Rochester may be cold for eight months out of the year, but that only makes us appreciate the warm weather all the more.

Case in point: the annual Lilac Festival, which is being held this year from May 10 to May 19.

The Lilac Festival attracts about 500,000 people from around the world to Highland Park each year to admire the more than 500 varieties of lilacs that flourish there.

“The 1,200-plus lilac bushes in Highland Park create a floral rainbow ranging from the deepest of purples to the purest of whites,” according to, the official website for the 2002 Lilac Festival.

In addition to the flowers, the Festival offers music, food, two arts-and-crafts shows, a parade, and a 10K run.

Free walking tours of the lilacs are available on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and will leave at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. from the corner of Highland Ave. and Goodman Street.

The R News Lilac Parade will take place on May 11 at 10:30 a.m., on South and Highland Avenues.

For those who would prefer to take to the streets themselves, there’s always the Montana Mills Lilac 10K, which will begin at 9 a.m. on May 19.

May 15 will feature the Seniors’ Lunch in the Big Top Tent. Reservations for the lunch are required and can be made by calling 428-4977.

Events for children will take place daily, including free entertainment and hands-on activities.

For more information about specific times and events, send an email to, or visit

Smith can be reached at

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