Dust off your tote bag, art festivals are back | Festivals Preview

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  • The big art festivals like Clothesline are back, but there are lots of art-centered village festivals happening throughout the spring and summer, too. Head to Fairport Canal Days, Keuka Arts Festival, or Spencerport Canal Days (pictured) and others.

After winter kept us all cooped up and doing arguably too much shopping online, spring and summer provide us with opportunities to enjoy the fresh air while exploring the wares of local and regional artists. You’re familiar with the Clothesline Festival at the MAG, and Arts at the Gardens at Sonnenberg, but there are loads of little village arts fests that fill up most weekends through the fall.

These are the festivals that feature art and artisans front and center. If you’re into it, make it part of your weekend routine. It’s great to shop local and never too soon to start checking people off your holiday gift lists.

Fairport Canal Days
June 3-5 | S. Main St., Fairport | fairportcanaldays.com
This year marks the 45th time artists and vendors will gather along South Main Street in Fairport for the annual Canal Days. Vendors offer up everything from painted birdhouses and lawn decorations to handmade soaps and pottery. After taking a pandemic pause in 2020, the all-volunteer crew behind this festival held a smaller fête in 2021, but say they’re eager to present a full-fledged arts fest this year.

Booths are set up along the Erie Canal, though food vendors spill over onto the village’s side streets. There will be two musical stages which will feature everything from original local artists, pop, rock, cover bands, and more. Don’t forget to buy your rubber duck for the Duck Race and cheer for it from the lift bridge.

Keuka Arts Festival
June 11-12 | Keuka Lake Outlet Trail | keukaartsfestival.com
The Arts Center of Yates County held a pared-down, off-season Keuka Arts Festival last fall after the pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 event. But the full festival returns this summer. Set along a narrow, meandering portion of the historic Outlet Trail in the village of Penn Yan, this year’s festival will include upwards of 100 vendors selling paintings, jewelry, basketry, wood and metal work, fiber arts, and edibles, among other things. Eight different musical acts will perform on two stages during the two-day festival. This year’s acts include Three Stone Fire, John Bolger, Feedback, the Mt. Vernon Male Gospel Chorus, and Steve Grills & the Roadmasters featuring Joe Beard. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

Corn Hill Arts Festival
July 9-10 | Corn Hill Neighborhood | cornhillartsfestival.com
What started as a gathering of neighbors sharing their art with one another more than five decades ago has blossomed into one of the area’s most popular summer arts festivals. For two days, more than 300 artists set up throughout Corn Hill selling posters, paintings, metal work, jewelry, and other goods, with the neighborhood’s historic homes serving as a backdrop. The show also offers a chance for artists ages 15-23 to show and sell their work in the Emerging Artists Expo. Musical acts take over four stages, including the neighborhood’s signature gazebo.

Festival-goers can also enjoy a variety of food from local food trucks and vendors. There’s also beer and wine gardens for the adults, and face-painting, bounce houses, and chalk drawing for the kids.

Canandaigua Art & Music Festival
July 15-17 | Fri. Noon to 7p.m., Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | S. Main Street, Canandaigua | downtowncanandaigua.com/art-and-music-festival/about
For more than 30 years, people have flocked to downtown Canandaigua for the annual Art & Music Festival. Featuring more than 150 juried artists working in a variety of mediums — ceramics, pottery, jewelry, woodworking, fiber, glass, photography, and gourmet food just to name a few — the festival has grown over the years to include music (bluegrass, rock and roll, jazz,and more), children’s activities, and food trucks.

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  • Catch artists selling their wares — and possibly at work, as well — in and around the mansion and grounds at Sonnenberg’s Arts and the Gardens in late July.

Sonnenberg’s Arts at the Gardens
July 23-24 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion | $10 (adults), $5 (3-15 years), free (under 3) | sonnenberg.org/ 2022-arts-at-the-gardens
Perusing works of art in the middle of Mother Nature’s artwork is one of the more unique ways to enjoy an outdoor art festival. Sonnenberg’s Arts at the Gardens features paintings, prints, ceramics, jewelry, glass, photography, fabrics, and more set in and around the mansion and across the sprawling 50-acre state historic park and garden. The event also includes musical performances, food, and wine.

Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show
July 30-31 | Kershaw Park, 155 Lakeshore Dr., Canandaigua | lakefrontartshow.com
Set against the backdrop of Canandaigua Lake, artists have lined up at Kershaw Park for nearly 50 years for this annual arts fest. Nothing says “Rochester summer” like strolling along the lakeshore, browsing local art, and scarfing down a bag of kettle corn (from one of the many food vendors on site for the event).

Spencerport Canal Days
July 30-31 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | spencerportcanaldays.com
After two years off, Spencerport Canal Days returns this year. What started as a small art show has grown to include music and entertainment on two stages, a massive car show featuring 200+ vintage hot rods, wine tasting, and a “Canaligator” race in the same spirit of Fairport’s and Brockport’s duck races, but with rubber alligators instead.

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Vendors selling all manner of handmade items — like these wood sculptures from a previous year — will be on hand at the Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show. - PHOTO PROVIDED

  • Vendors selling all manner of handmade items — like these wood sculptures from a previous year — will be on hand at the Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show.

Webster Waterfront Art Festival
July 30-31 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | North Ponds Park, Webster | $3 (adults), free (kids 12 & under) | waterfrontartfestival.com
The Waterfront Art Festival has been running since 1973. After moving from Canandaigua to Webster in 2015, it includes an array of works from regional artists as well as live art demonstrations. There’s also wine, beer, and cider tastings, food tents, live music, and kids’ activities. Plus, there’s plenty of shade around the pond.

Brockport Arts Festival
August 13-14 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | N. Main Street, Brockport | brockportartsfestival.com
After a two-year hiatus, the Brockport Arts Festival returns, featuring more than 100 local and regional artisans. Organizers are ramping up the entertainment, too, with live acts all weekend long, including a Saturday evening performance featuring North of 40. Revelers can enjoy street performers, a smorgasbord of local foods, and a wine garden featuring the best the Finger Lakes region has to offer. There’s also the annual Duck Derby Race, with more than $6,000 worth of prizes to win.

M&T Bank Clothesline Festival
September 10-11 | Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave. | mag.rochester.edu
The Clothesline Festival has been a fixture in the Rochester art scene for more than 60 years. This year’s fest features more than 400 artists selling paintings, photographs, woodwork, clothing, pottery, and more. After going virtual in 2020, and limiting crowd sizes in 2021, festival organizers are returning this event to its full glory this year.

Artist Row Art Show
September 18 | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Rochester Public Market, N. Union Street | artistrowrochester.com
Instead of the usual fruits and vegetables you often find under the sheds at the Public Market, you’ll find nearly 200 local up-and-coming artists during the Artist Row Art Show. This juried event started in 2004 and offers $1,000 in prizes to participating artists. The entry fees are deliberately kept low to encourage emerging artists to show off their work. An estimated 20,000 people turn out for this event, which also features free music by local musicians and treats from local food trucks and vendors.

Kathy Laluk is a CITY contributing writer. Feedback on this article can be directed to CITY’s life editor, Rebecca Rafferty, at [email protected]

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