Festivals in the Finger Lakes

May

GlassFest May

Corning, NY

Glassfest is a four day celebration of glass and the fire arts in the “Crystal City”, featuring live hot glass shows, artist demonstrations, neon sculptures at night, live music and entertainment, and shopping and dining. Year-after-year named one of them “Top 100 Events in North America” by the American Bus Association.

Ithaca Fest May

Ithaca, NY

Festival goers can free their inner hippy with the annual celebration of local creativity that offers an experience of the “real” Ithaca. This year’s theme is “Rhythm & Rhyme!” which will inspire wonderful festival parade floats, performances and works of art. The festival is the town’s largest community event with over 30,000 people attending and more than 1,000 performers.

Rochester Lilac Festival May

Rochester, NY

This 10-day celebration kick-off the season of festivals in the region and celebrates Rochester’s signature flora, featuring more than 1,200 bushes and over 500 different varieties of lilacs. This year, the highlight will be an attempt to break a Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Human Flower. Experiences during the run of the festival include a Wine & Chocolate Tasting featuring a slew of Finger Lakes wineries, Lilac Parade, one-of-a-kind shopping with over 120 artists and craftsmen, Craft Beer Garden and the Lilac 10K and 5K Family Fun Run. The festival is situated in picturesque Highland Park, designed by famous landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted.

Tree Peony Festival May

Linwood, NY

Linwood Gardens is located 35 miles southwest of Rochester in the farmlands of the Genesee Valley. Set in an historic landscape designed in the early 1900s, an Arts and Crafts style summerhouse is surrounded by ornamental trees and walled gardens with views that open out to the valley below. Linwood has the quality of an island set apart from the everyday world. It offers a peaceful garden sanctuary for repose, reflection, and creative work.The historic gardens feature a distinguished collection of tree peonies dating from 1940. Each spring when the tree peonies are in bloom,  Linwood celebrates
this special event over three weekends with the Tree Peony Festival of Flowers.

June

Express Mart Jamesville Balloon Fest June

Jamesville, NY

Kick off summer at the Jamesville Balloon Fest sponsored by Key Bank. The weekend long celebration includes live music, craft show, hot air balloon displays and rides. In past years, Balloon Fest has welcomed over 20,000 adventures! Balloons take flight each day (weather permitting) and offer panoramic views of the region’s rolling hills.

Finger Lakes Brew Festival June

Geneva, NY

There are few things better than a summer evening by a beautiful lake. Add to that, the opportunity to taste beer and mingling with other beer lovers for a great way to celebrate the summer solstice. Held alongside Seneca Lake on the first day of summer, the Finger Lakes Brew Festival will feature local music, breweries, tastings and vendors. The festival is hosted by the Geneva Y and will take place in the new Geneva Lakefront Events Center at the Lakefront Park along the northern shore of Seneca Lake.

Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival June-December

Auburn, NY

The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, produced by Merry-Go-Round Playhouse showcases musical theatre from on, off and beyond Broadway at three venues. Festival goers will experience a diverse offering of productions, ranging from revivals of the most storied classics to cutting-edge experiments. This season will kick off June 4, 2014 with Mary Poppins. Other scheduled performances throughout the summer include Damn Yankees, On the Town, Will Rogers Follies, Church Basement Ladies the Last Potluck Supper, and Menopause the Musical.

One of the festival’s most innovative aspects is ‘The Pitch’ a play development series. Up to twenty original musicals will be presented in a cabaret-style theater providing a perfect setting for interaction between artist and audience. Theatre goers can see the next generation of playwrights and composers show off their new works with a chance to peek behind the scenes and be a part of the creative process.

Keuka Arts Festival June

Penn Yan, NY

A free fine art and skilled craft show held annually along the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail, just outside of Penn Yan. Featuring live entertainment and activities for families.

Owego Strawberry Festival June

Owego, NY

Up to 200 food and craft vendors offering their wares and of course, the sweetest of fruit – strawberries – fill every street corner in quaint Owego. Music, wine, a 5K run, kids’ activities, airboat rides, classic car displays, antiques and fireworks complete this two-day festival.

Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival and Cardboard Boat Regatta June

Watkins Glen, NY

A delightfully entertaining experience awaits at the Seneca Harbor Park on the beautiful shores of Seneca Lake in downtown Watkins Glen. The highlight of the festival is the celebrated Cardboard Boat Regatta – Yes, brave mariners actually climb in and pilot their handmade cardboard boats around the race course!

Western NY Pottery Festival June

Avon, NY

The Western New York Pottery Festival is a juried, clay exclusive show that consists of local and national professional artists. The focus is not only for artists to set up and sell their work but to interact with and educate the public by hosting firing, throwing, hand building and other demonstrations by the festival artists. There will also be a Clay Olympics competition taking place on the Sunday of the festival. There will be kiln openings, raffles, a silent auction fundraiser, food vendors, live music and activities for kids of all ages. The festival takes place at Studio Sales Pottery in Avon, NY.

Woofstock June

Interlaken, NY

Americana Vineyards Winery’s famous greeter dogs Max and Rubie welcome pet-lovers to the second annual Woofstock, dedicated to fundraising for local shelters. Festival-goers can enjoy tasting food from local vendors, wine and wine slushy  sampling, face painting, raffles, pet adoption and pet care information  and cuddling with the cutest “pet adoption ambassadors” in a carnival-like atmosphere.

Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival June

Rochester, NY

Earth, Wind & Fire, Steve Martin, Janelle Monae, Fourplay, and Michael McDonald are just a few of the performers showcased in this year’s 13th annual festival. More than 1,200 artists from around the world will perform in 312 concerts including more than 81 free shows at 19 venues and outdoor stages. The event has grown to become one of the world’s largest jazz festivals with an extensive international lineups. With bands coming to XRIJF from more than 15 countries, the festival offers something musically exciting for everyone.

 

July

Big Rib BBQ & Blues Fest July

Rochester, NY

The only rib festival of its kind in the country, The Big Rib BBQ & Blues Fest is devoted to the celebration of savory barbeque ribs in Highland Park. Visitors can sample secret recipes and observe unique preparation styles from select rib masters! More than 20 recognized artists will perform during the affair, including Robert Randolph and the Family and Playing for Change Band. A portion of the V.I.P tent’s proceeds, with an all-you-can-eat buffet, private cash bar, and front-of-stage access to live concerts, will be donated to the local chapter of Meals on Wheels.

Bon Ton Roulet July

Auburn, NY

The Bon Ton Roulet is a seven-day bicycle tour through the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of New York State. This fully-supported tour takes cyclists from wide open farm fields, past stunning overlooks of our lakes, to cavernous water-carved gorges.  A non-competitive cycling adventure, The Bon Ton Roulet will challenge riders of all ages and abilities.

Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show July

Canandaigua, NY

The 2016 Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show is one of the area’s most highly anticipated art shows, bringing together some of the finest artists in the northeast. Located on the north shore of beautiful Canandaigua Lake, this free family event will continue a 40+ year tradition of fine art, music and food.

Conesus Lake “Ring of Fire” Festival July 3rd

Conesus, NY

Originally an old Seneca Indian tradition, this annual Independence Day celebration is the highlight of the summer on Conesus Lake. When the Seneca Indians were the sole “residents” of Conesus Lake they would gather aroound fires around the lake to celebrate its beauty and abundance of the lake. This custom has now become a 4th of July tradition for residents, vacationers and visitors. Sponsored by The Conesus Lake Association, every 3rd of July residents light provided flares at exactly 10:00 pm along the entire shoreline of the Lake, creating a Ring of Fire. The night is highlighted by fireworks displays up and down the lake.

Elmira Street Painting Festival July

Elmira, NY

The town is a canvas! Witness the streets, sidewalks, and town squares in downtown Elmira as they are transformed via street painting with impermanent designs. Even dogs are invited to create their own “Mast-fur-pieces,” by walking through pet-safe paints and then on their own canvases to create beautiful abstract paintings. Highlights include Finger Lakes wine tasting, pop-up galleries (3-dimensional drawings), face painting, regional crafts and artwork, live pastel street art, local restaurants, live music and more!

Finger Lakes Cheese Festival July

Odessa, NY

Sample all the cheeses of the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail in one place at this day-long family event at Sunset View
Creamery just outside of Watkins Glen. Along with the region’s creameries, there will be plenty of local farms and vendors sampling and selling, along with a few favorite wineries and breweries. Along with a plethora of cheese sampling, additional activities include cheese making classes, cooking with cheese demos by top regional chefs, wine and beer pairing seminars, goat milking, Barnyard Olympics, mechanical bull riding, live music, petting zoo, farm tours, hayrides, bossy bingo, and more.

Finger Lakes International Dragon Boat Festival July

Ithaca, NY

Enjoy world-class dragon boat racing, food and market vendors, family activities, cultural performances and more at this colorful, multicultural event on the water.

Finger Lakes Lavender Festival July

Skaneateles, NY

Held at Lockwood Farm, the free admission event allows nature and lavender enthusiasts to stroll through beautiful and fragrant fields, pick fresh lavender bundles, enjoy culinary delights and the work of local artists and hand-crafters. Participants can also learn how to grow and harvest lavender. With just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Lavender Festival is a perfect day in the country.

Finger Lakes Wine Festival July

Watkins Glen, NY

Offering the largest showcase of New York State wines with over 90 wineries, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival fuses wine tasting with regional artisans, music, culinary classes, and breweries. Friday night is Toga Night where Greek toga apparel is encouraged as Bacchus blesses the festival in all its wino glory. Guests will enjoy one-stop sipping and shopping with over 600 wines, a beer garden, and gourmet food. There is even on-site camping available at Watkins Glen International so visitors won’t ever feel the need to leave.

Ganondagan Native American Dance & Music Festival July

Victor, NY

This annual summer event is the only event of its kind in Western New York and features a wide range of Native American traditional dancers, musicians, storytellers, and artists sharing their cultural heritage. Guests are welcome to participate in workshops such as cornhusk doll making, try native foods like fry-bread, view interpreted programs in the Visitor’s Center and Bark Longhouse, take guided trail walks, and join the family drum jam.

Geneseo Air Show – “The Greatest Show on Turf” July

Geneseo, NY

Whether you’re a WWII veteran, history or airplane buff, looking for a family-friendly event, or simply want to have some fun, the NWM Airshow has something for you. Enjoy two performance-packed days featuring vintage WWII and Korean era aircraft — fighters, bombers, and cargo — roaring overhead while watching simulated fights, aerial performances by military aircraft frontline fighters, daring aerobatics, and fly-bys.  Plus, don’t miss the reenactment camp and kid zone, which are sure to add to the success of our event. Pack up your lawn chairs and bring the whole family for this special event!

Grass Roots Festival July

Ithaca, NY

Consider it Woodstock lite. Grass Roots is a 96-hour music marathon at the fairgrounds in Trumansburg – Ithaca’s liberal suburb. A music lover’s paradise with over 60 bands on multiple stages reflecting the eclectic tastes of the festival’s ‘amorphous committee’ with a unique focus on traditional and contemporary roots music.

Hill Cumorah Pageant July

Palmyra, NY

Hill Cumorah is where Joseph Smith, Jr. is said to have found the set of gold plates which he translated into English and published as the Book of Mormon. Each July, a huge theatrical spectacle is staged for seven days on the hillside that retells the beginnings of the Mormon religion.

Lyons Peppermint Days July

Lyons, NY

Did you know the city of Lyons, New York was once the peppermint capital of the world? Lyons presents Peppermint Days to celebrate this unique legacy with two parades, dance exhibitions, local bands, a car show, a tractor show, food and craft booths, historical tours and fireworks.

Northeastern Primitive Rendezvous July

Newark Valley, NY

Every summer hundreds of people come together to set up for this pre-1840’s camp. Visitors can witness black powder shoots, hawk and knife throws and primitive archery, as well as numerous demonstrations in and around the farmstead.

Phelps Sauerkraut Weekend July 31-August 2

Phelps, NY

At one time, Phelps was the sauerkraut capital of the world. In celebration of their great cabbage legacy, for the past 45 years they have held a Sauerkraut Weekend festival. Of course there is plenty of sauerkraut, kraut eating contests, live music, parade, 20K race, arts and crafts, cabbage bowling, fireworks, and cutting of the famous sauerkraut cake by the Festival Prince and Princess and their court.

Route 90 50-Mile Garage Sale July

Montezuma to Homer, NY

Not exactly a Festival, but if you ever celebrated a bargain or reveled in a treasured find, this legendary two-day garage sale along Cayuga lake is calling your name!

Sterling Renaissance Festival July-August

Sterling, NY

The Sterling Renaissance Festival is one of the oldest and most successful producers of professional interactive entertainment in the world. More than 100 stage and street performers, professional actors, comedians and musicians whimsically recreate an authentic English Renaissance village. Visitors can join the merriment at the Pub Sing, view artisans demonstrating their fine craftsmanship and selling their unique wares, and enjoy digging into savory delicacies.

Syracuse Arts Festival July

Syracuse, NY

Arts Week along the Connective Corridor combines the long-standing Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival and the popular Northeast Jazz and Wine Festival with nearly 20 interactive arts activities that are sure to bring out the creativity in everyone who visits. Both 2- and 3-dimensional works are featured including ceramics, fabric and fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, wood, painting, graphics, drawing, sculpture, and photography. Nearly 200 exhibitors participate from over 30 states and 4 countries.  Sidewalk art contest included!

Ten Ugly Men Festival July

Rochester, NY

Enjoy a full day of music, foods and sports including a Kickball Tournament, 5K Race, Volleyball Tournament and Obstacle Course – while supporting local Rochester charities.

August

Antique Brockway Truck Show August

Cortland, NY

This weekend is organized to showcase and celebrate the Brockway Truck legacy, uniquely native to Cortland as it was the only place in the world where Brockway trucks were manufactured. The events feature BBQs, fundraising auctions and of course the highlight of it all, the Brockway Truck parade starting at the Brockway Museum site and continue through downtown Cortland to Main Street.

Arts at the Gardens August

Canandaigua, NY

The two-day juried outdoor fine art and fine craft exhibition show and sale that takes place annually at Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park in Canandaigua, N.Y. It is an important art event in the finger lakes region; becoming a highly anticipated exhibition of the region’s finest artists, musicians, performances and food and wine vendors.

Erie Canal Pirate Weekend August

Palmyra, NY

This weekend full of pirating adventures features everything pirate oriented. Highlights include the Pillage ‘N the Village Bed Race Regatta, Pirate & Kazoo Band Parade, Pirate Window Painting Contest, Pirates’ Bazaar at the Marina and Main Street Merchants’ Sidewalk Sale, wine and rum tasting & Palmyra Farmers’ Market, pirate costume party, museum and walking tours, pirate tales, live music, food, children’s games and more.

Finger Lakes HopFest August

Bloomfield, NY

Nedloh Brewing Co. is proud to host the first ever Finger Lakes HopFest, a new festival that will bring together brewers and enthusiasts to celebrate, sample and learn about hops and craft beer. HopsFest will feature educational seminars with tips on crafting great beers, growing hops, home brewing and pairing beer with foods. Beer lovers will be able sample craft brews from Nedloh Brewing Co. and different breweries from across Upstate New York. In addition to a food truck rodeo, there will be a Big Green Egg Grill chef cook-off.

Finger Lakes Riesling Festival August

Canandaigua, New York

The Finger Lakes, known as one of the top wine-producing regions in the county specializing in Riesling, will celebrate its Riesling heritage with over 20 of the top wineries in the region.

Finger Lakes Opera August

Geneseo, NY

Finger Lakes Opera presents professional productions in the summer, on the campus at SUNY Geneseo, featuring some of today’s most accomplished singers on the opera stage. They are accompanied by a professional orchestra in productions led and designed by innovative directors and designers from throughout the world of opera and lyric theatre.

Finger Lakes Yoga Festival August

Ithaca, NY

A rustic yoga event, this festival focuses on simplicity, nature, family, and fun. Guests can relax their minds, bodies and souls with yoga workshops, held in the grass, under a large tent or canopy. Other yoga-inspired activities feature many camp practices like listening to music around the campfire.

Glorious Garlic Festival August

Penn Yan, NY

Hosted at the beautiful Fox Run Vineyards, this is the second largest garlic festival in the world. One can feast on food laced with fresh garlic, sample great musical entertainment, enjoy farm vendors and garlic farmers ready to sell their wares, watch garlic cooking demonstrations by local Finger Lakes chefs, and mingle with a fun bunch of garlic-loving people.

New York State Festival of Balloons August

Dansville, NY

Witness the thrill of dozens upon dozens of hot air balloons unleashed upon the Finger Lakes. The Labor Day Weekend-festival is coupled with crafts, live entertainment and great food in Dansville, the community where Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross. 

Potter Onion & Music Festival August

Penn Yan, NY

Fresh onions to buy, fried onion rings to eat, kids’ games with onion shaped toys, glass onions blown by a local craftsman, live music, a huge BBQ chicken roast and even an onion eating contest make up this daylong celebration of the local onion harvest.

September

Clothesline Art Festival September

Rochester, NY

Rochester’s largest and longest-running fine art and crafts festival is the place to experience all-day live entertainment, sample food from some of Rochester’s favorite vendors, enjoy free family art activities, visit the Memorial Art Gallery, and of course, browse and buy original artwork throughout the grounds.

Dundee Scottish Festival September

Dundee, NY

Due to its strong Scottish heritage and a landscape reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, it was only a matter of time before Dundee hosted a Scottish festival. The festival welcomes guests to three stages of entertainment with bagpipes, Scottish cuisine, music, dancing and merriment, and performances from bands The MacLeod Fiddlers and Lochside Celtic Band. Festival goers can also watch (or partake in!) the Highland Games featuring a Braemar Stone, Caber and Sword Toss!

Fall Heritage Festival September

Corning, NY

Traditional demonstrations, music, food, Colonial reenactments, working blacksmith shop, country store, flea market, bake sale, and children’s activities.

Naples Grape Festival September

Naples, NY

Since 1961, the grape festival has been held every September to celebrate the area’s grape harvest, talented artisans, wine makers, local and regional music and cuisine in the Naples valley. Festival goers can bake a pie for the World’s Greatest Grape Pie Contest and sample everything “grape” that the Finger Lakes has to offer – including tasting Finger Lakes wines. Throughout the 2-day festival area musicians perform rock, blues, jazz and original music to get feet tapping and heart singings.

New York State Festival of Balloons September

Dansville, NY

A four-day hot air balloon festival featuring six scheduled balloon launches of more than 30 balloons, tethered balloon rides, arts & crafts vendors, an international food court, free live entertainment, rides & amusements for children, and a classic car show.

TomatoFest September

Auburn, NY

TomatoFest is back for a festival of great food, fresh local produce, terrific entertainment, activities for children of all ages, creative crafts, and valuable information from not-for-profit organizations. Proceeds from TomatoFest benefit local food pantries. A grand total of $13,000 was donated last year.

Vintage Grand Prix Festival September

Watkins Glen, NY

Motor enthusiasts from all over the world come to celebrate the Finger Lakes racing heritage at the home of the rebirth of American Road Racing.  The featured highlight of the Festival is a tribute to the original Grand Prix races using the original 6.6 mile road course. Always a crowd pleaser, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Tribute is designed to recreate the ambiance of the 1948-52 Watkins Glen street races.

October

Apple Tasting Tour October

Williamson, NY

Taste the many flavors, colors and sizes of apples at farms and markets at this month-long, self-guided tour throughout scenic Wayne County. Special family-friendly activities are planned for the annual Tasting Tour Weekend.

Finger Lakes Beer Festival October

Watkins Glen, NY

More than 25 New York State craft breweries, commemorative sampling glass with tasting coupons, delicious regional cuisine, brewery and event merchandise, live music, and more. Presented by Finger Lakes Beer Trail.

Genesee Valley Hunt Races October

Geneseo, NY

The Genesee Valley Hunt Races is a historic event but the fun is 21st century! Just some of the adventures that await you: exciting horse racing over fences; dog activities of all sorts – sled dog demos, jumping contests, wiener dog races, and more; children’s fun at the petting pen, pony rides, and agricultural demo center; New York food and wine tent; and unusual shopping opportunities.

Letchworth Arts & Crafts Show & Sale October

Mount Morris, NY

One of the top 50 art festivals in the USA.  It showcases some of the country’s finest visual and performing artists, artisans, and crafts people, as well as a multitude of traditional and unique consumable foods for all taste buds. LACS is held at the Highbanks Recreation Area of Letchworth State Park, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” The stunning venue is a key component that sets this festival apart from all others. The ambience created by peak fall foliage throughout the park and the spectacular canyon is unparalleled.Over 300 artisans display their wares along with many food vendors, live entertainment, and other fun activities for the entire family.

December

It’s a Wonderful Life Celebration December

Seneca Falls, NY

Celebrate the classic holiday film in the town that’s said to be its inspiration. Vendors, tours, races, contests, strolling players, parades, music, film screenings, fashion show and much more make up this weekend event. Be sure to visit the museum for the full story.

Sparkle December

Corning, NY

Join us for the culmination of the Crystal City Christmas events season. Featuring horse-and-carriage rides, shopping and dining promotions, outdoor entertainment, and activities for the whole family. Sparkle remains a holiday tradition cherished by generations.

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