These are the 4 Basic Must Do Things at Rochester Fringe

Rochester-Fringe-Spiegelgarden.jpg

Rochester Fringe Festival Friday on the Fringe Weird. Crazy. Unique. Different. Eclectic. Original. These are just some of the adjectives used to describe The First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. You want to know why. Over the next week and a half, we're blogging about this amazing experience. Trust us, don't just read about it, go experience! 

FACT: Fringe is becoming bigger and better every single year. In only its 4th year running, there are over 500 performances and events scheduled to take place between September 17th and September 26th. Overwhelming? Not sure what to do or where to start? It sure can be if you don't have a good plan.

So let us help. Let's start with the basics and a solid foundation from which to build upon.

Here are the 4 Basic Must Do Things At Rochester Fringe.

1. Spiegelgarden

Rochester Fringe Festival Spiegelgarden

Located at the aptly named "One Fringe Place" on the corner of Main & Gibbs Streets, the Spiegelgarden marks the Fringe center (is that an oxymoron?). For 10 days, this outdoor area transforms into a posh urban lounge that includes food trucks, a bar tent selling wines, beers, coffee and hot chocolate, urban greenery of landscaping, modern lounge furniture, outdoor art, and a firepit for the more fall-like nights ahead.

You'll definitely want to make this your home-base to relax with friends, play some games, watch pop-up performances, and check out the ever-so-popular Pedestrian Drive-In with FREE cult-classic films starting at 7:30pm every night.

TIP: Relax near the fire and the lush greenery, grab a bite to eat and a beverage, this is a great place to do some urban people-watchin'.

2. Spiegeltent

Rochester Fringe Festival Spiegeltent

If you know about the Spiegelgarden, you definitely know about the Spiegeltent. This European "Mirror Tent" is a rare find worldwide (at best, a few in the world still circulating), and boasts some of the best Headliner shows that Fringe has to offer. Yes, they are ticketed events and cost some of your hard-earned money, but the experience is well worth the small price.

There is nothing like it here in Rochester - and with options like single seat tickets, VIP booths, and even being a part of the action - the Spiegeltent is great choice to see what Fringe is all about.

Tip: Feeling VIP? Grab some friends and family and upgrade to a booth and enjoy the show with dedicated table service.

3. Gibbs Street

Rochester Fringe Festival Gibbs Street Main Stage

EVERYONE knows of Eastman Theatre and Java's, so you know exactly where we are talking about. Gibbs Street, for the first time in Fringe history, will be closed to traffic during both Fringe weekends. This means that someone is taking our suggestions and reading our posts! Yeah right, most likely someone saw how popular the the Jazz Fest gets on this street and decided it would be good to do the same for Fringe.

Anyways, whatever the inspiration, there will be ton to do and see on this notable street including the FREE Gibbs Street Main Stage, various street performances, food trucks and vendors, and the very popular Street Chalk Art event on Sunday the 20th.

Tip: Evenings around the weekends will be high-time for Gibbs Street. If you're looking for a less crowded experience, try during the afternoon on a weekday and you won't have to nudge through the crowds so much.

4. Friday on the Fringe

Rochester Fringe Festival Friday on the Fringe

The 4th Basic Must Do Thing at Fringe is Friday on the Fringe, and if you want to see our city packed with thousands (possibly 10,000+?) of spectators at one time, this will certainly be the day.

But we don't want to scare you with the numbers. We want you to know that it's FREE, it features crazy artists jumping off of (and on!) downtown buildings and the Tribute to Man structure in MLK Jr. Park, and is one of the ultimate main Headliners of the entire Fringe 10-day schedule. If you do nothing else Fringe, you'll at least want to see this!

Tip: Get there early! They say an estimated 14,000 people showed up to last year's FOTF, so again, get there early! Good thing is that almost everywhere presents a great view.

Want to know more? Head online to the Fringe's official website, pick up a copy of CITY's newest insert on the Fringe this week, and get your festival guide at a location near you! 


Jason210 days of pure excitement...that's how I see the Fringe. Kudos to Festival organizers that are working hard to make Rochester an exciting and entertaining place to be. Be sure to check out more @theRochesteriat or Facebook.