April 22, 2022
See the full press release (PDF)
Celebrate more bicentenary events at the Lilac Festival presented by Wegmans
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today announced the theme for the Lilac Festival Parade and a new community event to mark Monroe County’s Bicentennial.
Under the Monroe County Bicentennial theme, Celebrate More, the 2022 Rochester Lilac Festival will feature the Lilac Unity Parade and the Big Sing, a new event featuring 200 gospel singers from across Monroe County performing on the festival site immediately after the Lilac Parade. The parade and Big Sing are made possible and presented by Wegmans.
“What better way to celebrate the gathering than the Unity Parade at the Lilac Festival?” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “After Unity Parade, the Big Sing brings together 200 gospel singers from across Monroe County to not only perform, but to lead festival-goers in a huge concert. We start our next 200 years all singing the same anthem! Thanks to Wegmans for bringing these unity events and everyone who made it possible.
Both events emphasize a message of unity. These events are designed to bring Monroe County residents together to celebrate the county’s history, while recognizing the bright potential of the future.
“As the home of our region’s iconic festival, the Rochester Lilac Festival is the perfect setting to celebrate Monroe County’s Bicentennial,” said Mayor Malik Evans. “The City of Rochester is proud to partner with Monroe County for landmark events and the county’s bicentennial celebration. The Unity Parade and Big Sing are fantastic additions to the world-class lineup that is planned for Lilac Festival this year. I encourage everyone to come out and celebrate in unity at Highland Park in May. »
The Rochester Lilac Festival is the largest free festival of its kind in the country. The 2022 festival runs May 6-8, May 12-15 and May 19-22 in Highland Park. Highland Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is home to the largest collection of lilacs in North America, and this annual festival celebrates the blooming of the lilacs, along with free headliners of national music, food, drink, arts and crafts, a 5k/10k run and many more activities and events.
Visitors to the Rochester Lilac Festival can stop by the Visit Rochester stand at the festival for special Celebrate More items and a Celebrate More photo op.
“The Lilac Festival has always been an event focused on celebrating community, togetherness and the arts while enjoying the beautiful natural wonders of Rochester’s Highland Park,” said Jeff Springut, Producer of Lilac Festival. “With that in mind, the festival is the perfect environment to kick off Monroe County’s Bicentennial events, and we’re so grateful to be hosting this year’s Unity Parade and Big Sing celebrations!”
Lilac Festival Unity Parade, presented by Wegmans – Saturday, May 7, 10:30 a.m.
The 2022 Lilac Parade offers a new focus for an iconic event. Returning in 2022 after a two-year hiatus, the Lilac Parade is a parade with a purpose. The 2022 Lilac Parade, presented by Wegmans, will highlight Monroe County’s rich history, community organizations, drum and bugle corps and more. Several marching groups will channel Monroe County history, including the Excelsior Brigade of Fifes & Drums, a living history military field musician unit, Reynolds Battery L 1st New York Light Artillery war reenactment group civilian and several groups from the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House.
Many musical groups will feature in the parade, but several new organizations will join in 2022. New musical groups for the 2022 parade include the Rochester Gay Men’s Choir, Pride of Rochester Marching Band, Greece Marching Band and the Mark Time Marchers . .
Rochester native and 2022 Olympic gold medalist Chris Lillis will be the Grand Marshal of this year’s Lilac Parade. Lillis, who grew up in Pittsford, is a professional freestyle skier who secured Team USA gold in the mixed team aerials event at this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. Chris is also the youngest man to win a FIS Aerials World Cup at 17 and the first American to perform a quintuple stunt in competition since 2010. After the parade, Lillis will be at the Visit Rochester booth on Highland Avenue to sign articles. . Those who wish can donate to Bristol Mountain, a fundraiser to help improve the ski area for current and future Olympians.
In addition to these new highlights in 2022, the Rochester Lilac Parade will feature traditional parade favorites including additional marching bands, dancers, costumed characters and the popular Damascus mini cars.
The “Big Sing”, Presented by Wegmans – Saturday, May 7, around 12:05 p.m.
Immediately following the Lilac Parade, visitors to the Rochester Lilac Festival can enjoy the Big Sing presented by Wegmans, a performance featuring 200 gospel singers from across Monroe County. The Big Sing celebrates the Bicentennial of Monroe County and will bring singers from across Monroe County to the main stage of the Lilac Festival to perform. The collaboration will feature a powerful spiritual finale to the Lilac Parade with a purpose. Visitors of all ages and faiths are encouraged to attend to celebrate both Monroe County’s history and its bright future.
The 200-strong choir will be led by Wardell Lewis and will feature singers from a number of different churches across Monroe County.
Monroe County will continue to celebrate its Bicentennial throughout the coming year under the theme of Celebrate More, a community-wide celebration of Monroe County Bicentennial events, Celebrate More will bring people together from the entire community to celebrate all that Monroe County has to offer, from historical, cultural and educational festivals to family activities and special events.
The upcoming Celebrate More special event includes a full week of programming in recognition of the 200th anniversary of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed several parks in Monroe County, including Highland, Genesee Valley, Maplewood and Seneca Parks. Monroe County Executive Adam Bello will make a series of announcements beginning Monday, April 25 as part of “Olmsted Week,” celebrating the 200th anniversaries of Frederick Law Olmsted and Monroe County.