The end of the East End Festival?
Posted at: 07/31/2012 12:30 AM
| Updated at: 07/31/2012 3:24 AM
By: Lynette Adams | WHEC.com
On three Fridays every summer the East End is usually packed with people and activity. The East End Festival has become a Rochester tradition. But the next party will likely be the last.
"It's sort of a victim of its own success," says John Hutchings, East End festival promoter.
The conversation started with a post on the festival's Facebook page stating: "It's the end of an era... the August 10th East End Festival will be the last."
News10NBC wanted to know if this was real so we went to Hutchings.
"The very thing that we set out to do has been done, and along with it has come some problems," added Hutchings.
Twenty-two years ago local East End merchants wanted others to discover what they had found, a great neighborhood at the end of East Avenue. It worked. East Avenue is vibrant with new housing and businesses. But there are complaints.
Hutchings says, "The neighbors don't like the noise, they don't like the congestion, they don't like the fact we close down the streets three nights a summer."
It now seems the East End Festival may not fit the neighborhood it helped create.
"The things that are good about the East End Festival, to some people, are the things that are bad about the East End Festival," says Hutchings. "So that's what we're kind of dealing with. So it's getting to the point where we might have to rethink this."
Burleigh is sad to hear the fest is going away.
"With the fact that one out of four college students end up leaving Rochester, that's a huge market," says Burleigh. "And festivals like that, it brings them right in."
But some merchants say the festival is more of a hindrance than a help. This is what the owner of Bernunzio's Uptown Music told us just a few weeks ago.
"People can't get in and out," says Julie Bernunzio. "They don't want to even try and come down. It basically shuts down any kind of retail business because people aren't here to shop. They are here to drink and, you know, listen to music."
"We want it to continue, we acknowledge that it can't continue the way that it's existed and we're working hard to that end," says Hutchings.
Hutchings says he is working with the City Department of Special Events to come up with a festival that makes sense for this neighborhood. But it's likely to be very different than the East End Festival.