From naval air shows and local varietals to internationally acclaimed ballet, New York State is bustling with activities this July. Here are some top picks from around the state. (And we didn’t forget about America’s birthday: Head here to read about some of the amazing things to do in New York for the Fourth of July.)


Water Music NY
Water Music NY
Water Music NY celebrates the bicentennial of the Erie Canal’s groundbreaking with a series of concerts starting in Albany and spreading west along the canal, winding up in Lockport. Grammy winner David Alan Miller conducts the Albany Symphony in Handel’s Water Music each night, followed by original works commissioned for the series. You’ll also hear from other guest musicians and ensembles, and each stop includes local food and drink, plus  family-friendly activities like face painting and karaoke. Various locations; July 2 - 8; free

LECOM Health Challenge
LECOM Health Challenge

The LECOM Health Challenge golf tournament comes to the Peek & Peak Resort in Western New York for four action-packed rounds of PGA tournament competition with a purse of $600,000 - including $108,000 for the winner! Clymer, July 6 - 9, $15 - $25
 
Taste of Buffalo; Photograph: KC Kratt
Taste of Buffalo

Taste of Buffalo is the largest two-day food festival of its kind in the United States, with food from more than 55 restaurants serving virtually every kind of cuisine to a crowd of more than 450,000 foodies. In addition to ample snacking (most items are less than $5, so pace yourself), you can learn a thing or two at demonstrations covering things like home-brewing and crafting the perfect mac-and cheese. When you need a break from all the grub, you can groove to live music or turn the kids loose in the Kidzone. Buffalo; July 8 - 9; free
 
NYC Ballet in Saratoga
NYC Ballet in Saratoga

The New York City Ballet is one of the world's preeminent dance companies, and this year, it returns to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for its annual summer residency.  This year, the company will present 18 different ballets by six choreographers - three of which will make their SPAC premieres. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see world-class art in a gorgeous natural setting. Saratoga Springs, July 5 - 15, ticket prices vary
 
US Waterski Show Team
U.S. Waterski Show Team Exhibition
 

The U.S. Waterski Show Team returns to the Adirondacks for its sixth annual exhibition. Watch these water-riding daredevils perform feats like pyramids, barefoot waterskiing, synchronized jumps and quadruple-decker pyramids. And, of course, the performers will be decked in perfectly glittery costumes. Long Lake; July 15; free

Canal Fest, Rotterdam Junction
Canal Fest

Discover the tremendous impact the Erie Canal has had on our region’s culture and heritage. The CanalFest will include storytelling, canal-themed crafts, blacksmithing and cooking demonstrations inspired by the Erie Canal, tours of the historic Mabee house, and an exhibit featuring historic and contemporary photos of the canal. Rotterdam Junction; July 15; free
 
Great Wellsville Balloon Rally
42nd Annual Great Wellsville Balloon Rally

Balloons will take flight from Island Park and fill the sky in a delightful rainbow of color, while gracefully floating over the Genesee River and the beautiful green hills and fields of Wellsville. On the ground, you can dance to music spun by live DJs, check out the festival on Main Street and take in a musical performance by Zoar. Don’t miss the fireworks display on Saturday night! Wellsville; July 21 - 23; free
 
Brantling Bluegrass Festival
Brantling Bluegrass Festival

The Brantling Bluegrass Festival features four jam-packed days of great bluegrass music from some of the top national, regional and local bands. In addition to the plucky music, you'll find delicious barbecue, food and craft vendors, and even compete in a Hula Hoop contest! If you feel like getting fully immersive, bring a tent and camp on site. Sodus, Jul 27 - 30, tickets start at $55

Oswego Harborfest
30th Annual Oswego Harborfest

More than 100,000 revelers are expected at the 30th annual incarnation of this festival of food, music and general merriment. Highlights include a midway packed with thrilling rides, nightly performances from local and far-flung musical acts, local food and drink vendors, and a massive Grucci Fireworks display over the harbor. Oswego, Jul 27 - 30; free 
 
Niagara USA Wine Festival
Niagara USA Wine Festival

Sample vino from top wineries on the Niagara Wine Trail at this two-day festival in downtown Lewiston. Your ticket gets you a complementary wine glass and three samples at each participating winery. (As of this typing, there were 14 wineries scheduled to participate, so that's some pretty good math.) Be sure to bring extra cash for food from local vendors and farmers. Lewiston; July 29 - 30; $25 - $30 (free for designated drivers and other non-drinking attendees)

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