There are so many beautiful, fun, and festive flower-themed festivals all across our great state of New York, like the Tulip Festival in Albany and Buffalo’s Cherry Blossom Festival, and one of the largest and most anticipated brings thousands of visitors to the Western New York area each spring. 

Rochester, New York’s annual Lilac Festival begins on May 10th and runs through May 19th, and it’s a huge deal for Western New York residents. The popular festival has your standard fun features like food, craft beer and wine, live music, rides, and many vendors selling goods from all over New York State.

But one of the main reasons why people from across the state flock to the festival is to gaze upon what it’s named for in the first place. 

Rochester, New York Festival Is Famous For This One Thing

If you’ve ever visited Highland Park in Rochester, where the Lilac Festival is held each year, you’ll know it’s one of the most gorgeous spots in the city. 

Designed by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed Central Park in New York City and Buffalo’s Delaware Park), the 150-acre greenspace is a dream for garden-lovers, filled with tulips, pansies, and azaleas. 

But of course, the most popular attraction is the over 1,200 shrubs and 500 varieties of white, pink, and purple lilacs - the largest collection in the United States. It’s the entire reason why Rochester’s nickname is the “Flower City.”

lilac bush

The lilac bushes in Highland Park don’t just smell amazing - they also make a beautiful backdrop for Instagram posts, engagement photos, and senior pictures. Getting a whiff and a pic of Rochester’s lilacs are a highlight for thousands of people who visit the festival each year. 

Will Rochester Lilacs Be In Bloom For The Festival?

Sometimes, tourists will make the trek to Rochester for the Lilac Festival, only to be disappointed to discover that the shrubs’ blooms have already come and gone. 

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Late snowfall, ice, and cold spring weather during the weeks and months prior have the potential to damage the lilac shrubs. On top of that, unseasonably warm Spring temperatures could cause the lilacs to bloom too early. 

READ MORE: Massive Summer Snow Storms Coming To New York?

In Northeastern states like New York, lilacs bloom for about 2 weeks during mid- to late spring; a relatively short time frame. If the lilacs in Rochester blossom too quickly, they won’t be around long enough to enjoy throughout the festival.

Thankfully, There’s Good News For The Lilac Festival

Woohoo! If you’re planning on hitting up this year’s Lilac Festival in Rochester, you should have no issues enjoying the lilacs’ beautiful blooms.

Mark Quinn, Head Horticulturist for Monroe County Parks, told the Democrat and Chronicle that based on the forecast, Highland Park’s lilacs should be ready to enjoy during the festival. 

READ MORE: May Expected To Be Warmer Than Usual Across New York

If the predicted weather in Western New York remains in the 50’s and 60’s (which, so far, is what it’s looking like), the lilacs should be in full bloom for the massive event.  

If you’re planning on attending Rochester’s Lilac Festival for the food, music, and other fun, you should be good no matter what. But the great news is if your main reason for going is to see those stunning lilac shrubs, you can be relieved to know that they’ll be ready for you to enjoy. 

Check out what a beautiful day at the Lilac Festival in Rochester, New York looks like below! 

Lilac Festival in Rochester, New York

Can you smell it? The Lilac Festival in Rochester, NY is a popular event for thousands of people each year.

Gallery Credit: Megan Carter

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