Rochester, NY—Construction is underway for the third annual City of Rochester Roc Holiday Village presented by Five Star Bank. The free family-friendly holiday festival officially opens in five weeks on Friday, December 3 at 4 p.m. and runs through December 19 at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park in downtown Rochester.
Co-founders, Jenna Manetta-Knauf, Kelli Marsh, and Sean McCarthy announced details of the popular holiday festival at a news conference today. Outdoor seating will be expanded, there will be more free events, two free holiday concerts, and an extra day of the week (Wednesdays) will be added.
Activities to enjoy over the festival’s 13 days in December will include free ice skating and skate rentals, pop-up restaurants, a shopping village, private Cozy Igloos, ice events, free live music, holiday concerts, holiday celebrations, free crafts for kids, food trucks, appearances by Santa, petting zoo events, and more.
The event returns for the first time since 2019, when it drew 125,000 people. It could not be held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Saturday, December 4 at 4:30 p.m., the annual Liberty Pole Lighting, and Parade to Roc Holiday Village, will be held in conjunction with the City of Rochester.
Roc Holiday Village then continues Sunday, December 5; Wednesday, December 8; Thursday, December 9; Friday, December 10; Saturday, December 11; Sunday, December 12; Wednesday, December 15; Thursday, December 16; Friday, December 17; Saturday, December 18; wrapping up on Sunday, December 19.
Village hours will be Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant and bar will be open for an extended hour until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“Roc Holiday Village has become one of Downtown Rochester’s signature events and is an inclusive holiday destination for all,” said City of Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “I am so thankful that we are finally able to come together again and celebrate the season at ROC Holiday Village. I urge everyone to come Downtown this December to experience the magic!”
“Five Star Bank is proud to once again serve as presenting sponsor for Roc Holiday Village, a wonderful event that people of all ages can enjoy,” said Five Star Bank President and CEO Marty Birmingham. “It is important that we support the downtown Rochester community, and the Roc Holiday Village celebration is an excellent way to bring people downtown to celebrate the holidays, especially now after a long pandemic-driven period of social distancing,” said Marty Birmingham, President and CEO of Five Star Bank.
Sean McCarthy, co-founder and owner of McCarthy Tents & Events said, “Our team is hard at work laying the wood flooring foundation. Tents will then be built, followed by the Winter Igloos and Igloo Inns, and finishing interiors.”
Jenna Manetta-Knauf said, “This year’s footprint will consist of two large tents side by side; The Lodge Restaurant & Bar presented by Anthony Butera Team at Keller Williams Realty and Triple-O, and T-Mobile Gingerbread House where free crafts for kids, holiday celebrations, Mini Makers Markets, Santa appearances, mail letters to Santa and cookies by Wegmans will take place. The Shopping Village for 26 retail shops will be parallel to the ice rink. We will also expand outdoor seating with fire pits and space heaters. During this transition year, Santa’s Workshop and Storytime with Santa will be taking a break. But we will be adding more free events outdoors and on the ice.”
“Our Shopping Village will feature 26 retail shops and will be parallel to the ice rink. We will also expand outdoor seating with fire pits and space heaters. During this transition year, Santa’s Workshop and Storytime with Santa will be taking a break. But we are adding more free events outdoors and on the ice.”
The Igloo Village presented by Rochester Regional Health will feature seven Cozy Igloos available for private parties and events for up to eight people each, and 2 Igloo Inns, one for up to 30 people and one for up to 40 people. Each geodesic dome-covered lounge has a view of the Village, is furnished with stylish and cozy chairs, blankets, and pillows and offers bar service.
Kelli Marsh said “Igloos sold out in less than two hours in 2019. Tickets will go on sale on Saturday, November 6 at 10 a.m. They can be booked online for 90-minute increments for $135 plus service fees at rocholidayvillage.com.” Private Events can be booked in the Igloo Inns by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Highlights & What’s New
Free Petting Zoo events will take place on December 4, December 5 and December 11 from noon to 2 p.m., and December 12, December 18 and December 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. The petting zoo is presented by Swan Tile & Marsh Construction Services, Inc.
The Ryan Callahan Foundation will host an ice hockey family-friendly competition on Sunday, December 5 from 10 a.m. to noon that will include handling skills with sticks and pucks, a passing competition into nets and the fastest skater. The rink will be closed for open skating during this time.
A luxury restroom trailer will be available near Court St. for added comfort and convenience for event-goers. Additional portable bathrooms will be available on Manhattan Square Dr.
Even More Free Events & Activities This Year!
- Ice skating and skate rentals presented by Wegmans
- Free holiday concerts, details to be announced
- Figure skating performance presented by Thomas Creek Figure Skating Club
- Curling Demonstration and instruction presented by Rochester Curling Club
- Sled hockey demonstration presented by Rochester Sled Hockey
- Amerks Scoro Competition, Moose appearance and prizes
- Live music on The Buckingham Properties Stage inside The Lodge
- Carolers in and around The Village
- Photo opp designed by artist Shawn Dunwoody and presented by RIT
- Crafts for kids inside the T-Mobile Gingerbread House
- Holiday celebrations include Hanukkah on December 5, Kwanzaa on December 12, Three Kings’ Day on December 17 and Christmas on December 19
More Shopping and Eating in The Village
Shop, eat and drink from more than 26 retail vendors; a complete list of retailers will be posted online at rocholidayvillage.com in November
Shop Roc Holiday Village official merchandise, one-of-a-kind keepsakes and collector items.
Mini Maker Markets featuring local artists, crafters, designers, DIYers, and confectioneries will sell their goods on Thursday, December 9 from 2 to 10 p.m. and Thursday, December 16 from 4 to 10 p.m.
Food Trucks on Court St. include FLX BBQ, Marty’s Meats, Marty’s Birdland, Morgan’s Cereal Bar, Rob’s Al Dente Mobile Pasta, Rob’s Kabobs, and Rustic Taco Bar.
The Anthony Butera Team at Keller Williams and Triple-O
Lodge – Bar and Restaurant
The indoor heated tent will feature wine, beer, cider, hard seltzer and sparkling wine from the bar plus a rotation of pop-up restaurants with counter service each weekend. Free live music on Friday and Saturday evenings on the Buckingham Properties Stage will feature local musicians. Restaurants will be: Chick’n Out (December 3 to 5), Marty’s Meats (December 8 to 12), and The Hideaway (December 16-19).
The third annual postcard contest is now open to create unique art for the 2021 postcard depicting the holiday season in Rochester. All ages are welcome to compete. The winner will receive $100. There is no entry fee and the deadline to submit artwork is Tuesday, November 9. Interested artists can submit their entries at rocholidayvillage.com.
Private events can be booked for large parties in The Lodge for between 50 and 200 people or in the large igloos – Igloo Inns – that hold up to 40 people and offer additional catering options. To book a private event, contact Jenna Manetta-Knauf by email at email@example.com.
Health & Safety
Our patrons, volunteers, vendors and team are of the utmost importance to us. We’re taking the necessary steps and following the recommendations of health officials by expanding our outdoor spaces, recommending masks be worn in indoor spaces, cleaning and sanitizing constantly, setting up hand washing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the village, and installing an air quality system with our furnaces. In consideration of the health and safety of others, please only visit Roc Holiday Village when you are healthy. If you have a fever or other symptoms of illness, please stay home. Please see Health & Safety on our website for the latest health and safety information before planning your visit. We appreciate your patience and help.
The Festival does not operate any parking but there are many surface lots and ramp parking garages conveniently located nearby. Metered parking will be available on area streets, plus at the Washington Square Garage, Allpro Parking Garage at the Five Star Bank Building, Court Street Garage, Midtown Garage, and Fairway Parking. Court St. between Chestnut St. and Manhattan Square Dr. will be closed to thru traffic during the hours when the Village is open.