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Organizers of the fourth annual First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival say more than 63,000 people attended the 10-day festival in downtown Rochester that featured more than 500 eclectic events, including some unique venues in pup tents, a hot tub and parked cars.
Students, faculty and staff of Rochester Institute of Technology offered more than 30 free events during the festival, including singing, performances in American Sign Language, jazz, photography, poetry and art exhibits. Nearly 4,000 people attended RIT-related events, officials said.
RIT is a Founding Higher Ed Partner of the collaborative community event.
“Each year, the Fringe attracts more and more people to our great city,” said Suzanne Nasipak-Chapman, First Niagara market executive. “We salute the creative spirit that this festival inspires in all who participate, and we are proud to support an event that celebrates the innovation and energy that are essential to our city’s revitalization and growth.”
Luane Davis Haggerty, faculty member in the Cultural & Creative Studies program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and director of Dangerous Signs, a performance poetry group of NTID’s Masquers Drama Club, agreed that this year’s festival was stronger and more creative.
“This year, Dangerous Signs had bigger audiences than ever before responding in very positive ways – dancing with us in the aisles at the end of the show, laughing, cheering and trying to sign along with us,” she said. “Seeing all of those hands raised in sign along with us, knowing many of our audience members were seeing deaf theater for the first time was thrilling.”