Rochester, NY—August 24, 2020—Organizers of the City of Rochester Roc Holiday Village presented by Five Star Bank announced today that the annual holiday festival will not be held in December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and New York State’s guidelines that restrict large gatherings to assure people’s health and safety.
“After very careful consideration, it’s with immense sadness that we announce today that we will not be able to create the Village this year and bring our community together safely to celebrate the winter season,” said Jenna Manetta-Knauf, Sean McCarthy, and Kelli Marsh, co-founders and producers of Roc Holiday Village.
“This was a very difficult decision,” said Manetta-Knauf. “We wanted to stay true to our commitment to provide the community with a fun yet safe holiday experience. The current pandemic and necessary public health restrictions have created major challenges for us from logistics and planning perspectives. We wouldn’t be able to keep people apart,” she said.
City of Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, “The City of Rochester’s Roc Holiday Village is an event that has quickly become one of Rochester’s most treasured annual traditions. While we are disappointed that we will not be able to experience the magic and wonder that the Village has provided our community the last two years, we absolutely look forward to celebrating the holidays together again Downtown once it is safe to do so.”
Five Star Bank President and CEO Marty Birmingham said “While we are disappointed that Roc Holiday Village must take a pause in 2020, we understand the importance of maintaining the health and safety of everyone and agree with the decision wholeheartedly. We look forward to 2021 when this wonderful tradition can resume, bringing magic back to downtown Rochester and unifying our communities. We will proudly serve as presenting sponsor once again.”
Marsh said, “Our dream of welcoming thousands of people to visit Santa in his workshop, shop in the Village, and relax in The Lodge will simply not be possible. Even outdoors, the significant numbers of people likely to attend would make it impossible to implement social distancing. Seeing smiling faces everywhere is our inspiration and our greatest reward, so we’re profoundly disappointed to not be able to bring this joyous event to the community.”
McCarthy added, “We are so appreciative of the outpouring of support for Roc Holiday Village from businesses and visitors since the event’s beginning in 2018. People show up in droves. That’s the magic. When we can all be together again, we will be there to make it once again the merriest time of all.”
Knauf acknowledged, “Over the next few months, we will decide whether or not a scaled-down, pop-up concept is safely achievable, and will make an announcement later in the fall.”
Pictured at the 2019 Roc Holiday Village press conference from left to right: co-founders Sean McCarthy; Kelli Marsh; Jenna Manetta Knauf; City of Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren; Wegmans Community Relations Manager Linda Lovejoy; Five Star Bank President and CEO, Marty Birmingham.