Come Out & Smell the Lilacs

Every May, Rochester celebrates the Lilac Festival. I am not sure when the festival first started but I know it’s been around for a while. Some Lilac junkie (John Dunbar) planted and started a collection some decades ago and now, Highland Park boasts hundreds of kinds of Lilac bushes on that hill alongside Highland Ave. Just imagine when all those plants bloom at the same time. And they do! You can smell the Lilacs from a mile away and I’m not even exaggerating. I never really paid attention to their names but each plant is labeled for anyone who wants to go past the aesthetics and the scent. Martha Stewart came and featured the festival about 3 years ago on her show and got a Lilac named after her. That might be the only kind I know.

It always amazes me how the festival is always well orchestrated with the lilacs blooming. I think they consult horticulturists regarding this, I don’t know. But I guess it’s always been kind of predictable except this year, when Spring came in earlier than expected. The Lilac buds came out earlier than expected and the flowers are starting to wilt by the time the festival kicked off. But there was still enough for everyone to see.

This is my favorite festival here in Rochester. But the Lilacs only come second in my agenda. What gets me really excited is the food. Of course, it doesn’t help when your job is across the street from where all the action is.

Also, this year is our last Lilac Festival. At least for a long while. So this year, I went all touristy, even woke up early to see the parade.

Anwyay, here are photos. I’m tired of blabbering. I’m sure you’re tired of it, too. There will be a sequel to this. I didn’t complete the pictures. So tomorrow, during my lunch break, I will run across the street to take more pictures. I need a picture of and with the Kettle Corn Man. Yeah, he’s a legend around here. And there’s a reason for it.

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The Veterans of Vietnam opened the parade. I always get teary-eyed over standing ovations and that was what happened that’s why there’s no pictures of the brave men who fought for our freedom. I would just like to clarify that I don’t believe in war but these men had already gone and done what they were called to do when they were boys so I applaud them. you should see the stream of people getting up as they pass by. It was truly a poignant moment. Back to the pictures…

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First damage of the day, $5 sno cone. Whatever happened to the paper cones? But this is really convenient, though. She still managed to spill it. Don’t ask how.

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Eat healthy, America! (after the Lilac Festival!)

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Side shows. The stiltman does facepainting with his co-hippie girlfriend. And this duo right above is pretty awesome. They were so into their craft, it was intense as you can see in the other guys ukulele-ing. I wasn’t able to ask their band’s name or if they have available stuff online. But their performance deserves a dollar in their guitar case, though.

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Of course, our trip wouldn’t be complete without a walk through the whole park even though we’re here almost every week when the weather permits. I guess to her, it feels different walking in the park during the festival. But I must admit, there’s an air of excitement when I see all the people around us. It’s just happiness all over the place.

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This is one of my favorite fair foods, the funnel cake. None of the fancy schmancy stuff like how they do it in Six Flags. This is just honest to goodness, straight up, oily, trans-fatty funnel cake! Nancy’s Fried Dough makes the best! They have at least 3 stands throughout the whole park. Only look for Nancy’s, there are other ones but they are not good. bleh! The lady who took my order said.”One funnel cake Aunt Nans!” I asked quietly, “Aunt Nans? as in Nancy? She’s Nancy of Nancy’s?” and the lady said “Yes! the one and only!” Wow! I was just too shy to ask her to take her picture when I caught her during her break. She was icing her leg. Aww…God bless her and her fried doughs!

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Only fresh lemons and limes for Nancy’s lemonades and limeades!

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Always happy to serve you

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We watched a couple of kids’ shows. They’re free. So why not. Aurora had fun most especially when Gary the Happy Pirate brought the giant beach balls out. She had a blast. It got a little crazy midsong, though and I had to get up and keep track of her. A couple moms lost their kids, only for a second, though. Whew!

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While Una watched her shows, i kecked my shoes off so my feet can breathe while I slurp on some strawberry smoothie.

it was fun! I was exhausted but I had a great time. I sad that this is our last. I really love this festival. Anyway, just in case you happen to drop by festival time, may I give you some tips on how to enjoy the trip to the fullest

  1. Check the weather and dress appropriately and comfortably. Sneakers or crocs works best for both kids and grown ups. Bring extra clothes for the tots.
  2. Don’t forget sunscreen.
  3. Bring water with you. Water bottles at the festival cost $2.00 a bottle. It also helps if you can bring small, light snacks like granola bars or cheerios for the kids.
  4. Bring cash and small bills. There are ATM stations but they charge $3.00 per transaction on top of what your bank charges you when withdrawing from a different machine/institution.
  5. Avoid lugging purses or bags that require you to hold them to stay secure. A book bag or a bag with a strap that you can sling on your shoulder is ideal. You would want both your hands free most especially when you have a kid in a busy place like this. Also, make sure they are roomy! Place your valuables in your jean pockets.
  6. Make sure to bring disinfectant wipes, Purelle and if you can avail those small, travel-size Lysol. Or maybe it’s just me. But I don’t trust those porta potties. And kids (girls most especially) don’t know how to “hover” yet. So there’s going to be some contact, it’s always nice to have some disinfectant with you.
  7. Make sure you teach your kids your phone number and address. Upon arriving at the festival, review the rules (you know, stranger danger, etc. ) And show them people in uniform like policemen.
  8. Plan to arrive early most especially on weekends so you can find a parking spot that’s near the event.
  9. Keep the plastic containers that come with fries and smoothies. It always costs less for refills. Half the price! Hello! just make sure you bring a plastic bag with you where you can store them so they don’t mess up your purse or bag.
  10. Have fun!
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4 thoughts on “Come Out & Smell the Lilacs

    • di ko alam yung chacoy, pero the closest thing i can think of is becho? and yung funnel cake, yung nasa picture, para syang pilipit pero hindi matigas.

  1. You really have great photography skills Janis. The shots you have taken with your little one, ang ganda! More than a postcard material. Priceless! How I wish we also have this kind of laid back festivals in parks in the Philippines.

    • Thank you very much. It was fun!

      Alam mo, mga ganto nga namimiss ko sa Pinas…mga sinulog, piesta chaka pahiyas. Although I haven’t been to sinulog, pahiyas or any of those huge festivals i am sure they are as fun. Hassle lang kasi mga advertisers minsan. hahaha.

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