Rochester offers a bounty of special events from May through September, and this week's RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll asked readers to name their favorite. The plurality of respondents (by a wide margin) to this week's poll chose the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.
The Jazz Festival, a nine-day event that wraps up June 29 this year, was selected by 30 percent of respondents. The annual event launched in 2002 attracts nearly 200,000 attendees and pumps more than $10 million into the Rochester economy each year, organizers say.
The 115th Lilac Festival at Highland Park, which drew an estimated 500,000 people during a 10-day stretch that ended May 19, was selected by 10 percent of respondents.
Ten percent also picked the Corn Hill Arts Festival, which this year is July 13 and 14 and features hundreds of artists, four stages of continuous live music and the Emerging Artists Expo.
Eight percent said their favorite is the Park Ave. Summer Art Fest, slated for Aug. 3 and 4 this year.
Of those who responded, some 43 percent said they go to three to five special events each summer. Twenty percent attend more than five, up from 2010 when in a similar Snap Poll 15 percent reported attending that many.
The Jazz Festival continues to grow in favor with poll respondents. In 2010, when the same question was asked, it was selected by 27 percent of readers, followed by the Lilac Festival with 14 percent. Park Ave. Summer Art Fest and Corn Hill Arts Festival were each selected in May 2010 by 10 percent of respondents.
In an August 2008 poll, some 19 percent selected Jazz Fest as their favorite. In that poll, 15 percent chose the Lilac Festival and 13 percent picked the Park Ave. Summer Art Fest.
Roughly 510 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted June 24 and 25.
What is your favorite summertime special event in the Rochester area?
Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival: 30%
Lilac Festival: 10%
Corn Hill Arts Festival: 10%
Park Ave. Summer Art Fest: 8%
Fairport Canal Days: 6%
Wegmans LPGA Championship: 5%
M&T Bank Clothesline Festival: 4%
Imagine RIT: Innovation & Creativity Festival: 3%
Rochester Fringe Festival: 3%
Sterling Renaissance Festival: 3%
Waterfront Art Festival in Canandaigua: 3%
East End Festival: 2%
Finger Lakes Wine Festival: 2%
July 4th downtown fireworks: 2%
Big Rib Bar-B-Que and Blues Fest: 1%
Greentopia Festival: 1%
Festival of Food 1%
How many Rochester-area special events do you typically attend each summer?
More than 5: 20%
Rochester may have more festivals per capita than any other comparably sized or bigger city. I think it’s a fairly safe bet if another city has as many, the quality of Rochester’s offerings stands above. Jazz Festival, Lilac Festival, Greentopia, Fringe Festival and more. A number are betting VisitRochester president and CEO (Don Jeffries) and VisitRochester will learn how to better-capitalize on our sum mass, our embarrassment of festival riches, and catapult our area into a true tourism-bonanza that will increasingly drive our economy. And then, there’s Eastman School of Music’s 800-plus concerts, annually.
—Ned Corman, Rochester
The Jazz Festival is the best, by far. The organization, scheduling and logistics are seamless and impressive. The music is exceptional, the crowds aren’t rowdy or obnoxious like other festivals. Instead, they’re enthusiastic and energetic. Plus, everyone is in a cheerful, happy mood. That’s the perfect recipe for a good time.
—Rich Calabrese Jr., Rochester
There’s no shortage of occasions to be proud to be a Rochesterian, but it is never more apparent than during the endless stream of summer festivals. While my personal favorite is the Corn Hill Festival, it’s hard to go wrong with sunshine, music and food at any festival. Rochester summers may be short, but we make the most of them!
—Andrew T. Brady, Irondequoit
The Lilac Festival is lovely, historic, internationally known and just plain beautiful. It is also endangered. It should once again be elevated to a botanical event on par with the Philadelphia Flower Show. The entire carnival atmosphere should be replaced with gardening talks, quality nursery stock for sale, tours of the entire arboretum, stylish tea parties for children and adult women, a tribute to mothers on Mother’s Day at the pansy bed and a number of other high quality, informative, educational programs for lovers of nature and culture. Oh, and let’s have music that compliments the lilacs and flowers. This would draw a garden-obsessed crowd from around the county and the world instead of gangs who are looking for a place to show off vicious dogs and stage drug/alcohol-fueled fights. Bring back the world-famous Lilac Festival to all its glory.
—Eve Elzenga, Eve Elzenga Interior Design and Highland Park resident
(Greentopia) is the most unique and only “green” festival in Rochester. An abundance of information on living green. Awesome films, fashion show, vendors, food and music. For adults, children and families. You will not be disappointed!
You forgot to list the free weekly Wednesday night concerts at Ontario Beach Park sponsored by the Ontario Beach Planning Committee. Those are a great free family event!
Running this poll during the Jazz Festival probably skews the results.
For more comments, go to rbjdaily.com. To participate in the weekly RBJ Snap Poll, sign up for the Daily Report at rbj.net/dailyreport.asp.
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