighborhood can thrive:

“The NOTA neighborhood is really an example of what can happen in a community when you get artists moving into an area, you get people that care about the city moving into the area, and really turning their neighborhood around into something special,” Dale said.

“This neighborhood was a much different neighborhood 20 years ago, and due to some major investment by a lot of the businesses here, it really turned around, and they followed the artists, and let the artists do their thing, celebrated them and now this is one of the most desired neighborhoods in Rochester,” Metras said.

More than anything else, Dale and Metras want to bring people back to the neighborhood after last weekend’s incidents at Park Ave. Festival, and to instill a bit of hometown pride.

“I want people to have pride in Rochester,” Dale said. “For a long time, it’s always been a battle. Growing up, a lot of people used to bad-mouth Rochester, it was the common thing. In the last ten years, people are starting to really see how amazing this place is.”

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