The ice has thawed. The sun is shining. It’s spring, and that means festivals and eventsa lot of themall across New York. And things are only going to get hotter this summer. All season long you can groove to music under the stars, watch glass get made al fresco, sample delicious food, and get your kicks on midway rides. Here are your family's must-catch things to do across the Empire State this summer. Mark your calendar!

Summer Concerts at SPAC (Capital-Saratoga)

SPAC Concert - Photo Courtesy of Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce

Located within beautiful Saratoga Spa State Park, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is one of the most beloved spots in New York for culture seekers, whether they’re looking for an evening with the symphony or ballet, a night of rock & roll, or a comedy show. In addition to big-name acts like Dead & Company (June 18) and Dave Matthews Band (July 12–13), this summer also features the annual Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival (June 29–30) and a New York City Ballet residence (July 16–20). Many events are family-friendly, but kid-focused events this summer include KIDZ BOP Live! (July 28) and the Philadelphia Orchestra performing the score to Disney Pixar's Up, along with a screening of the film. Saratoga Springs; season starts on May 26; prices vary by event

WorldPride (New York City)

New York City Pride March; Photograph: Chris Gagliardi

June is LGBTQ Pride month, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City. WorldPride comes to the United States for the first time to celebrate decades of progress for LGBTQ liberation. This is the largest Pride event in the world, with more than 50 ways to celebrate and millions of people expected to attend. It will span the entire month of June to commemorate the special occasion. New York City; June 130; prices vary by event

Read More: Where to Celebrate Pride and WorldPride in New York State

Bethel Woods Concert Series (Catskills)

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

The site of the original 1969 Woodstock festival and nestled in the beautiful Catskill Mountains, Bethel Woods still hosts a wide variety of performances every summer. The beautiful amphitheater is a perfect place to catch a show, whether you score an inside seat or bring a blanket and claim a patch of the lawn. Highlights of this year’s season include classic rock (Peter Frampton’s Farewell Tour on June 30, Heart on July 29) and country superstars (Zac Brown Band on June 21, Chris Stapleton on July 26). The venue will also be hosting its 15th annual Mountain Jam festival from June 13–16, featuring Willie Nelson & Family and The Avett Brothers. In August, partake in Bethel Wood’s Anniversary Week celebrationsincluding a screening of the Academy Award-winning film Woodstock and many musical performances like Ringo Starr and his All Star Band and Santana. Bethel; outdoor concerts begin June 13; prices vary by event

LARAC June Arts Festival (Adirondacks)

Join the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council in celebrating their 47th-annual Arts Festival this June. Free and open to the public, there is plenty to do at this family-friendly event! Shop the creations of more than 200 artists and artists, catch a live musical performance, and watch numerous art demonstrations. Leave with homemade crafts and local specialty food. With all the fun activities featured, nobody in your party will go home feeling bummed out. Glen Falls; June 1516; free

Pride on the Beach (Long Island)

Head to Long Island for three days of fun in the sun. The annual Pride on the Beach features more than 30 LGBTQ-friendly events, including the 29th-annual Pride Parade. There will be music, a 5K race, beach parties, and a market fair. For the second year now, there will also be a Pride Pet Parade! Sit back and relax on the beach during the day and flaunt your pride at numerous parties by night. Make sure you check out all the different events across New York State this summer to celebrate WorldPride 2019. Long Island; June 2123; prices vary by event

Read More: Party in the City & Stay in the Country for WorldPride

CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival (Finger Lakes)

Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival

This highly respected celebration of jazz makes its annual return to Rochester with dozens of concerts all over town, and while jazz is the main course, fans of other genres will find plenty to love here as well. Two of this year’s headliners, for example, are rock legends Steve Miller Band and soulful R&B singer Patti LaBelle. Families will enjoy the free daily shows and food vendors around the Jazz Street Stage. Various venues, Rochester; June 21–29; prices vary by event

Tail Winds Music Festival (Hudson Valley)

While this festival only runs for one day, it will be jam-packed with fun for all! Other than a full lineup of musical performances, there will be a variety of local food trucks and beverage vendors and helicopter rides. Headlining this year is Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Wappingers Falls; June 29; $65 general admission or $165 VIP access

Taste of Buffalo (Greater Niagara)

Taste of Buffalo

The largest food festival of its kind, Taste of Buffalo is something that needs to be experienced. More than 55 restaurants will take over downtown Buffalo where more than 450,000 visitors sample endless varieties of wine, food, and treats. There will also be local bands and DJs providing a lively soundtrack, cooking demonstrations and presentations on the Culinary Stage, and a “KidZone” just for the little ones. Come for two days of flavor, and make sure to bring your appetite. Downtown Buffalo; July 13–14; free

Oswego Harborfest (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

2015 July 25th Fireworks-Oswego Harborfest - Photo by Robert J Clark Photography
Photographer: Robert J Clark Photography

More than 75,000 folks flock to Oswego on the shores of beautiful Lake Ontario for this annual celebration of maritime culture and festival of family fun. Highlights include a midway packed with rides and games, live music on three separate stages, arts and crafts vendors, water ski shows, helicopter rides, and so much more. On Saturday night, cast your eyes skyward for the sure-to-dazzle Grucci Fireworks. Oswego; July 25–28; free

The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

Lucille Ball

Named for Jamestown’s most famous daughter, this annual celebration of laughter is always a big, funny deal. Although it formally opened last August, the National Comedy Center is still surrounded by excitement over this high-tech museum. During the festival, there will be more than 50 events happening all over the city as part of the Comedy Festival, including a block party, neighborhood tours, intimate late-night shows, and headlining sets from John Mulaney and Sebastian Maniscalco. Various venues; Jamestown; August 7–11; prices vary by event

Annual Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally Expo (Central NY)

Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally Binghamton

New York has no shortage of regional treats to delight your taste buds, from Rochester’s beloved (if unfortunately named) Garbage Plate to the world-famous Buffalo Wings invented at Anchor Bar’s original location. Binghamton’s contribution to the local cuisine lore is the spiedie, savory hunks of meat marinated in special sauce served on a roll. For 35 years, spiedies have been celebrated every summer at this massive outdoor party, which has grown to include a midway filled with rides, concerts, the launch of dozens of hot-air balloons, and, of course, a spiedie cooking contest. Binghamton; August 2–4; ticket prices TBA

Bill Johnston’s Pirate Days (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

Bill Johnston's Pirate Days

Ahoy, mateys! Alexandria Bay comes alive with pirate action for 10 days this August at this annual festival named for a real-life pirate who hid from Canadian and US authorities in the Thousand Islands following the Patriot War. Among the many highlights of the Pirate Days: adventure cruises courtesy of Uncle Sam Boat Tours, several concerts, old-timey weapons demonstrations, a children’s parade, and much more. Throughout the fest, keep watch for the Tales from Remikreh performance troupe, who will be making merry throughout the village. Various venues, Alexandria Bay; August 9–18; prices vary by event

The Great New York State Fair (Finger Lakes)

New York State Fair

If you’ve been to the Fair, it needs no introduction. And if you’ve never been to this massive feast for the senses in Syracuse, then make this your summer to visit! There’s never a dull moment at the Great New York State Fair, with the midway packed with amazing rides, the fabulous nightly concerts (2019 highlights include Grand Funk Railroad, 38 Special, and The Roots), the adorable animal shows and displays, and so much to eat and drink. Sample delights like delectable meats from Dinosaur BBQ, wine slushies from New York vineyards, and, of course, deep-fried everythingNew York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse; August 21–September 2; $10, though there are many promotions and special discounts regularly announced; check the fair’s website for the latest deals and information

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