Corn Hill and Park Avenue festivals canceled

Apr 8, 2020

The Corn Hill Arts Festival is canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Credit Corn Hill Arts Festival

The Corn Hill Arts Festival and the Park Avenue Summer Arts Festival are the latest major Rochester events to be lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

Corn Hill, set for its 51st year, fills the streets of the city’s Corn Hill neighborhood with music, vendors and tents with art for sale every July. The Corn Hill Neighbors Association Board of Directors announced the cancellation of this year's festival Wednesday morning.

“We are looking at ways to lessen the impact that this pandemic is having on artists,” Jeff Rodgers, the board’s president, said in a press release. “They rely on festivals like ours as not just a place to exhibit their work, but as a means to earn a livelihood.”

Several hours later, the Park Avenue festival followed suit, announcing it is canceling this year's event. It plans to return Aug. 7 and 8, 2021. 

Both festivals are among the major art events of Rochester’s summer, alongside September’s M&T Clothesline Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery. Clothesline remains on the schedule.

Corn Hill and Park Avenue join a list of cancellations that now includes most major summer events in the city, including May’s Lilac Festival. The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival has canceled its June dates, but is examining the possibility of a fall resurrection. Also on Wednesday, the George Eastman Museum announced it is canceling June’s Nitrate Picture Show, its festival celebrating vintage nitrate films. The event will return June 3-6, 2021. And capping off a busy Wednesday, Fairport Canal Days also announced it is canceling the event, scheduled for the first week in June.

Corn Hill Arts Festival Chair Nick Howell said planning was beginning immediately for the return of the festival in 2021. Also in the discussion is finding alternative ways to support local artists.

Similarly, Lisa Hubler of the Park Avenue Revitalization Committee acknowledged in a press release that the festival would “shift our focus from the Art Festival to assisting the small business impact on Park Avenue from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Jeff Spevak is WXXI’s Arts & Life editor and reporter. He can be reached at jspevak@wxxi.org.