Memorial Day Parade in Rochester, New York

by Melissa McCormick

Rochester is in upstate New York and on Lake Ontario. The City of Rochester ( holds a Memorial Day parade and parades in surrounding communities also honor fallen soldiers. Additional events are also offered to commemorate the holiday.

Main Parade

The City of Rochester's an annual Memorial Day Parade is sponsored by the Veterans Memorial and the Executive Council. While parade times can vary from year to year, the parade typically lasts from approximately 10:30 am until 1 pm and follows a downtown route starting at Strathallan Park.

Community Parades

Several communities surrounding downtown Rochester also display patriotic pride through parades, which are typically held on the Saturday or Sunday before Memorial Day. The Town of Henrietta ( has a two-mile parade followed by a ceremony honoring fallen soldiers. Other nearby communities, including East Rochester (, Irondequoit (, Greece (, The Town of Gates ( and Waterloo ( also celebrate with parades.

"The Birthplace of Memorial Day"

Waterloo, New York, is dubbed "The Birthplace of Memorial Day." The town, approximately 47 miles southeast of Rochester, has a number of events during Memorial Day Weekend. In Waterloo you will find several parades, the Memorial Day Museum, horse and wagon tours, canal tours, arts and crafts festivals, car shows and Civil War reenactments. Waterloo gets the name "The Birthplace of Memorial Day," because in 1866, General John B. Murray, a civil war hero, began decorating the graves of soldiers with flags and leading the town of Waterloo in a patriotic music march.

City Activities

Several other festivities are scheduled for downtown Rochester on the Memorial Day weekend. In 2009, the city began a Memorial Day Weekend laser and fireworks show. At approximately 10 p.m. on each Memorial Day Weekend night, the show, which is free to the public, begins. The show is choreographed to patriotic music such as "The Star Spangled Banner," and is best viewed from the Pont de Rennes pedestrian bridge. Another downtown Memorial Day Weekend event includes a collection of spring flowers at the Rochester Public Market, where more than 200 vendors participate in Flower Days.