Whether it's the bustling holiday shoppers at the Public Market or the excited children dazzled by the site of the Liberty Pole, the city helps put you in the holiday spirit. Each year, the City of Rochester sponsors free, family-friendly holiday events for all to enjoy. See you there!
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 – 4:30 p.m. 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 – 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets will not be sold at the door. Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Ave.
New Year’s Eve Celebration and Fireworks – 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31
Looking for something to do with the family on New Year's Eve? Come to the City of Rochester's free celebration in the Convention Center. Downtown Rochester will play host to an abundance of fun-filled activities for the entire family. Free skate admission will be available to patrons for an Early New Year’s Eve Skate at the Manhattan Square Rink and will continue into a late-evening open-skate session. If ice skating is not your cup of tea, the Convention Center will be home to three hours of kid-friendly entertainment for families, followed by a magnificent fireworks display over the Genesee River.
- Free festivities inside the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, 123 E. Main St. - 7 to 9:50 p.m.: Enjoy Activities and entertainment for all ages including a dance party hosted by DJ “Jimmy C,” an old-time photo booth, a giant bounce house, climbing wall, obstacle course and other inflatables. A magician, clowns, stilt walker and caricaturists will also add to the fun. Free parking available in Sister Cities, Court Street, South Avenue and Washington Square Garages. Refreshments will be available for purchase.
- Rochester's Spectacular Fireworks Finale - 9:50 to 10:15 p.m. Join Mayor Richards just outside the Convention Center, overlooking the Main Street Bridge. From this vantage point, view the largest New Year’s Eve fireworks show in Greater Rochester.
- Skate With Santa at Genesee Valley Park Ice Arena, 131 Elmwood Ave. – 5 p.m. $2 youth, $2.50 college student (with ID), $5 adults, $14 family maximum. Skate rental is an additional $3.
- New Year’s Eve Skate at MLK Park, 353 Court St. – 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.
Holidays at the Market - 9 am. to 3 p.m., Dec. 1, 8 and 15
Enjoy a unique holiday shopping experience at the 107-year-old Rochester Public Market, 280 N. Union St. Festive decorations will greet shoppers as they choose from the largest selection of fresh cut trees and wreaths in the area. Numerous vendors will offer art, crafts, decorations, holiday food delicacies, gift items, stocking stuffers and more. Shoppers are invited to stop in and taste microbrewed beer at Rohrbach’s, sample fresh-baked breads and sweets at the Union Street Bakery and savor the fresh, roasted coffee at Java’s at the Market. There will be fun for the entire family, including visits with Santa, free horse-drawn sleigh rides and other kid-friendly activities each Sunday. All the details
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 www.cityofrochester.gov/recreationcenters.
The Edgerton Model Railroad Room Holiday Schedule, 41 Backus St.:
This hidden city gem will be open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. during select days during the 2013 holiday season. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.
- Saturdays, Dec. 7, 14, 21
- Monday, Dec. 23
- Tuesday Dec. 24
- Thursday, Dec. 26
- Saturday, Dec. 28
- Monday, Dec. 30
- Tuesday, Dec. 31
- All the details
Holiday events are sponsored by the City of Rochester. For more information, call 311 (outside the city, call 428-5990), visit www.cityofrochester.gov, or watch City12 Cable TV inside city limits.
Lighting of the Liberty Pole
Saturday, December 7
All the details
Listen to the holiday sounds of Vocal Point, an all-female a cappella group from the University of Rochester. Meet Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, and Mayor Richards as we light the Liberty Pole! Then join a festive, musical parade with the characters and the sounds of Prime Time Brass as we march from the Liberty Pole to Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park, where we'll watch fireworks, ice skate, and enjoy the holidays downtown!
Within the City's Edgerton Community Center is a historic model train room that dates back to 1950! The dazzling displays depict Rochester and many of its natural and built landmarks.
New Year's Eve Family Celebration & Fireworks
Tuesday, December 31
Rochester Riverside Convention Center
All the details