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Tenspots: Fall frolics and good causes

Art, food, music, and film are among the season’s best bets

There is nothing quite like fall in upstate New York, when Mother Nature pulls out all the stops before a long and dreary winter. Maybe that’s why there is so much to do during this all too fleeting time of year. Here are my top ten picks for the peak of the fall season.

Here are my top ten reason to enjoy life in the 585 region over the next two months.

Watch no film before it’s time

World premiere of Orson Welles’s Too Much Johnson

George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film’s Dryden Theatre
900 East Avenue, Rochester
Wednesday, October 16, 8 p.m.
Current members may purchase tickets for $25 starting September 10
Membership due by September 6.

Can you imagine if someone uncovered an unheard Beethoven sonata? The equivalent happened in Italy when a lost print of Orson Welles’s unreleased 1938 film Too Much Johnson was recovered from a warehouse. The slapstick comedy was meant to accompany a three-act play, but, when the play flopped, Welles shelved the reels. Until the recent discovery by the staff of Cinemazero, an art house in Pordenone, Italy, film scholars believed the only print had been lost when Welles’s house in Madrid burned in 1970.

The misplaced print was sent to George Eastman House for restoration and you can see it for the first time on October 16. First, however, you must be an Eastman House member as of September 6.

Art on a wire

M&T Bank Clothesline Festival

Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester
Saturday, September 7, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sunday, September 8, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Five dollar gallery admission; children 10 and under are free

In 1957, the Memorial Art Gallery held an event that showcased the work of local artists by hanging their paintings on clotheslines. Fifty-seven years later, the Clothesline Festival is the oldest and largest fine arts and crafts festival in Rochester, a place for the serious shopper to buy original artwork while enjoying live music, food, and family activities.

Fall chow

One of my favorite things about fall in Greater Rochester is the food, and there are several festivals that highlight the bounty of the autumn harvest. Whether you crave a mug of hot apple cider or a slice of grape pie, you will find a festival to suit you.

Hilton Apple Fest

Town of Hilton
Saturday, October 5, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, October 6, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Featuring  approximately 200 arts and crafts booths,  children’s activities, an auto show and a contest for the best homemade apple pie, the Hilton Apple Fest keeps getting better every year. Get there early to enjoy the homemade apple crisp, a perennial festival delight.

AppleUmpkin Festival 

Village of Wyoming
Saturday and Sunday, September 28–29,
10 a.m.–5 p.m

Named by a local resident in 1986, the AppleUmpkin Festival celebrates the abundance of apple orchards and pumpkin patches in the village of Wyoming and surrounding Wyoming County. This is a true neighborhood festival so expect to see homes decorated in honor of the plentiful harvest as you stroll through the quaint community featuring arts and craft vendors, live music, and delectable treats. The grocery store at the end of the street is a throwback to an earlier era. Be sure to stop in and have a look around.

Naples Grape Festival

Naples High School Grounds and Memorial Town Hall, Naples
Saturday and Sunday, September 28–29, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Enjoy the finest in local wines and baked goods—including the village’s famous grape pies—all highlighting the sweet and tart flavor of grapes. Since 1961, the Naples Grape Festival has celebrated the areas grape harvest, artisans, winemakers, and the best in music and cuisine.

Ode to Oktober

Irondequoit Oktoberfest

Camp Eastman, Irondequoit
Thursday through Saturday, September 12–14; Friday and Saturday, September 20–21 (Check website for event times)
Admission: $4–$8; Children six and under are free

This is the twenty-sixth annual celebration of German culture, music, beer, and food. Bring the whole family and be sure to hit the dance floor when the polka begins.

The two sides of the RPO

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is back for its ninety-first season, presenting two concerts that demonstrate the ensemble’s range from classical symphony to modern pops.

Opening weekend

Mahler’s First Symphony, plus Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto
featuring violinist Jennifer Koh
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre
Thursday and Saturday, September 26 and 28; both performances at 8 p.m.

The Midtown Men

Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre
Friday and Saturday, October 4–5;
both performances at 8 p.m.

Backed by the RPO, a quartet of performers from Broadway’s Jersey Boys will sing your favorite tunes from the Sixties, including The Four Seasons, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and more.

Pride on the silver screen

ImageOut Film Festival

Various locations throughout Rochester
October 11–20

ImageOut is a volunteer-based community organization that serves as the leading provider of LGBT arts and cultural programs in our community. The annual film festival is the largest festival in New York State outside of New York City.


Strike a pose in local threads

Fashion Week of Rochester

Various locations throughout Rochester
October 16–20
VIP tickets are $100; general admission is $55; standing admission is $25
Tickets available at Wegmans

Fashion Week of Rochester is a four-day celebration of local boutiques, retailers, salons, and accessory designers featuring runway-style fashion shows and more. All events benefit the programs of the Center for Youth.

Give yourself goosebumps

I never watch scary movies, but I love haunted houses, spooky hayrides, and moonlight corn mazes. Here are a few top picks for things that go bump in the night. Just make sure to use the buddy system.

Haunted Hayrides of Greater Rochester

3329 Eddy Rd. Williamson
Friday through Sunday throughout October
7:30–10:30 p.m.; $15–$20

Zarpentine Farms Maize Maze

Friday–Sunday, September 13–October 27;
Fridays: 6 p.m.–11 p.m., Saturdays: 1 p.m.–10 p.m., Sundays: noon–5 p.m.
$8.50-$9, children three and under are free, group rates available. 

Rolling Hills Asylum

11001 Bethany Center Road, East Bethany
Tours and ghost hunts throughout October

Featured on an episode of the Syfy Channel’s Ghost Hunters, Rolling Hills Asylum is the real deal for spirit sightings, named the second most haunted location in the United States by Haunted North America.


National acts come to Webster

Gilbert Gottfried at the Comedy Club

2235 Empire Boulevard, Webster; September 5-7

The Comedy Club in Webster has been bringing in some familiar names in show business, including the August appearances by Drew Carey of The Price is Right and Judah Friedlander of NBC’s 30Rock. In September, Gilbert Gottfried makes a three-day run. Known for his unique voice and risque jokes, Gottfried has been performing stand-up comedy routines to packed houses for decades.

It’s time to light the lights

Fall marks the beginning of the new season for our local houses of theater. Experience the thrill of live performances at prices that won’t break the bank.

Pump Boys and Dinettes

Geva Theatre Center
September 10 through October 13
Tickets start at $25

Somewhere in North Carolina, four men from the local gas station and two waitresses learn about life and love to the beat of country and bluegrass.


Ghost the Musical

The Auditorium Theatre
885 East Main Street, Rochester
October 8–13
Admission: $32.50–$67.50

Adapted from the Oscar-winning movie, Ghost tells the story of a couple torn apart by one’s untimely death only to be reunited through a storefront psychic.

The Last Five Years

JCC of Rochester Hart Theatre, 1200 Edgewood Avenue, Rochester
October 5–October 20
Admission: $26; Students: $18

After five years, Jamie and Cathy are ready to call it quits. While he shares the story of their relationship from beginning to end, she tells the story in reverse. Performed by only two actors, The Last Five Years is a musical portrayal of a whirlwind romance, marriage and heartbreak.

Me and Jezebel

Blackfriars Theatre, 795 East Main Street, Rochester
October 18–November 2
Tickets range from $28.50 to $36.50

Rochester’s masters of wigs and makeup will present a hilarious show about the time Bette Davis went to dinner at a fan’s home and stayed past her welcome.

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