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Annual Events in Rochester, MN
Mark your calendar and plan to visit Rochester, MN during one of our popular annual events. These beloved yearly events are longstanding traditions in our vibrant city—join the fun!
Thursdays Downtown – June through August
Visit Thursdays Downtown Summer Market & Music Festival (formerly named Thursdays on First & 3rd) every Thursday from June 1 through August 31. Enjoy over 100 art, craft, and food and drink vendors, with local restaurants offering a slightly sophisticated version of fair food including Thai noodles, sushi, gourmet burgers, and extravagant cupcakes. Two stages feature live entertainment, and the festival is located a few blocks from the convention center. Sit back, relax, and make the most of a Minnesota summer!
RochesterFest - June
Rochester, Minnesota’s vibrancy and friendliness are on full display each June at Rochesterfest, one of the state’s most beloved summer festivals. Many food vendors are set up and events are held at Soldiers Field Memorial Park just south of downtown, with other events around town including a triathlon, a water ski show, a video game tournament, a bean bag tournament, a hangar dance at the airport, bubbleball, and a hot air balloon launch.
Celebrate Independence Day in Rochester, Minnesota. Annual festivities usually include a parade, concert, waterski show, fireworks display, and more.
Down by the Riverside – July & August
Head down to Mayo Park, right behind Rochester’s Convention & Event Center, for free concerts on Sunday nights during the months of July and August. Bring a blanket to sit on and enjoy a summer evening along the Zumbro River, listening to a wide variety of genres of music at the Down by the Riverside Free Summer Concert Series.
Olmsted County Fair – July
The Olmsted County Free Fair occurs for a week in late July each summer. The week is filled with a wide variety of exhibitions, competitions, entertainment, Goldstar amusements on the midway and lots of tempting fair food. A tractor pull, demolition derby, live music, and the Miracle of Birth animal center are traditional popular attractions for visitors to one of the area’s best county fairs.
Fall Festival at Quarry Hill Nature Center – September
Celebrate all things nature during one weekend every September at Quarry Hill Nature Center. Ride in a canoe on the pond, climb up the rock wall, or explore Quarry Hill’s cave, or check out snakes and fish in the indoor nature center, or. Games, crafts, and food are available during this annual celebration.
Fall Fest – October
Head to downtown Rochester’s beautiful Peace Plaza for this one-day fall festival that occurs on a weekend day every October. Participate in a pumpkin carving contest and other activities, and enjoy fall treats.
Restaurant Week – November
Foodies from near and far will want to bring their appetites to Restaurant Week, when more than a dozen restaurants in Rochester, MN serve memorable food crafted using products from local farmers. Restaurant Week, coordinated by FEAST! Local Foods Network, promotes food from our region as well as restaurants committed to supporting local farms. The result is a week of fresh, creative, farm-to-table specials—including appetizers, entrees, desserts, and cocktails—at some of the city’s favorite eateries.
SocialICE - February
Join the cool crowd (literally!) and enjoy some frozen fun at downtown Rochester, Minnesota's annual ice bar event in mid-February. This three-night outdoor celebration held in Peace Plaza (a few blocks from the convention center) features nine uniquely designed and themed ice bars--serving up an array of signature drinks, beer, and wine--as well as lighting effects, music, and ice sculptures.
WinterFest – January & February
Participate in Rochester’s annual celebration of the Bold North and its high-spirited citizens. Whatever the temperatures during this month-long series of entertaining events and activities that benefit local charities, WinterFest attendees will feel the warmth of a city knowns for its caring culture and good cheer. From mid-January to mid-February every winter, compete in the Great Cardboard Sled Race, take a Polar Plunge, enter an ice-fishing contest, or participate in a Murder Mystery Night, among many other activities.
Not going to be in town for one of our annual events? Check out other fun things to do and places to go in Minnesota’s Rochester, and get the latest information on what’s happening on our Events Calendar!