ROCHESTER NY – The blossoms of lilacs are beautiful to behold, heavenly to smell, and have caused cash registers to ring in Rochester NY every May during the past 125 years. 2023 was no exception.
“Travels With The Post” visited this year’s Lilac Festival in Rochester’s Highland Park on May 12-14. It joined thousands of other people each day to enjoy what is the nation’s largest free event of its kind.
Visit Rochester, the area’s tourism organization, estimated more than a half-million people attended one or more activities during the event. Between the festival and a PGA tournament held in the same week, the total economic benefit to the region was estimated at about $200 million.
The festival ran for 10 days, from May 12 to 21. Although the park hillsides were covered with blooms in many shades, flowers were not its only focus. It included wine and craft beer expos and tastings. The festival also featured two runs, one of 5 kilometers and the other of 10, and accompanying wellness and fitness programs.
That’s due in part to increased interest in the lilac’s aromatic properties. The flowers’ calming, soothing scents appeal to those interested in relaxation, stress reduction, and restorative sleep.
Food was offered for purchase in abundance. Vendors with something tasty seemed to appear as frequently as gardeners with pruning shears. So did musicians and artists: live entertainment and performances kept visitors’ feet tapping, and part of the parks many acres were set aside for outdoor art exhibitions.
There were special days set aside for seniors, for kids, and for marching bands and parades.
“The Post Road Trip” report takes the form of a video that concentrates primarily on the lilacs and the park setting. Watch it (above), or see it at the new Travels With The Post YouTube channel.