The Lilac Festival is an art, music, food and flora festival hosted annually in early May in the Highland Park in Rochester, New York. It is one of the largest festivals of its kind in North America, drawing spectators from all over the globe. Highland Park possesses a huge collection of lilacs, featuring more than a thousand bushes and hundreds of different varieties. Early May is the season that lilacs are blooming in Rochester.
The festival was informally started in 1898 when 3,000 people came to the park one Sunday in May to see the lilacs. Since then the number of viewers has grown to over 500,000 and the festival plays out over the course of ten days. The modern day festival is started with a parade and frequently hosts concerts and other attractions during the week. The Highland Park arboretum is toured free of charge and is open to all visitors. The fields surrounding the arboretum host a myriad of vendor's tents and food stands. The festival ends each year with the annual Lilac 10K road race and 5K Family Fun Run. The 10K Course is USATF certified.