ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In March of 2020, two local artists worked tirelessly for months for bring an all-new festival to Rochester; they called it the Rochester Winter Renaissance Festivus.

It was meant to celebrate the winter season in Rochester, bring the festival season to a different time than Rochester’s festival-after-festival summer months, and give a new chance for some winter themed Renaissance gear too emerge… Maybe some that would be too warm for the Sterling Renaissance Festival.

March 1st 2020 found hundreds of costumed people, vendors, musicians, and performers crammed in Three Heads Brewery on Atlantic Avenue in Rochester. Everyone there was blissfully unaware of the coming pandemic.

That’s why this year, “Ren Rat Randy” and “Carnie Cat Con” wanted to call their new virtual event “Surviving the Plague” Sunday.

“We were able to support local artists, food vendors, and even Three Heads,” said Taylor Converse, the woman behind “Carnie Cat Con.” “Without knowing it, it was the last boost before we shut down.”

This year’s virtual event will feature an hour long sketch comedy movie, filmed and edited by “Ren Rat Randy” and company.

“I learned a whole new skill set,” said Miranda M. Flores-Salvaggio, “Ren Rat Randy.”

This sketch show-inspired streaming adventure features swarthy shenanigans, gut busting giggles, and of course, pirates partying. It follows the adventures of Continental Drifft, a local band that for this event, dons pirate gear, and sings sea shanties before they were cool.

To further the spirit of camaraderie, they are also hosting three Zoom hangouts throughout the day, at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm. Each one will feature giveaways, costume contests, trivia, and guest appearances from some “special characters.”

This time around, like last year, “ROC Win Ren” will collect donations for Mended Little Hearts (MLH) of Greater Rochester, a support group for children with congenital heart defects and their families.

“For three and a half years, I nannied my little cousin Miles, who was born with a congenital heart defect,” said Miranda M. Flores-Salvaggio, one of the Festivus’s creators. “He was supported through this organization.

“I thought this was a nice way of giving back to him, and saying ‘I still think about you all the time, and you inspire me, and you are the bravest and strongest kid that I know,’” she said.

Last year, they raised $2,500 for Mended Little Hearts.

“That really helped them out, especially with this past year,” Flores-Salvaggio said.

Surviving the Plague debuts on Rochester Winter Renaissance’s YouTube page Sunday afternoon, and the link will be shared on their social media channels.

2020 Rochester Winter Renaissance Festivus