Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spring & Summer Festivals

From garden tours to mountain bike rides to quality local food and brews, upstate and western New York offer a unique variety of spring and summer festivals that will make you fall in love with New York all over again.

Rochester Lilac Festival

When: May 8 – May 17, 2015
Where: Highland Botanical Park, 180 Reservoir Avenue, Rochester, NY 
Hours: 10:30am – 8:30pm daily
Price: Free

If you’re looking for a family-friendly event that’s easy on your wallet, nothing beats the Rochester Lilac Festival. This 117-year old event brings together the community to celebrate the spirit and ingenuity of Rochester with events suitable for all ages. Bring the kids out for the Lilac Parade featuring more than 2,500 participants. Gather your friends for some shopping at Art in the Park with a wide variety of unique ceramics, jewelry, specialty foods, body care products and more. Head out with your honey for the Wine and Chocolate Tasting featuring confections from Manhattan’s oldest chocolatier, Li-Lac Chocolates, and 150 wines to choose from. Get active by signing up for the Highland Hospital Lilac Run with both a 5k and 10k option. There’s even a Senior Day featuring special entertainment on the Center Stage, discounts on the tasty festival foods and time to enjoy a stroll through park with the aroma of 1,500 lilacs filling the air. No pets allowed.

20th Annual Family Fun Day 

When: May 31, 2015
Where: Coca-Cola Field, Rear Pavilion Area
Hours: 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Price: $8 pre-sale, $10 at the door

Family Fun Day isn’t a festival, but let’s face it, in the summer we’re always looking for ways to get the kids out of the house. FFD is an inexpensive way to keep your children entertained all afternoon with inflatables, sports games, arts & crafts, temporary tattoos, face painting, a toddler zone and more. As an added bonus, a portion of the proceeds go to help our local substance abuse prevention programs. The event will be set up behind the stadium while the Bisons host the Rochester Red Wings, allowing families to play and watch the game!

National Garden Festival 

When: June 5 – August 1, 2015
Where: Various locations
Hours: Various hours
Price: Free

Botany buffs and nosey neighbors will love taking a look into the backyards of more than 350 Buffalo homeowners at the National Garden Festival. But this festival isn’t just an excuse to take a peek over fences; you can also purchase some d├ęcor for your garden at the Garden Art Sale on June 28th or pick up art inspired by last year’s Open Gardens event. Book your place now for the fun and relaxed Garden Bike Tour on June 20th that allows you to leisurely enjoy some of Buffalo’s most beautiful gardens.

6th Annual Southern Tier Craft Beer & BBQ Festival 

When: June 6, 2015
Where: Summer Stage at Tag’s Events, 3037 State Route 352, Big Flats, NY
Hours: 4:00pm – 11:00pm
Price: $10 - $30

Mark your calendar for this year’s Southern Tier Craft Beer & BBQ Festival. This annual event features a brewer’s exhibition and tasting, amateur BBQ cook-off, musical performances, live entertainment, arts & crafts vendors, as well as the Blessing of the Beers. The evening will be hosted by New York native, illusionist Ryan Dutcher, and is sure to be a great time for you and your friends!

Allentown Art Festival 

When: June 13 – June 14, 2015
Where: Allentown Historic Preservation District, Delaware Ave. at Allen St., Buffalo, NY
Hours: Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm, Sunday 10:00am – 6:00pm
Price: Free

The Allentown Art Festival is truly part of the city’s history. First held in the spring of 1958 and dubbed The Buffalo Arts Festival, the first festival included no more than fifty craftsmen and artists and cost the Allentown Village Society $450. Despite the monetary shortcomings, 20,000 people attended the two day event; the Society saw its potential. Now the annual event stands as a symbol of the enduring character of the region. 58 years later, the festival thrives with tens of thousands of art patrons visiting each year to enjoy the beautiful weather and quality arts and crafts.

Annual Raccoon Rally Cycling Festival Weekend 

When: June 27 – June 28, 2015
Where: 2373 ASP, Route 1, Salamanca, NY
Hours: the first race starts at 9:30
Price: $25 - $30

Throw your bikes on the rack and take a road trip to Allegany State Park for the Annual Raccoon Cycling Festival Weekend. Expert cyclists can set out for adventure on Sunday for the Raccoon Rally Road Race, full of endless climbs and breathtaking scenery. Sunday is all about cross country with the Raccoon Rally XC Race with different awards for beginner, sport and expert classes. Don’t forget the kids! The Raccoon Rally Kids Race will be held Sunday on a custom grass course in the middle of Camp Allegany.

Ellicottville Summer Music Festival 

When: July 3 – July 5, 2015
Where: Holiday Valley Resort, 6557 Holiday Valley Rd., Ellicottville, NY
Hours: Friday 6:30pm – 10:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am – 5:00pm, concert times vary
Price: $25 - $50

No summer is complete without listening to some music under the stars. The Ellicottville Summer Music Festival is a chance to relax and enjoy the great outdoors with the whole family. Pack up a picnic basket and a blanket and enjoy a wonderful meal on the lawn. Hop on the nearly mile-long chair ride to the top of the mountain and partake in the opening night celebration. Spend your Independence Day listening to music from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The second half of the show will feature selections from Star Wars and the finale will be seamlessly choreographed with a spectacular fireworks display. And before heading home, catch Grammy winners Blood, Sweat and Tears along with Bo Bice take the stage at the foot of the slopes.

Taste of Buffalo 

When: July 11 – July 12, 2015
Where: Downtown Buffalo, Delaware Avenue - from Chippewa Street to Niagara Square 
Hours: Saturday 11:00am – 9:00pm, Sunday 11:00am – 7:00pm
Price: Free

Prepare to stuff yourself because Taste of Buffalo is the largest two-day food festival in the US, attracting almost 450,000 visitors annually. Founded in 1984, Taste of Buffalo’s mission is “to provide an affordable and enjoyable weekend festival in a socially responsible manner for families of Western New York; to enhance the quality of life in the Niagara Frontier and promote downtown Buffalo.” It’s also a great excuse to veer off the diet plan. With more than 60 food vendors to choose from and unique items like Avocado Cream Cheese Pie on the menu, you might want to stop by the website and plan your meal in advance.