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Lilacs draw tourists to Rochester

Rochester, N.Y. -- On Friday, the annual Lilac Festival will begin. The festival draws around a half-million people to Highland Park to look at the collections of lilacs.

The festival has been named one of the top 100 festivals in the country by American Bus Association five times in the last 25 years. More than two-dozen charter buses still come to the festival, but that's down from nearly 100 about 15 years ago.

"What had happened was, in years past, the charter buses would bring people in. We're still seeing the same number of people, same number of hotel rooms; they're just getting here more by car, some by train, some people fly in for this," said Donald Jeffries, president and CEO of Visit Rochester. "But it's less bus traffic, but the same number, if not more people."

Local hotels expect more people to spend the night for graduations and Mother's Day.

"What we do is we share the information with regards of the event. Once again, we tell all our guests it kind of showcases the best of Rochester," said Michael Marsch, president of the Rochester Hotel Association. "It's a great event and we encourage people to attend."

The festival begins Friday and runs through May 18.

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Washington Times