Summer in the City: Syracuse Comes to Life with Summer Festivals and Events

Addition of Lakeview Amphitheater has increased number of area concerts

It’s Festival time in Syracuse and Central New York. From Onondaga hill to Onondaga Lake, the area is gearing up for a busy season. The addition of the Lakeview Amphitheater is bringing over 20 big name acts to the new facility.

As it’s become cleaner, Onondaga Lake is revisiting its historic past as a center for recreational activity, water skies and pleasure boats are seen in the water daily. Additional improvements call for a trail around the entire lake along with additional marina’s for boats to dock.  Soon the lake will be cleared for recreational use.

COR_Inner Harbor 4

Proposed Inner Harbor project

That doesn’t include the transformative changes being made to the inner harbor. After decades of ownership by Congel, the New York State’s Canal Corporation took control and re-bid the project and now we’ll have major construction in the city’s long forgotten Inner harbor.

Downtown Syracuse is experiencing continued growth in the Armory Square area and beyond as additional retail and dining have infused the space with new energy. In addition, several thousand people have moved into the downtown area delivering additional residents and customers to the center city.

Lakeview Amphitheater

Lakeview Amphitheater

All summer the Central New York area is full of events, festivals and concerts. The Lakeview Amphitheater has proven itself as an attraction, scheduling over 20 major acts at a venue that didn’t exist last year. And there’s always the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, offering a variety of big name entertainment year-round.

From June 3rd past Labor Day, the area is bustling with activity. Just to name a few; Taste of Syracuse 2016, 2016 Syracuse Polish Festival, Syracuse Juneteenth, St. Sophia’s Greek Cultural Festival, Jamesville Balloonfest, 34th Annual Syracuse M&T Jazz Fest, NYS Blues Fest 2016, AmeriCU Syracuse Arts and Crafts Festival, Oswego Harborfest 2016, “Best In Show” at the New York State Fair. Capping off the summer season is the neighborhood -based, Westcott Street Cultural Fair.


Taste of Syracuse 2016


Friday, June 3, 2016 – Saturday, June 4, 2016

Clinton Square
West Genesee and South Clinton Streets
Syracuse, NY 13202

11:00AM – 11:00PM

Admission Info: Free admission

Official Website »

Loosen’ up your belts & get those tastebuds ready!  The biggest food & music festival in Central New York – the Taste of Syracuse – will be kicking off the summer festival season!  Enjoy two days of fabulous food & outstanding music.  All food vendors will have $1 Sample items as well as regular delights.  More details to follow!

The headliner for Saturday evening will be Cheap Trick!

2016 Syracuse Polish Festival

Polish FestivalFriday, June 10, 2016 – Sunday, June 12, 2016

Clinton Square
West Genesee and South Clinton Streets
Syracuse, NY 13202

Official Website »

Admission Info: Free admission

see website for schedule

This long-time annual event celebrates Polish culture bringing food, music, dance, customs, etc. to downtown Syracuse.  There will be crafters and imported goods for sale as well!

Syracuse Polish festival was created to continue cultivating Polish culture and supporting talented young minds, who continue to fulfill their career aspirations.  All proceeds from this event will support the Polish-American Scholarship fund.

St. Sophia’s Greek Cultural Festival

St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church
325 Waring Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13224

St.Sophia_'sThursday, June 9, 2016 – Sunday, June 12, 2016

June 9: 5pm-9pm
June 10: 5pm-10pm
June 11: 12pm-10pm
June 12: 12pm-4pm

Admission Info: Free admission

Official Website »

43rd Annual Greek Cultural Festival,  325 Waring Rd. 13224. Join in the fun! Live music and folk dancing. Delicious gyros, spinach or cheese pita, signature Greek specialties, honey puffs, baklava, custard filled pastries, wide selection of home made pastries, and baklava sundaes. Marketplace, church tours, and on the weekend icon writing demo, Holy Site lecture, Greek wine and cheese tasting tour through Greece. Free parking, and shuttle service from CBA, J-D Middle School and Tecumseh Elementary School. For information call 315-446-5222 Rain or shine, we have you covered. OPA!

Syracuse Juneteenth 2016:
The 151st  Anniversary Celebration of Freedom, Realized

Juneteenth pic reducedJune 18th, Clinton Square in Syracuse

Clinton Square
1 Clinton Square
Syracuse, NY 13202

As Syracuse’s 151st Anniversary Celebration of Juneteenth approaches on June 18th, we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, reaching for new heights of freedom – and equality. The entire community is invited to Juneteenth in Clinton Square on Saturday, June 18th as we commemorate, celebrate, and innovate.

It’s a free, family friendly day of reflection and inspiration. You’ll enjoy a kids zone, an educational area, food court, panel discussions, live entertainment. Each year, the Syracuse community comes together in celebration of Juneteenth in Clinton Square. The entire community is invited to join in this FREE celebration featuring live entertainment, an educational area, a culturally diverse food court, the Dr. Henry A. Washington Healthy Pavilion, exhibits, and more.

Admission Info: Free admission

Official Website »

Art on the Porches 2016

artontheporches1Saturday, June 18, 2016

10:00AM – 4:00PM

Art On The Porches
100 Ruskin Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13207

Official Website »

Admission Info:  Free admission

Get Tickets »

Art on the Porches is Saturday, JUNE 18, 2016 on Ruskin Ave in Syracuse’s historic Strathmore neighborhood. ART * MUSIC * FOOD * COMMUNITY

  • Talented Local Artists – Artists will show and sell their work in the heart of the city’s historic Strathmore neighborhood.
  • Entertainment – Some of the most talented musicians in Central New York, dance, poetry, and more…
  • Gourmet Refreshments – A variety of delicious local and international cuisine will be available throughout the day.
  • Play at the Hands-on Art Center!  Come and create! Make your own art for free.  A truly family-friendly event!!

For details, please see the facebook page!
Presented by the Greater Strathmore Neighborhood Association

Arts on Genesee Fine Arts & Craft Show

May MemorialSaturday, June 18, 2016 – Sunday, June 19, 2016

10:00AM – 5:00PM

May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society
3800 East Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13214

Official Website »

Admission Info: Free admission

This fine arts and crafts outdoor juried show will feature Central New York artists.  The offerings include exceptional jewelry, ceramics, fiber arts, photography, sculpture, woodworking and more!  The show will take place on the spacious grounds of the May Memorial Unitarian Universalist church with free parking and handicapped access.  There will be a variety of food trucks to tempt your taste buds.  Enjoy two days of great shopping, browsing and grazing on Saturday, June 18th and June 19th from 10 AM to 5 PM.  The location is 3800 E. Genesee St. in Syracuse.

Jamesville Balloonfest

Ballonfest in Jamesville, NY

Ballonfest in Jamesville, NY

Friday, June 24, 2016 – Sunday, June 26, 2016

Jamesville Beach Park
4110 West Shore Manor
Jamesville, NY 13078

Official Website »

Admission Info: FREE

For schedule of events, please see the website link.

Mark your calendars and come celebrate the 37th annual Jamesville Balloonfest with us this summer!

Syracuse’s kick off to summer event features balloons, non-stop musical entertainment, arts, crafts, food, beverages and more! And this year admission is FREE all three days!

The Balloonfest will take place from Friday, June 24th-Sunday, June 26th.

This year’s festival will take place at Jamesville Beach, right outside of Syracuse. Balloons take flight each day (weather permitting) and add to the excitement of the event.

For details, see the website link.


34th Annual Syracuse M&T Jazz Fest

syracusejazzfest2016Saturday, July 2, 2016 – Sunday, July 3, 2016

Onondaga Community College
4585 W. Seneca Turnpike
Syracuse, NY 13215

Official Website »

Gates open at 3pm both days; see website for schedule for specific times

The 34th annual Syracuse M&T Jazz Fest is back & is better than ever!  Held on the beautiful campus of Onondaga Community College just southwest of the city of Syracuse, the Syracuse Jazz Fest is the largest free jazz festival in the northeast United States.  This year’s headliners are Grammy-award winning singer Michael McDonald (Saturday) and returning for a second time at Syracuse Jazz Fest is Trombone Shorty (Sunday).  This will be an event not to miss!  Free admission; $5 parking.  Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on or just stay on your feet and dance!  Please see the website for details.


NYS Blues Fest 2016

NYS Blues FestFriday, July 8, 2016 – Saturday, July 9, 2016

Clinton Square
West Genesee and South Clinton Streets
Syracuse, NY 13202

Schedule to be announced!

Official Website »

Get ready for another great Blues Fest!!  More details to follow …

The New York State Rhythm & Blues Festival, Inc. showcases a collection of regional and national artists from multiple genres, all with roots steeped in tradition and vision, and arranges them for a continuous river of music.

The mission of the NYS Blues Festival is to preserve, protect and promote blues music and culture. The Syracuse, NY festival entertains while educating on the role of the blues in the development of popular music in the US and around the world.


St. Elias Middle Eastern Festival

Greek festThursday, July 7, 2016 – Sunday, July 10, 2016

Thursday, July 7th from 4:00 to 10:00 pm
Friday, July 8th from 4:00 to 10:00 pm
Saturday, July 9th from 12:00 noon to 10:00 pm
Sunday, July 10th from 12 noon to 6:00 pm

St Elias Middle Eastern Festival, July 7 – 10.

St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church
4988 Onondaga Road
Syracuse, New York 13215

Admission Info: Free Admission

The St. Elias Middle Eastern Festival is the place to be this July for authentic, healthy and made-from-scratch food. Our fresh food menu includes shish Kebabs (skewered beef tenderloin), Shawerma (chicken or beef wrap with tangy Tahini sauce), stuffed grape leaves and delicious homemade Hummus. Not to mention Tabouli, the staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, this salad is made of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, onions and cracked wheat with a healthy dressing of organic extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

At St. Elias Middle Eastern Festival, you can dance to the tunes of a live band playing traditional Arabic music, and you can also watch St. Elias’ young parishioners perform the traditional Middle Eastern dance called Dabkeh.

In the church hall, you will find a Souk (Arabic for marketplace) where you can find traditional Middle Eastern giftware, religious icons and many more authentic items.

There is also a playground as well as games and activities geared towards kids.

FREE parking. FREE admission.

Festival hours are:

  • Thursday, July 7th from 4:00 to10:00 pm
  • Friday, July 8th from 4:00 to 10:00 pm
  • Saturday, July 9th from 12:00 noon to10:00 pm
  • Sunday, July 10th from 12 noon to 6:00 pm


Onondaga Cup & Lake Festival

Onondaga Cup Lake FestSaturday, July 16, 2016

11:00AM – 10:00PM

Long Branch Park
3813 Longbranch Road
Liverpool, NY 13088

Official Website »

Admission Info: General Admission: Free

For more than 40 years, summer meant a regatta on Onondaga Lake. That tradition stopped in the late 1990s, but it’s on a comeback this year.The Onondaga Cup & Lakefest will be July 16 on the lake and at Longbranch Park.

The festival will include a regatta, and then some. There will be races, competitions, food, drink, music and a final race at night under the lights.

“The rebirth of Onondaga Lake is one of the great stories in Central New York,” said Tim Kennedy, Syracuse Media Group president. “This regatta will be a summer tradition that we will promote across Upstate New York.”

  • There will be corporate rowing competitions and individual races for paddleboarders and kayakers.
  • The day will include competition among 32 corporate rowing teams and 50 kayakers and paddleboarders.
  • The finalists will race in the evening under the lights.

While the festival will be free, there will be a ticketed event at the finish line that will include a clambake dinner, wine tastings, cooking and cocktail making demonstrations.

Crew teams will be from the Syracuse CHARGERS seven-week corporate rowing league, which runs from the end of May through the middle of July.

For more information visit the event’s website:

Syracuse Nationals Classic Car Show 2016Syracuse Nationals_cropped

Friday, July 15, 2016 – Sunday, July 17, 2016

Empire Expo Center-NYS Fairgrounds
581 State Fair Blvd.
Syracuse, NY 13209

Admission Info: see website for details

Official Website »

The largest car show in the Northeast. Over 8,000 hot rods & custom classic cars from all over the U.S. and Canada converge on the New York State Fairgrounds for a three day celebration of America’s love affair with classic cars.


AmeriCU Syracuse Arts and Crafts Festival

AmeriCu Art Show LogoFriday, July 29, 2016 – Sunday, July 31, 2016

Friday – 10 am to 6 pm
Saturday – 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm

Admission Info: Free admission

Columbus Circle
East Onondaga Street
Syracuse, NY 13202

Official Website »

This spectacular 3-day showcase of the country’s most talented artists, craftspeople, and entertainers is centered on historic Columbus Circle in Downtown Syracuse. The show features more than 160 artists representing 30 states and Canada. More than 50,000 visitors will shop and browse among the art and craft exhibits and enjoy a wide variety of music, multi-cultural performances, summer refreshments, and participatory activities. The festival is one of the premier events of ArtsWeek.

The Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival provides an opportunity for visitors to experience the vitality of life in downtown Syracuse through a showcase of visual and performing arts that demonstrate diverse art forms and cultures.

Oswego Harborfest 2016

Harborfest plain small logoThursday, July 28, 2016 – Sunday, July 31, 2016

Breitbeck Park
1-31 Bronson Street
Oswego, NY 13126

see website for schedule of events and Admission Info

Official Website »

A 4-day long weekend celebration of food, music, boats, entertainment, fireworks, artians and craft vendor and more all at the scenic harbor of Oswego, NY!

Fun for the whole family!

Great New York State Fair

logo_NYS-Fair_default-HOMEThursday, August 25, 2016 – Monday, September 5, 2016

10:00AM – 10:00PM

Empire Expo Center-NYS Fairgrounds
581 State Fair Blvd.
Syracuse, NY 13209

Step right up to the greatest state fair in all the U.S.!  The Great NYS Fair is one of the oldest & boldest state fairs featuring great rides, outstanding food, dynamic new products, wonderful agricultural displays, NYS products, kickin’ live music & so, so, SO much more!

Official Website »

Westcott Street Cultural Fair

Westcott Street Cultural Fair LogoSunday, September 18, 2016

12:00PM – 6:30PM

Westcott Community Center
826 Euclid Ave.
Syracuse, NY 13210

Official Website »

The Westcott Street Cultural Fair is marking its 25th year in 2016.  This event celebrates the diversity and vibrancy of the Westcott neighborhood.  The fair kicks off at noon with a parade down Westcott Street.  Beginning at 12:30 p.m. there is entertainment at six stages including music, dance and kids performances.  The fair also features local artists selling handmade items, delicious food from Westcott Street merchants, as  well as information from local non profit organizations.  Something for all fair goers!