10 Upstate New York Festivals to add to your Calendar

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With so much going on in the Finger Lakes during the summer and early fall months it can be difficult to decide which events are worth marking on your calendar. So I have rounded up my suggestions for 10 Upstate New York Summer Festivals to add to your calendar for 2018. These festivals are family friendly, unique and just plain fun for everyone.

Post Updated 9/16/2019

  • Added 2020 information and dates
  • Removed the Finger Lakes Lavender Festival, as it is discontinued.
  • Added Finger Lakes Wine Festival

Fairport Canal Town Days

Among the most popular arts festivals in New York State, Fairport Canal Days take place in the scenic village of Fairport on the historic Erie Canal. Opening with a delicious chicken BBQ and concert on the evening of June 2nd. You will find over 200 artisans, many fine food vendors, and great live music. It’s family friendly, fantastic fun. Chicken BBQ – 2017
*Dates: June 6, 7, & 8th 2020
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Cape Vincent French Days

Cape Vincent NY French Festival/Via Facebook

Cape Vincent’s French Festival is one festival you’ll fall in love with. For nearly 50 years the festival has been one that locals look forward to annually, with many of the town’s residents having French roots. Featuring a pancake breakfast, bread and pastries for sale, crafts and many more activities all set in the beautiful 1000 Islands Region.
*Dates: July 10 – 12, 2020
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Finger Lakes Wine Festival

Are you a fan of Finger Lakes Wine? This event is for you! For three days in July, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival is bringing you music, food, and amazing local wine–from over 80 of the best vineyards in the Finger Lakes region. Special events include a lakefront toga party, taster’s banquet and great western breakfast, and new this year Glamping (fancy camping) for those who want to stay, you can reserve a comfortable safari-style tent, complete with bed(s)/cots with linens, blankets, and pillows, side tables, chairs, lanterns, rug, and even a battery pack for charging electronics. So bring your appetite and indulge in some of the best artisan wine and cheese. In beautiful Watkins Glen at Watkins Glen International. Tickets start at $50.
*Dates: July 2020 Dates TBA
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

New York State Festival of Balloons

New York State Festival of Balloons‎/ Via Facebook

Take in the breathtaking sites as hot air balloons gracefully float over the Dansville valley. 6 scheduled launches over the course of a long weekend, means you will have plenty of opportunities to see this stunning event. And while the hot air balloons are obviously the stars of this show, The New York Festival of Balloons, also offers a great deal more to keep you entertained. In between launches enjoy arts & crafts vendors, international food court, free entertainment, rides & amusements for children, and a car show. Labor Day Weekend
*Dates: Labor Day Weekend 2020 Schedule not yet announced
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Lowville Cream Cheese Festival

Lowville Cream Cheese Festival/ Via Facebook

This unique festival celebrates both the product you spread on your bagels and Kraft Foods, the company whose plant sits proudly in the small community of Lowville with a population of less than 4,000. The focus of the festival is on the giant cheesecake Kraft provides for those attending, but there is also much more to enjoy, with lots of food, games, vendors, contests, this is a fun event for all ages!
*Date: Saturday, September 2020 date TBA
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

Artsy Garlic Braids at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival/ Photo Credit: David Goehring Via Flickr

Hudson Valley’s Garlic Festival takes place at the end of September or early October. This unique festival is all about everything garlic, even things you wouldn’t generally associate with garlic contain some “stinking rose”. Visitors can enjoy garlic ice cream, garlic fudge, garlic jelly, garlic knots and so much more. Pack an apple or two to combat garlic breath!
*Dates: September 28th & 29th 2019
*To find out more information about this festival visit http://hvgf.org/

Spiedie Festival and Balloon Rally

Spiedie Fest Ballon Rally/ Via Facebook

Binghamton celebrates its signature dish – Spiedies – annually with the Spiedie Festival and Balloon Rally. With numerous events, including a hot air balloon rally, musical performances, car show, and fireworks, and of course a Spiedie cook-off featuring that unique skewered dish. Routinely draws upward of 100,000 people. 2017
*Dates: August 02 – August 04th, 2019
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Rochester Lilac Festival

Rochester Lilac Festival/ via Facebook

The Rochester Lilac festival is the largest free festival of its kind in North America. In Upstate New York the blooming of lilacs is a sure sign winter is behind us, and that is always a reason to celebrate here! Ten incredible days and nights of non-stop festivities. Peek around every corner and you’ll discover magnificent gardens, stages for performers and endless opportunity to admire the more than 500 varieties of lilacs. Highland Park is recognized as one of the largest collections of lilacs in the nation.
*Dates: May 10 – 19, 2019 • 10:30am – 8:30pm Daily
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Naples Grape Festival

Naples Grape Pie Contest
Photo Credit: Visit Finger Lakes via Flickr Creative Commons

Since 1961, the grape festival is held every September in our valley to celebrate the area’s grape harvest, talented artisans, winemakers, local and regional music and cuisine.
The Naples Grape Festival is held at the Naples High School Grounds and across the street at Memorial Town Hall from 10 am to 5 pm, rain or shine. Come and enjoy wine, food, arts, crafts and local/regional music. Bake a pie for the World’s Greatest Grape Pie Contest and sample everything “grape” that the Naples valley has to offer.
*Dates: Sep 21 -Sep 22nd, 2019.
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Sterling Renaissance Festival

Jousting at the Sterling Renaissance Festival/ Photo Credit: Penny Higgins via Flickr

Be transported back in time to Warwick England during the Elizabethan Period. The Renaissance Festival is a dramatic recreation of an Elizabethan town at festival time. This Renaissance styled theme park located in Sterling, is a month-long weekend only event with a 12-stage performance venue, a 35-acre interactive/environmental theater, art and crafts fair, a Jousting Tournament, a food festival and tavern, all rolled into one non-stop, day-long, family adventure!
*Dates: Saturdays & Sundays, from July 7th to August 19th, 2019. Festival hours are 10:00 AM until 7:00 PM. Tickets $15/child – $25/adult.
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

As always, I do my best to provide relevant and accurate information regarding events. With any event dates and times are subject to change, please confirm dates, times, and availability before attending an event. Events are posted on Home in the Finger Lakes from information found on, but not limited to, attraction sites, government city sites; as well as submissions from individual attractions, press releases, and PR firms. All events are subject to change without notice and Home in the Finger Lakes cannot be held responsible.

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  1. Do you know any business in Naples New York that makes and will ship Concord Grape Pie filling to Florida? If so, please provide me with their contact information. I am from Rochester but now living in Tampa but I miss the Naples Grape Festival and especially Grape pie!!!!