There’s FREE Summer Fun to Be Had!
By Christine G. Adamo

Brooklyn-based Hank and Cupcakes will be performs THIS weekend at Corn Hill Arts Festival.

PHOTO: Brooklyn-based Hank & Cupcakes performs THIS weekend at the Corn Hill Arts Festival.

Ahhh, summer! No classes (or fewer classes) and more time to work on your tan.

Did you also know that, in summer, Rochester offers sizzling hot freebies – like big-name concerts and nationally-recognized arts festivals – which you could be taking advantage of? That is, when you’re not busy reading or otherwise baking in the glorious sun?

Naz Girl About Town knows all about ’em. Here’s a primer to get you started!


Party in the Park – with a show TONIGHT!

WHEN: Thursdays, June 18 to Aug. 13, 2015 (5-10pm)

Every week Rochester hosts Windstream’s Party in the Park FREE concert series in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 353 Court St. (It’s good to know MLK Jr., is getting some props!) See the MAP included here, which was inspired by comments from Christine Farnum – Asst. Dir. for Web Communications in GAC 171. Gates open at 5pm. Music ends at around 10pm.

Headliners bear BIG names and take the stage around 8/8:30pm. I saw The Romantics play there in 2011 and they rocked it like it was 1999. You can bring a blanket and one sealed bottle of water per person, but no lawn chairs. Food and drink vendors (i.e., Bento Box, Pete’s Dog Shop, J&S Fried Dough, beer, wine) set up shop on-site, so bring money and an appetite.

Go to or refer to the handy schedule I’ve prepared for you:

July 9 (Yes, tonight!) – George Clinton & the Parliament Funkadelic (7:15-10pm), Subsoil (5:45-6:45pm) and, on the side stage, Danielle Ponder and Tomorrow People
July 16 – Get the Led Out (7-8:20pm; 8:40-10pm), Cosco/Gladstone and Cosco (5:30-6:30pm) and, on the side stage, Personal Blend
July 23 – Johnny Lang (8-10pm), The Coupe DeVilles (6:30-7:30pm), Matthew Corey (5:30-6pm) and, on the side stage, Anonymous Willpower … a local fan favorite – tell Suzi Willpower I said “Hi!”
July 30 – Victor Wooten (8:30-10pm), Aqueous (6:45-7:55pm), Amanda Lee Peters (5:30-6:15pm) and, on the side stage, Tre Son
Aug. 6 – Dylan Scott/The Lacs, Flint Creek and, on the side stage, Kid Kurry with Denny Hamlin’s NASCAR Camry on site (see website for times, TBD)
Aug. 13 – Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Driftwood, Noble Vibes and, on the side stage, Mochester (see website for times, TBD)

Corn Hill Art for Sale

PHOTO: Corn Hill Arts Festival offers two days worth of music, strolling and shopping opportunities.

Corn Hill Arts Fest – THIS weekend!

WHEN: Sat., July 11, & Sun., July 12 (10am start)

If prior years are any indication, the 47th Corn Hill Arts Festival is sure to offer you daylong music, strolling and shopping opportunities. And the entry fee is just right: It’s FREE. This year’s featured musical performances include Brookyln-based Hank and Cupcakes, Funky Blu Roots, Lindsey Saunders and 25 other acts on four separate stages.

While traipsing around, keep an eye out for the Emerging Artists Expo area. There’s always some cool, inspiring stuff going on there. As for shopping? Be on the lookout for cool art prints and funky, upcycled or recycled bags, jewelry, etc. On Sunday, head to the Cadillac Main Stage to see if you won a $100 Wegmans Gift Card. (Be sure to enter to win!)

Online at

Public Market Food Truck Rodeo

WHEN: Last Wednesdays, incl. July 29 (5-9pm)

OK, so this is not a festival per se. But it’s loads of fun and entry is FREE. Every last Wednesday of the month from April thru October dozens of food trucks are lassoed up and park along the perimeter of the Rochester Public Market (280 N. Union St.) thoroughfare for your perusing and purchasing pleasure. There’s even live music – to boot!

There’s nearby lot and street parking, but it fills up quickly so arrive early. You can bring lawn chairs and blankets but no open containers (save one sealed bottle of water per person). This is an all-ages event and the stage is centrally-located for easy listening. Buying beer or wine? Get in line, ’cause you’re not alone! This is a great way to get outside with friends.

Online at

Park Ave Fest is one loooong block, bordering on frat, party ... parking may be your biggest challenge.

PHOTO: Park Ave Fest is one looong block, bordering on frat, party. But, be warned: Parking may be your biggest challenge.

Park Ave. Fest

WHEN: Sat., Aug. 1, & Sun., Aug. 2 (10am start)

This is one loooong block, bordering on frat, party that stretches across Park Ave. from Culver Road to Alexander Street. No doubt the 39th Annual Park Ave Summer Art Fest will give you ample access to arts, crafts, entertainment and hosts of stolen, see-and-be-seen moments. It’ll be hot, but you can truly walk around half naked and no one’ll care.

Food vendors run the gamut from Caribbean chicken, crepes and steamed clams to strawberry shortcake. Note: This is labeled “a nonalcoholic event.” (No, alcoholics aren’t banned; just alcohol). Therefore, if you must drink? Do it responsibly. According to the law. Somewhere else. So you don’t get busted. Parking may likely be your biggest challenge.

It’s best to: Cruise University, East or Monroe Avenues, park (checking for restrictions) and walk in. Lazy? Pay $5-15 to park nearby. Cheap? Park for FREE and hop a $1 r/t shuttle from Monroe Square (Monroe/Union) or Gleason Works (1000 University Ave.). There’s handicap ONLY parking at Parkleigh gift shop (Goodman/Park), but reaching it can be tricky.

Online at (via the festival tab).

And this one’s worthy of an honorable mention …

South Ave. Harvest Hootenanny

WHEN: Sat., Oct. 3 (11am-9pm)

The South Wedge-based 2nd Annual Harvest Hootenanny will be held on South Avenue between Gregory Street and Averill Avenue. The event attracts street vendors, food trucks, carnival games, street performers, live music, an Oktoberfest-style beer garden and more – with various activities suited to children, adults and everyone in between.

Last year’s vendors included Digging for Stars (bleach-designed Ts, totes, etc.), Headz Up Hatz and Machinator Chaos (industrial, steampunk and vintage jewelry). Le Petite Poutine, Macarollin’ and Harry G’s N.Y. Deli (with a shop on South Avenue) ran food trucks and stalls. String Theory and Blue Ribbon Bastards were among the performers.

Go to and click on the Harvest Hootenanny tab.

The South Wedge's 2015 Harvest Hootenanny is worthy of an honorable mention!

PHOTO: While still a few months away, the South Wedge’s 2015 Harvest Hootenanny deserves an honorable mention.

Young, old or middle-aged, heed my sun-kissed advice: Enjoy summer while it lasts.

Because, dare I say it? All too soon we’ll be headed into fall. And then winter, but at least we’ll have fond memories of sunny summer days and nights spent availing ourselves of all the free stuff this city has to offer. In the company of friends. And among our neighbors.

Know of a FREE event or festival I neglected to mention? Post it in the comments!

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