The Return of Corn Hill Art Festival offers new opportunities for local artists

ByJames I. Robertson

Jul 8, 2022

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Those setting up their booths at the Corn Hill Art Festival believe it will be a major boost for their business, something they’ve been looking for after the festival was canceled for the past two years, reminding them how art brings downtown Rochester to life each summer.

Traveling from Albany, Debi Hitter will display and give away her handmade walking sticks that are labeled with positive messages or symbols to illustrate people’s lives. She said a return to the Corn Hill Art Festival was crucial for her business.

“It’s all I do for a living, so I rely on it,” Hitter said. “When the weather is bad, you catch up on other shows, but I’ve had friends quit, which is hard because it’s family here.”

Elyse LeBeau, who sells handmade plants and wall hangers made entirely of rope, is a public school teacher. She is looking forward to a big turnout since all of her sales are used to make ends meet during the summer and to pay for school supplies.

“What I do at craft festivals helps me make ends meet over the summer,” LeBeau said. “So it’s huge for my family and me.”

Nearly 300 artists are expected to set up shop this year, along with several live music performances and food vendors. All proceeds from the Corn Hill community go back into their neighborhood budgets, which are heavily dependent on the return of this festival.

“It was a little tough, but luckily we’ve had a great neighborhood association for many years,” said Bill Belecz, president of the Corn Hill Arts Festival. “So we’ve been able to build up a ‘rainy day fund’, so we’ve been able to maintain some of the programs that we have. We have a beautification program, we have a team of pet technicians, we have safety, we have philanthropy.

The festival starts on Saturday and continues until Sunday from 10:00 am. The festival organizers ask you to park downtown around the public car parks where they will have free shuttles to take you around the neighborhood.


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