It’s summer in Central New York and what does that mean?! FESTIVAL SEASON! Now I know some of you aren’t as enthused as others about crowds in the sticky summer humidity, but I LOVE festivals. I mean come on.. people watching, free samples and honestly what else is there to do in CNY? (okay so maybe I’m still coming down from my Cali high and I’m a little bitter that there’s not something new and exciting to explore around every corner). Anyway, the first fest that I’ve had a chance to get to this year is the Lilac Festival out at Highland Park in Rochester. I’ve never been before so I really didn’t have a clue of what to expect. If you’re in the same boat, check out all it has to offer!
My friend Jordan and I stopped by the festival this past Tuesday afternoon, and even though it had been open for 5 days already, the venue was still extremely packed, way more so than I ever would have expected! We parked in a lot (generously providing for us for free) off of South Ave, and from here entered into the festival on the far side, away from the gardens. We were initially met by food trucks, lots and lots of food trucks, so much so that we thought we were at the wrong place for a hot sec. In the far corner there was a stage set up for live music and a little bit farther down and across the street was the actual Botanical Gardens, where the lilacs and other varieties of flowers could be found. Scattered throughout the gardens were a plethora of people having picnics and just enjoying the beautiful weather, and one group even had a hammock set up between a couple of trees. It was a pretty relaxed atmosphere, but be forewarned, in a crowd of primarily families and senior citizens, the two of us stuck out like a sore thumb (something that Jordan was not shy about pointing out to me numerous times.. thank you for that.. once again so sorry that you don’t enjoy flowers like I do).
While our visit was only a quick pit stop along the way to our final destination, I would highly recommended planning to spend the full day or at least a good majority of it here in order to take it all in! My suggestion for how to best spend your day? Take full advantage of the food trucks by shoving as much food as you possibly can into your own two arms and retreating to a far corner of the gardens for your own little private getaway. Then proceed on to eating said food and laying in a food coma for the rest of the day.
If you don’t like food and flowers (who are you) then this festival probably isn’t for you and I would forgo taking a trip here, as food and flowers are essentially all you’re going to get. Okay, if you’re underage, food and flowers are all you’re going to get. There’s also opportunities for wine tasting and a chance to buy flowers as well. However, if you’re a meanderer like myself, go check it out! You have until this upcoming Sunday to get your butt to Rochester and sniff some Lilacs. So go go go.