Flower City to welcome spring with Lilac Festival

The Rochester, NY 108th Lilac Festival will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors over the 10 day festival, to explore the 1,200-plus lilac bushes of more than 500 lilac varieties. Concerts, parades, children’s activities and special events will accompany the lavish floral display located in Highland Park. Festival hours are 10 a.m. through 8 p.m. daily.

The largest celebration of its kind in North America, the Lilac Festival brings visitors from every continent, creating an exotic spectacle of languages, customs, costumes, and colors that are rivaled only by the exquisite floral bouquet. Food representing cuisine from all over the world including Italian, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, German, Greek, Cajun, and Regional American, as well as other gourmet delights will be available at various locations during the festival. Although the lilacs are the centerpiece of the festival, they are enhanced by stunning displays of color in the Pansy Bed on Highland Avenue near Goodman Street, the Tulip Bed on South Avenue, and plantings at the Lamberton Conservatory on Reservoir Avenue. Cherry blossoms, azalea, rhododendron, forsythias and magnolia add to e vividly scented panorama.

Opening ceremonies will take place on Friday, May 12 at noon on the ESL Lilac Stage near Highland & South Avenues and will feature local school bands and dignitaries. On Saturday, May 13 the Lilac Parade will begin. Past groups include local school bands, nationally recognized marching bands, and drum and bugle corps.

Families will appreciate the ever-expanding Children’s Events scheduled weekday afternoons, evenings and all day on weekends. Magic, music, juggling, face painting and pony rides are only part of the fun! Lilacs ‘n Seniors Day is planned for Wednesday, May 17, including free shuttle tours of the lilacs, lunch and specially selected musical entertainment.

A favorite, Wine, Jazz ‘n Blues is set for Thursday, May 18. Enjoy New York State wine tasting and great jazz. Visit the Wine & Farmer’s Market throughout the day for regional specialties to taste and take home. Grammy nominated Shemekia Copeland sings jazz classics on the ESL Lilac Stage.

Other scheduled e-vents include Lilac Festival Arts & Crafts Show on May 13 and 14. Also the second Lilac Home & Garden Show is to be held in the Lilac Big Top Tent featuring fresh ideas for spring landscaping, annual and perennial flowers, vegetables, herbs, shrubs and trees plant related gift items. A wide variety of lilac bushes will be for sale at Lamberton Conservatory throughout the festival.Festival goers are encouraged to visit the Art In the Park Show on May 20 & 21 or participate in the MedvedLilac 10K on Sunday, May 21. Festival entertainment and activities will be located in Highland Park and Highland Bowl; they are designed to appeal to all interests.

While the festival will provide free entertainment, children’s, and senior’s activities throughout the ten-days, visitors often take time to visit many of the other attractions in the Rochester area. George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, the Susan B. Anthony House (both national historic landmarks), as well as Strong Museum (named one of the top ten children’s museums in the country) are visitor favorites. Many visitors also take the opportunity to enjoy walking along the Erie Canal and visiting the many shops and canal-side restaurants.

For more information and updates on Lilac Festival 2006 visit the website at www.lilacfestival.com. Call the Greater Rochester Visitors Association with questions about the Lilac Festival or area attractions, lodging and restaurants at (800) 677-7282 or (585)-546-3070 or visit the website at www.visitrochester.com