Great events in CNY

There's always something to do here.

Gather friends for music, food, and fun

Central New York is home to dozens of festivals and concerts, regattas and races, celebrations and parties all year long. Whatever your passion, you'll find people who share it. They'll get you involved, expand your network, and help you to find the events that make living in CNY so rewarding.

So many events in CNY center on lakes and waterways. The Onondaga Cup & Lakefest regatta spreads out on the north shore of Onondaga Lake every summer. One event that flies high is Balloonfest along the Jamesville Reservoir. Hot-air balloons may be the reason for this event, but thousands of people also come out for music, food, and a day at the beach.


Another center for big events is downtown Syracuse. That's where you'll find the Taste of Syracuse every June, spreading out from Clinton Square, wrapping around the Federal Building and inching onto the Creekwalk. Clinton Square is the site for many events - just about every weekend. An annual Crawfish Festival at Clinton Square, so far from New Orleans, proves event planners here can put together any kind of food festival. A few blocks away is Columbus Circle, where the Arts & Crafts Festival takes place. The displays from artists and artisans spiral out into all the nearby streets. Central New Yorkers find a way to celebrate just about anything with food, music, and fun. That might explain why Syracuse Fashion Week has grown into a twice-a-year event at the Landmark Theatre, in nearby shops, and on an outdoor runway in Armory Square.

CNY's big event, the New York State Fair, pulls in 1.2 million visitors each year for a 13-day run ending on Labor Day. It's loaded with concerts, many taking place at the Onondaga Lake amphitheater and its stunning outdoor views. The Fairgrounds is the site for more festivals, events, and shows all year long.


Every July, highways and streets fill with color as the Syracuse Nationals comes to CNY. It’s the largest car show in the Northeast and is headquartered at the Fairgrounds. More than 8,000 classic cars go on display with 95,000 visitors oohing and aahing at vehicles. With so many people, it's always a big party with hundreds of vendors, live entertainment, and competitions all weekend. The cars are awesome, but so are the owners who lovingly built or restored these street rods, muscle cars, and antique cars. As they show off vintage cars, custom trucks, and dragsters, they’re eager to answer questions and talk about design, engineering, and workmanship. Talent and hard work. That’s something Central New Yorkers appreciate, whether they're into cars or not.


Central New York is family-friendly, and events for people with children go on year round. The big Christmas tree lighting, always the Friday after Thanksgiving, takes place at Clinton Square. The holiday cheer spreads throughout downtown with caroling and special activities. Many neighborhoods and villages sponsor their own tree lighting, too. Skaneateles, the charming village that is a gateway to the Finger Lakes, has become renowned for its Dickens Festival every weekend after Thanksgiving. Carolers, live music and events flow through the village streets. Every year, it attracts more than 20,000 visitors.

Generations of parents have taken their children to the Golden Harvest Festival at Beaver Lake Nature Center. Chittenango, the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, celebrates with Oz-Stravaganza. The St. Patrick's Parade in downtown Syracuse can bring nearly 100,000 people on a warm day, but rain or shine at least 30,000 people come downtown to watch. So does the Lights on the Lake every December along Onondaga Lake. LaFayette Apple Festival is a delicious outing and reminds Central New Yorkers of the region's healthy bounty. Parents take their kids to pick-your-own farms and events nearly year round - strawberries in June, blueberries in July, tomatoes in August, apples, pumpkins, and corn mazes in autumn, trees in December, and maple syrup in March.