There’s no day left behind in our packed seasons of festivals, annual events, anniversaries and parties. As our regions thaw their way into spring there are tulips to celebrate, microbrews to sample, ribs to barbecue and yellow brick roads to follow. Summer brings thoroughbred racing, waterway celebrations, music fests and rodeos. Warm your blood with a wine tour, stir your imagination at a Civil War reenactment, follow the roar of engines to motorcycle rallies and speedways, lift your spirits at a giant balloon rally, or take in the vibe at a jazz fest.
Start filling your calendar now because the fun goes fast.
June: Great NYS Food and Wine Fest, Clayton
Here’s a farm market to rule them all, with “Made in New York” foods and wines, candies and cheeses, maple syrup and apple cider.
July: Harborfest, Oswego
Oswego’s annual citywide festival features a Civil War encampment, vendor booths and refreshments. The harbor explodes with four days of live music, juried artists, tasty food and world-class fireworks over Lake Ontario, the last full weekend in July.
August: Bill Johnston’s Pirate Days, Alexandria Bay
Return to an era when pirates prowled the mighty St. Lawrence River during this village-wide event. Ten days of sword fights, magicians, music, boat tours, tall ship invasions and general swashbuckling.
June: Americade Motorcycle Touring Rally, Lake George
Whether or not you ride, the world’s largest multi-brand motorcycle touring rally offers guided mini-tours, vendors, boat tours, a rodeo and the roar of engines over several days in June.
August: Lake George Music Festival
This multi-day fest is your ticket to open rehearsals and free public concerts by over 70 musicians from the world’s top orchestras at venues all around Lake George and in Shepard Park.
May: Albany Tulip Festival
Girls in authentic Dutch costumes kick off this annual festival with a traditional scrubbing of State Street. See 100,000 tulips in bloom, art exhibits and live music celebrating America’s oldest Dutch settlement. Free admission.
June: Freihofer Jazz Festival, Saratoga Springs
Two stages, 20 artists, green grass and cool jazz welcome end-of-June crowds to this annual Saratoga Performing Arts Center fest showcasing top names in jazz. The vibe is uniquely Saratoga.
August: Travers Festival Week, Saratoga Springs
Nine days of celebrations mark the peak of Saratoga racing season with the famous Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Live music, street festivals and a Travers Gala are among 50 area events.
May: Oz-stravaganza, Chittenango
Click your heels for this annual end-of-May celebration of all things Oz in the hometown of L. Frank Baum. Weekend-long events include a Munchkin Mile Fun Run, Emerald City Idol, and costumed movie characters.
June: Civil War Weekend, Peterboro
Revisit the Civil War in music, drama, storytelling and period crafts. Wander Confederate and Union camps and hear their stories. Battle drills and stirring reenactments, second weekend in June.
July: Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, Cooperstown
Cooperstown’s biggest weekend is always a home run. Hall of Fame members gather to honor the newest inductees to the baseball fraternity at Clark Sports Center. This entire charming village celebrates. Not to be missed by fans.
May: Roc City Rib Fest, Rochester
One of the state’s biggest barbecue bonanzas, home of the World Bacon Championship. Chicken, sausage, pork and brisket cook-offs, a kids’ fun zone and plenty of finger-licking ribs.
June: Taste of Syracuse
Two days of fantastic food and fabulous music with $1 samples from scores of the area’s best restaurants, wineries and breweries. Plus many stages of continuous live music and plenty of family fun. All free.
June: International Jazz Festival, Rochester
Top names headline nine days of solid jazz at this annual event starring legendary voices at—count ‘em—more than a dozen different venues around Rochester. It’s jazz heaven.
July: Renaissance Festival, Sterling
Step back in time to an authentic English renaissance village populated by stage and street performers and musicians. Artisans, pub sing-alongs, wench auctions and mock trials, weekends through August.
August: Great New York State Fair, Syracuse
The oldest state fair in the U.S. draws a million visitors each year for countless rides, games, headline artists, a Native American village and more surprises. It’s a great state fair.
June: Canal Days, Fairport
Celebrate the historic Erie Canal with music, fun and 300 artisan booths at this juried arts and crafts fest held the first full weekend in June. Live jazz, bebop, Dixieland and funk provide the soundtrack, including a Battle of the Bands.
June: Allentown Art Festival, Buffalo
More than 400 juried artists, jewelers and crafters blanket Buffalo’s Allentown Historic Preservation District with their wares for this huge annual outdoor art festival that attracts mobs of browsers to celebrate spring.
June: National Garden Festival, Buffalo
Gardeners and nosy neighbors alike can peek inside hundreds of Buffalo’s most colorful backyard gardens. Discover stunning displays by proud gardeners in garden walks, workshops and lectures, six weeks beginning in June.
August: National Buffalo Wing Festival, Buffalo
Coca Cola Field ignites palates with Buffalo’s top wings and sauces—find your new favorite. Hundreds of restaurants compete for honors amid wing eating contests and buckets of entertainment.
August: Attica Rodeo
Sample the Wild West at the famous Attica Rodeo where bareback bronc busting, calf roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and bull riding are all within a lariat throw. Throw a rope around summer at this early-August roundup.
June: Chautauqua in June Learning Festival
It fills two weeks with hands-on workshops in culinary, creative and cultural arts, and outdoor recreation. Learn something cool.
July: Summer Music Festival, Ellicottville
National acts converge for this tuneful weekend of endless music, arts and crafts, a pet parade and ever-popular Strawberry Festival. Children 12 and under attend free.
July: Great Wellsville Balloon Rally, Wellsville
The third weekend in July finds Wellsville’s skies lined with giant hot air balloons. Morning and evening balloon launches, a parade, fireworks and balloon rides for the adventurous.
August: Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy
If you love Lucy, don’t miss Jamestown’s annual tribute to the Queen of Comedy at the Lucy Desi Museum. Over 10,000 visitors come for stand-up headliners, Lucy impersonators and Lucy Town Tours.
August: America’s Grape Country Wine Festival, Dunkirk
Dozens of NYS wineries present a weekend ripe with wine, food tastings, craft vendors and live music at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds. Plus a big farmers’ market.
June: RiverFest, Cornwall-on-Hudson
Live music, scores of vendors, food and children’s activities fill the Hudson River shoreline at this big annual festival held the first Saturday in June at Donohue Park.
August: New York Renaissance Faire, Tuxedo Park
Watch 16th century England come to life with pageants, costumed dancers, strolling minstrels, jousters and storytellers, plus an old time marketplace. Over 100 shops and 18 stages of merriment, through September.
August: Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Hillsdale
This top folk music and dance fest fills three days with the sounds of folk music, bluegrass, Cajun and blues, and spectacular views of the Berkshires and Catskills. Music workshops too. Camping available.
April: TAP New York, Hunter
In late April, New York’s largest craft beer and food event taps over 200 beers from IPAs and lagers to wiesbiers and stouts, with foods to complement them. Over 85 brewers compete for top honors at Hunter Mountain.
June: Mountain Jam, Hunter
This massive four-day outdoor music fest in early June has featured headliners like Phil Lesh, the Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule at Hunter Mountain. On-site camping and condos, 50 bands on three stages.
July: Belleayre Music Festival, Highmount
Enjoy a dizzying mix of country music, rock, jazz, symphony, opera and dance by world class performers in a magnificent setting atop Belleayre Mountain, through August.
April: Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival, Fifth Avenue
Show off your Easter bonnet along Fifth Avenue as New York celebrates the holiday in festive spring plumage. The parade marches north from 49th Street, and the best viewing spots are around St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
May: International Food Festival, Manhattan
Travel the globe through exotic cuisine of Poland, Italy, Spain, Greece, Japan and Thailand at this signature event that lines the streets from 42nd to 57th with stage entertainment, games and free admission.
May: Fleet Week, Manhattan
The fleet is in with week-long celebrations to honor U.S. Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. Meet the salts who keep our waters safe, and tour their ships. Military demonstrations too.
June: Celebrate Brooklyn, Brooklyn
This summer-long performing arts festival showcases famous and soon-to-be-famous artists. Music, film, theater and dance at the Prospect Park Bandshell through August, and all shows are free.
June: River to River Fest, lower Manhattan
It’s a month of free performances and events that sprawl across lower Manhattan. Music, visual arts, film and more at dozens of park and waterfront venues, through July.
July: Harlem Jazz & Music Festival, Harlem
This giant party runs right through August with concerts and dance, film and sports, food and fashion, and many more mostly-free festivities to entertain an expected crowd of two million.
June: Belmont Stakes Festival Week, Elmont
A week of Long Island events, parties and film fests begins with a parade and climaxes with the third leg of the Triple Crown at Belmont Park.
June: Strawberry Festival, Mattituck
Just in time for June’s strawberry crop come four days of strawberry shortcake, strawberry chocolates, live music, arts and crafts, rides and fireworks.
August: Hampton Classic Horse Show, Bridgehampton
Over 1,600 horses compete across five show rings in one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the U.S. This multi-day August show is a grand way to close out summer, famous for celebrity sightings.