Changes coming to Lilac Festival

Updated: 04/09/2014 6:29 PM
Created: 04/09/2014 5:35 PM WHEC.com
By: Jennifer Mobilia

Many people are thinking about the spring and summer festival season. If you plan on attending the Lilac Festival with your family, there will be some major changes this year.

Last year at the Lilac Festival, a number of fights broke out. This year, there’s going to be an increase in security. 

Aside from security, organizers say there are going to be a number of changes from pets to entry and admission.

Rochester is just one month away from the start of the Lilac Festival at Highland Park. Last year, two fights broke out at the festival. County officials have already been considering beefing up security, but those fights lead them to make big changes for this year.

Each year, the Lilac Festival attracts about a half a million people to Highland Park. But after two fights last year on park property next to the festival, organizers say change was needed. 

Larry Staub, Monroe County Parks and Recreation, said, “It was mostly younger kids coming down and trying to make mischief. We want to make sure they know by the steps we're taking that this isn't the place for that and the people there are here to have a good time, not to put up with their nonsense.”

Those steps include fencing in the festival area. There will be five entry points, all staffed with security guards. In addition, all bags will be screened at the gates and anyone wishing to purchase alcohol will be carded at the gate before entering. 

Staub said, "By putting these steps in place, I think we send a message to those who would try to disrupt things that this isn't the place to do it. If you want to make a jerk out of yourself, if you want to engage in that kind of activity, don't come here, because it will not be tolerated."

Also new this year, no pets will be allowed inside the festival area.  

Staub said, "You have food vendors, beverage vendors, concerts going on, it's not the place for pets.  In the rest of the park, you can bring your pet. You can walk around on leash, but in that festival area, that's not the place for pets.”

Organizers say even though the festival area will be fenced in and will only have five entry points, it will still be free and open for everyone to enjoy. 

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