ROC the FALLS festival celebrates High Falls

Aug 10, 2018

Mayor Lovely Warren discusses changes coming to the High Falls Terrace park, including public art, a brick walkway and update park amenities.
Credit Tianna Manon / WXXI News

Major changes are slated for the Genesee Riverway and one of them is the upgrade of the High Falls Terrace Park. Located right next to the Genesee Brewery, the park includes a walking path that connects to the Pont de Rennes Bridge and an observation deck closer to the waterfall.

On Friday, Mayor Lovely Warren announced ROC the FALLS, a new festival scheduled for the evening of September 7.  She says the festival will feature music, live interactive art and food trucks. The goal is to recognize changes to the area and build on the growing momentum surrounding ROC the Riverway.  

“The ROC the Riverway plan, which inspired this event, has created community momentum around our waterways,” said Janine Schoos, associate brand director for Genesee. “We are going to transform High Falls Terrace Park with lights, music, art, food trucks and beer so that people can truly appreciate Rochester’s largest waterfall.”

According to local officials, High Falls is the largest urban waterfall in the country and it’s time the city builds on that legacy.

Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state would provide funding to help develop projects for the  for ROC the Riverway, which includes trendy ideas like a tree-top trail and more traditional water uses like kayaking.

Overall, there are about 28 projects slated, including renovations to the Pont de Rennes bridge and added walkways next to Dinosaur BBQ and the Rochester Public Library downtown. Cuomo has pledged $50 million toward the overhaul.

So far, officials and staff at the Genesee Brewery say they’ve cleaned up litter, chopped down some of the brush to make the falls more visible, and added seating. Warren says improving the area has taken a lot of work.

“It was a challenge but every time I go [to the Brew House] to have lunch with our team, it’s completely packed,” she said. “People from all over the region are coming and they’re taking part in the Genesee brand.”

During the festival, community artist and member of the ROC the Riverway advisory board Shawn Dunwoody will create art both on the walls leading to the park’s observation deck and on the deck itself:

“On top of the deck there’s going to be an augmented mural. I’ll explain that to you so when you stand at a certain perspective it’ll look as if you’re standing on top of the waterfall.”

The festival is September 7 at the High Falls Terrace Park and runs 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.