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Lilac Festival signs 10 headliners

Rochester Lilac Festival organizers this week announced 10 headliners that will perform free shows at the 122nd annual event. The festival takes place from May 8 through May 17 this year.

Blues Traveler
Blues Traveler

Musical acts include: Devil Makes Three; Zac Brown Tribute Band; the New Mastersounds; Giant Panda Gorilla Dub Squad; Blues Traveler; the Record Company; Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears; Blue Sky Brothers: A Tribute to the Allman Brothers Band; Mingo Fishtrap; and the Lizards, Phish Tribute.

The Lilac Festival is known for showcasing musical talent and this year will feature 10 supporting acts.

“It’s going to be another amazing year of live entertainment at the Rochester Lilac Festival with a variety of music everyone will enjoy,” said festival producer Jeff Springut, of the Springut Group Inc.

Festival organizers will again offer the VIP Ultra Lounge, which offers festival-goers an exclusive, up-close viewing experience. VIP upgrades include front stage access, in-tent and outdoor lounge area, full, private cash bar, private restrooms, complimentary chair massages and more.

The Recipe 21 High Spot Party Deck will return for a second time, as another way for guests to enjoy the music, complete with a tented full bar and private, climate-controlled restrooms.

The Rochester Lilac Festival is presented by Five Star Bank and hosted by the county of Monroe, the city of Rochester and Visit Rochester.

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First Festival of Inclusion planned for March 1

The Golisano Training Center at Nazareth College of Rochester will host the inaugural Festival of Inclusion, an event sponsored by the Golisano Foundation, Special Olympics New York and Best Buddies International.

festival-of-inclusion-resizedThe March 1 event will feature free fun and games to kick off the annual Spread the Word Inclusion campaign.

“We are proud to build on our annual Spread the Word Inclusion campaign, making an even bigger impact to stop all types of discrimination against people including those with intellectual disabilities,” said Golisano Foundation Executive Director Ann Costello in a statement. “This new Festival of Inclusion will celebrate the impressive shifts we have made over the last decade and promote what still needs to be done.”

Costello said the agency is asking organizations to get involved and for people to take the pledge to show how they will be more inclusive in their schools, workplaces and community.

“Working together we can inspire acceptance and advocate for respectful words and actions in all aspects of our lives,” Costello said.

The festival will feature sports activities including an “East vs. West” unified basketball tournament, pickleball, cheerleading and tennis; music and dance; a photo booth; community inclusion stations featuring interactive and creative activities and demonstrations; a pep rally; food trucks; and more.

“I live my life each day to make an impact in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by promoting the power of friendship,” said David Quilleon, Best Buddies senior vice president and Festival of Inclusion emcee. “Inclusion is important in this idea as it cultivates friendship and diversity while creating a more empathetic and welcoming culture. Inclusion unites the authenticity of all of us.”

Best Buddies is a nonprofit dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Special Olympics New York athletes and Unified partners have emerged as the leaders of a global movement to inclusion, one that is supported by community events such as the Festival of Inclusion and the annual Spread the Word campaign,” said Stacey Hengsterman, Special Olympics New York president and CEO. “We are proud to partner with the Golisano Foundation and Best Buddies once again to share the Special Olympics message of inclusion and continue our work to make New York the most inclusive state in the country.”

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
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ROC Holiday Village opening rental igloos for New Year’s Eve

Groups still wanting to rent an igloo at the ROC Holiday Village may be disappointed unless they’re looking for time on New Year’s Eve.

The downtown festival site, now in its second year, provides a mix of entertainment, food, drink, shopping and accommodations for private parties in a festive, open-air holiday atmosphere.

The second annual ROC Holiday Village has been expanded from 11 days to 14 days, including four days after Christmas (photo provided by ROC Holiday Village).
The second annual ROC Holiday Village has been expanded from 11 days to 14 days, including four days after Christmas (photo provided by ROC Holiday Village).

Starting on Monday at 10 a.m., reservations will be open for the igloo rentals on Dec. 31. ROC Holiday Village runs for 14 days spread between Dec. 6 and 31. Though the igloos, which accommodate six to eight people, are all booked through Dec. 29, some slots are still open during the earlier part of the run for the large Igloo Inn shelters, accommodating up to 25 people.

The festival site, now in its second year, provides a mix of entertainment, food, drink, shopping and accommodations for private parties in a festive, open-air holiday atmosphere. Three large tents are set up on the site, in MLK Park off Chestnut Street, all offering beverages for sale. Food is available from a popup restaurant and food trucks. New Year’s Eve will feature food trucks, free ice skating and free skate rentals.

Hours at the site on December 31 will be from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

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Venues ready for first annual Super City Rochester

The Strasenburgh Planetarium at the Rochester Museum & Science Center will hold a video game championship this weekend.

The video game demo and championship is part of Super City Saturday, a part of Rochester’s first annual multi-venue pop culture festival that includes cosplay, comics, cartoons, music, movies, wrestling, artists and more. The three-day festival—which also includes a Super Bar Crawl on Friday and Sidekick Sunday—was founded by Jason Hilton of POP ROC cereal bar and comic shop.

The Strasenburgh Planetarium portion of the Aug. 24 event will feature video game demos by Rochester Game Developers Group and tournaments run by A Gamers Nostalgia. The event will culminate in the tournament finals played on the four-story dome at RMSC’s recently renovated planetarium.

Other event venues include the Little Theatre, POP ROC and Anthology. The three-day event will include an “Artist Alley” that will feature local artists such as John Magnus Champlain and Shawn Dunwoody, as well as national guests Guy Gilchrest, Jim Henson’s Animator, and Danny Fingeroth, a long-time Marvel and DC writer and Spider-Man group line editor. Event coordinators also will attempt to set the world record for the most cosplay and costumed people in one area (1,700).

“Our mission is to break out of the classic ‘con’-style event and flood the streets with pop culture enthusiasts and activities that highlight our great city,” Hilton said in a statement. “Why limit the fun to a single convention center?”

The “non-con” is sponsored by the Rich Ide Family of Dealerships. Most of the activities and exhibitions will be free and open to the public.

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Belly up to a new whiskey festival in September

Selling out their Buffalo event in January wasn’t enough for the Tommyrotter Distillery and

The distillery and event promoter from the Queen City are bringing their act on the road to Rochester, with the Rochester Whiskey Riot Festival Sept. 15. The festival will allow participants to sample up to 80 different whiskeys, made by Tommyrotter and other distilleries from other parts of the country and abroad.

Promoters say “Whiskey Riot celebrates and encourages education on the storied history, production, and experience of whiskey and all its varieties.” Seminars at the event will be led by Kentucky’s Heaven Hill Distillery and Scotland’s The Macallan.

The partners are also offering another Whiskey Riot in Buffalo, scheduled for Sept. 29 at the Adam’s Mark Hotel. They’ll be in Albany Oct. 28 at the Desmond Hotel.

The Rochester event will be held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, 4 to 7 p.m., Sept. 15. Tickets cost $45 and include a souvenir tasting glass, tastings, access to seminars and three pop-up bars serving whiskey cocktails. The bars will be sponsored by Tommyrotter Distillery, Highland Park Distillery from the Scottish Island of Orkney, and Four Roses Bourbon from Kentucky. The event will include a disc jockey, vendors and food for purchase.

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New festival coming to Parcel 5

In a city of festivals, what’s one more?

Summit Federal Credit Union and Galaxy Events announced this week that Rochester will have a new festival this summer, the ROC The Taste festival, combining food and live music. The event is scheduled for July 27 and 28 at Parcel 5 downtown.

Plasticiens Volants’ 2017 BIG BANG at Parcel 5 during the Fringe Festival. (Photo by Erich Camping)
Plasticiens Volants’ 2017 BIG BANG at Parcel 5 during the Fringe Festival. (Photo by Erich Camping)

Summit Federal Union is the festival’s title sponsor. Galaxy Events is the events arm of a communications company based in Syracuse that owns the Taste of Syracuse and organizes a number of other annual events.

“We’re looking forward to shining a spotlight on Rochester’s food and music and raising funds for two local charities that share The Summit’s goal of strengthening our community,” said Cheryl Pohlman, vice president of marketing and community relations for The Summit Federal Credit Union. Summit, along with other festivals sponsors and vendors, will be raising money for Honor Flight Rochester and the Wilmot Cancer Institute.

ROC The Taste will feature food sampling along with full size portions available from an array of vendors. Participants can also make a donation to earn a limited edition wristband that will allow them to purchase half-price food samples on Saturday of the event. Admission to the festival is free.

“We’re excited to organize the inaugural ROC the Taste,” said Galaxy Events General Manager Carrie Wojtaszek. “Rochester has incredible food and outstanding live music, and we can’t wait to showcase it!

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