News Release - Mayor Richards Announces “Light up the Holidays” and City’s Schedule of Festive Events

City of Rochester

News Release

(Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013) – Mayor Thomas S. Richards today announced the City’s slate of activities and events celebrating the holiday season, including “Light up the Holidays,” an evening of family fun that includes the lighting of the Liberty Pole Downtown, a Holiday Parade and ice skating at the newly-named Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, where a dedication ceremony will be held.

“We are very proud to provide our beloved Downtown’s Manhattan Square Park with a new name that is meaningful to our city” said Mayor Richards. “The life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. epitomizes Rochester’s historical standing as a bastion of civil rights and the holiday season is the perfect occasion to dedicate the park. I invite the entire community to take full advantage of this and all of Rochester’s wonderful cultural offerings.”

This year’s activities include:

City Hall Atrium Tree Lighting Ceremony – 9:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 6
• Join Mayor Richards as he lights the tree in the beautiful City Hall Atrium. Santa will pay a special visit and the Rochester City School District’s George Mather Forbes School No. 4 chorus and the School of the Arts choir will perform. 30 Church St.

Light Up The Holidays – Saturday, Dec. 7

Liberty Pole Lighting
• 4:30 p.m. Join Vocal Point, the University of Rochester’s all-female a cappella chorus and Prime Time Brass for a time-tested tradition unique to Rochester as Mayor Richards flicks the switch on the 10,000 lights of the Liberty Pole at East Main Street and East Avenue. Costumed characters, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available to take photos with families. Parking is available at the East End Garage, 475 E. Main St., for $2.

Holiday Parade
• 5:15 p.m. Children, parents and well-wishers will follow Mayor Richards, Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and other costumed characters along with the Rochester Fire Department’s hook and ladder fire truck to the music of Prime Time Brass in a procession from the Liberty Pole to the ice rink at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park (formerly known as Manhattan Square Park). Participants may choose to catch a ride on an ole’ time trolley to the rink.

Dedication Ceremony of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park and Season Opening of the Ice Rink
• Approximately 5:30 p.m. Parade-goers will be greeted with ground fireworks at the ice rink, next to a fully-decorated 30-foot holiday tree. Dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 civil rights March on Washington. Exhibition skating by the Go Figure Skating School. Free open skate to holiday music provided by Beal’s Rock and Roll Review (Bring your own skates if possible. Limited skate rental for $3 per person.) Refreshments and food will be available for purchase. Free horse-drawn wagon rides. MLK Park Lodge with craft activities and Rec-on-the-Move. Free trolley rides may be taken back to nearby parking garages from the rink until 8:30 p.m.

31st Annual Rochester Tuba Christmas – Saturday, Dec. 21
• 3 p.m. Enjoy the sound of more than 100 tubas, sousaphones, baritones and euphoniums playing festive holiday music, a Rochester holiday tradition since 1983. Tickets must be purchased in advance for $2 per person. Contact Jeremy Stoner at Tickets will not be sold at the door. Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Ave.

Skate With Santa at Genesee Valley Park Ice Arena – Saturday, Dec. 21
• 5 p.m. $2 youth,  $2.50 college student (with ID), $5 adults, $14 family maximum. Skate rental is an additional $3. 131 Elmwood Ave.

New Year’s Eve Skate at MLK Park – Tuesday, Dec. 31
• 6 to 11 p.m. Free admission. $3 skate rental. Family skate: 6 to 8 p.m.; Adults only (over 16 years old) skate: 9 to 11 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, 353 Court St.

New Year’s Eve Celebration and Fireworks – Tuesday, Dec. 31
• 7 p.m. Free festivities inside the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, 123 E. Main St., with activities and entertainment for all ages including dance party hosted by DJ “Jimmy C,” an old-time photo booth, a giant bounce house, climbing wall, obstacle course and other inflatables. Also featured will be a magician, clowns, stilt walker and caricaturists. Free parking available in Sister Cities, Court Street, South Avenue and Washington Square Garages. Refreshments will be available for purchase.
• 9:50 to 10:15 p.m. Relocate just outside the Convention Center, overlooking the Main Street Bridge. From this vantage point, view the City’s spectacular fireworks finale — the largest New Year’s Eve fireworks show in Greater Rochester.

Holidays at City Recreation– Throughout the Season
• City Recreation and Community Centers will host a variety of activies such as visits from Santa and holiday parties. Call 311 to be connected to a center or visit
• The Edgerton Model Railroad Room at 41 Backus St. will be open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. during select days during the 2013 holiday season. For schedule information, call 428-6769 visit

Holiday events are sponsored by the City of Rochester. For more information, call 311 (outside the city, call 428-5990), visit, or watch City12 Cable TV inside city limits.


News Media: For more information, contact City Special Events Manager Margaret Reichert at 428-6694.