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Lilac Festival Ends Cold, But Satisfying

Rochester’s annual Lilac Festival wrapped up as dramatically as possible last week. Attendees experienced sun, rain, and hail throughout the afternoon, but none of that deterred them from enjoying the food, music, and vendors at the outdoor festival.

Festival organizers observed that attendance for this year’s event was consistent with previous years, and that the weather during its second week definitely affected how many people showed up.

The Lilac Festival, which takes place in the beautiful Highland Park, designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, is timed to celebrate the stunning, albeit short-lived, blossoming of the park’s lilacs.

The park has undoubtedly filled a niche and brought up home values in the surrounding area. And that’s in keeping with trends nationwide: in a recent survey, 63% of respondents reported being willing to pay more for an apartment or house if it was located in an area with good green spaces.

On the second Saturday, a record-breaking 130,000 people showed up in one day. Special news events, like the Lilac Brew Fest, wine tasting, and home and garden show were a huge hit.

“It worked out real well,” Lilac Festival Producer Jeff Springnut said. “We had about 40 vendors in there and we combine that with some celebrities. This year we had the fellas from ‘Tanked,’ the TV show on the Animal Planet and those guys were great, big personalities, physically big guys and big personalities, and they drew a lot of people for the home and garden show. We’re going to continue tradition again next year and see who might be appropriate for the home and garden show.”

The festival was wrapped up on Sunday when organizers chose the winner for the Delta Airlines photo sweepstakes, where a winner will receive two plane tickets to anywhere in the United States.

Vision Automotive group presented a $10,000 check to Golisano Children’s Hospital. Rochester singer and songwriter Joe Brucato performed “Shine,” a song about the fight against cancer, featuring the Pittsford Sutherland High School chorus.