Lilac Festival: A day closed is a day of lost revenue

May 14, 2019 08:07 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- The Lilac Festival was back open Tuesday after closing Monday due to the persistent rain and cold temperatures. 

However, one canceled night can significantly impact the vendors who invest a lot to come to the festival.


"I am looking forward to the warmer days...look at me, I'm wearing mittens and it's supposed to be spring," said Patricia Simmonds.

Simmonds of West Henrietta has worked the festival circuit for the past six years, earning a living with her Caribbean wraps.

She enjoys the festival, but so far the 121st Rochester Lilac Festival has been a disappointment due to the weather. She thinks pushing the festival back a week would help. 

"The experience for me, since I've been in the event six years,...the first week is always a damper," she said. "As soon as the event wraps up, the weather gets significantly better."

That would not be a problem for producer Jeff Springut, but it might be for the lilacs. 

"It's called the Lilac Festival and I think that's what drives the date," said Springut. "The lilacs seem to peak somewhere in this two-week period."

He says the festival still has plenty more life. 

"Today's only Tuesday," he said. "So we have...great entertainment every night of the week. The vendors are cooking up good's all free."

For Michael Blackburn, Monday's cancelation was a downer, but in his 18 years of doing this, Blackburn understands you take the good with the bad.

"The staff comes to make money and earn a living just like we do," said Blackburn, who owns CRA Enterprises. "Usually, we're here and everybody's having a good time and it's a good positive energy. It's a nice festival. It's a good, happy positive energy. When you're sitting there and it's slow and it drains your spirit just like it drains the heat out of your body." 


Lynette Adams

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