Rochester’s Park Ave Fest in jeopardy for 2022 return

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In a letter addressed to Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, two county lawmakers write they are "sad to learn that the Park Avenue Summer Arts Festival likely will not take place this year."

Park Ave Fest was canceled because of COVID in 2020 and 2021.

The letter penned by democratic county legislators Rachel Barnhart and Linda Hasman said the business group behind the festival "has been unable to find a new promoter to put on the festival."

The letter tells the county executive and the mayor that the county and city have "a role to play" in finding a promoter if not this summer then for the summer of 2023.

Park Ave Fest Letter by News10NBC on Scribd

"We want to see these festivals come back because we are known as a festival city," Evans said. "And I hope that the Park Avenue festival is able to come back. And if they have challenges, I hope they will reach out to the city. We are watching Park Avenue festival closely. And I know that my team over in communications and special events are communicating with them and I look forward to hearing the plans for this year."

News10NBC asked Mayor Evans about the event and he acknowledged while it’s not dead yet, things would need to get moving quickly for it to return. He also sent the following statement:

"The City of Rochester has been an avid supporter of The Park Avenue Festival since its inception, and has worked with the Park Avenue Merchants Association in recent years as it navigated the pandemic and other changes. For many, the Festival is a staple of summertime in Rochester.

"As with all of Rochester’s neighborhood festivals, the Park Avenue Festival enjoyed success because it was heavily supported by neighbors and local businesses. Ultimately, the Festival is theirs, and the City will continue to support whatever direction the neighborhood decides is best."

The festival normally happens at the beginning of August and is put on by the Park Avenue Merchants Association. Sometimes it brings in a quarter of a million visitors.

It’s a big boon for Park Avenue businesses, like Roam Café, which is owned by Drew Nye.

"Certainly there’s a big spike in business during that weekend," Nye said. "But, there’s also a ton of people that walk by and say ‘Oh, look at that merchant. Look at that restaurant. Look at that store that sells items.’ Even if we aren’t getting people coming in that weekend, it just helps for people to see us."

Nye said one year, he passed out coupons for the café at the festival and saw those coupons coming back to the restaurant for months afterward.