This annual event draws up to 500,000 people to Rochester's Highland Park each May to view more than 200 varieties of lilacs and other flowers, trees and shrubs.
The 2012 Lilac Festival will run from May 11 through May 20, 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily.
People may park free at Monroe Community College and ride the First Student shuttle busses (Adults - $1.00, Children 6 and under - Free). Please note that the shuttle will only run on Saturday and Sunday. Paid parking and handicapped parking will be available Monday through Friday:
- Off Goodman St., just south of Highland Avenue
- Off Elmwood Ave. east of South Avenue.
Handicapped visitors can park in those lots anytime, but they are encouraged to use the shuttles on weekends.
The Lilac Festival dates back to back to 1898 and is firmly rooted in Rochester’s heritage as the “Flour-Flower City.” Highland Park was donated to the City by George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry, two horticulturalists and nursery owners whose seed catalogs brought national attention to Rochester. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York’s Central Park and several other parks in Rochester’s impressive collection of public spaces. At this point in its history, Rochester was a fast-growing industrial city that had been settled around a series of Genesee River waterfalls. These powered the mills that gave Rochester its original "Flour City" nickname. But because of the work of Ellwanger, Barry, Olmsted and others, Rochester’s moniker now speaks to this city’s history of industry and beauty.
Today, the annual Lilac Festival is one of the region's most anticipated events and draws visitors from around the world. Highlights of the festival, which serves as the unofficial start of the Rochester area’s summer festival season, also include the Lilac Parade and the Lilac Queen, a set of 5- and 10-kilometer runs and a wide variety of vendors and live performances.
Visit the Official Lilac Festival Web site.