The digital version of the 2014-15 Explore Greater Rochester is now available! To access it, click on the image above. 


BEST BETS: Sept. 12 to 17, 2014

True story of a WWII officer

"The Accidental Hero," the true story of a World War II officer who liberates the same Czech town where his grandparents had lived, returns to the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre this weekend. Matt Konop grew up speaking Czech on a Wisconsin farm, and as a soldier he was given a dangerous assignment to go behind enemy lines into Czechoslovakia. Once ashamed of his Czech heritage, Konop was embraced as a liberator by the people of the town. He never spoke of it back home, but family members later found the experience recounted in a stack of typewritten pages. "Accidental Hero" is told by the soldier's grandson, Patrick DeWayne. The multimedia show includes color movie clips from the war, vintage music and photos. The performances will be at 8 p.m. Friday and at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at Downstairs Cabaret at 3450 Winton Place. Visit downstairscabaret.org

Greentopia Ecofest at High Falls
"From the Ground," a runway fashion show starring pieces made out of eco-friendly materials, is a highlight of this year's Greentopia Ecofest at High Falls. Greentopia runs Friday and Saturday and features speakers, green vendors, a culinary series, vehicles that run on alternative fuels, live music and organic food—all with an eco-friendly twist. Other highlights include a gardening symposium and a recycled art show. Local favorite Mikaela Davis (pictured) is set to return to the Greentopia Stage. Go to greentopiafest.com for details.

RPO presents Broadway hits
Broadway takes the stage for the opening of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's 2014-15 season at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik will lead "Broadway's Golden Age and Beyond," featuring vocalists Lisa Vroman and Doug LaBrecque. They'll perform songs by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Marvin Hamlisch. Vroman and LaBrecque have played starring roles in Broadway productions; in "The Phantom of the Opera," Vroman was Christine Daae and LaBrecque was the Phantom and Raoul. Both are prolific concert performers. Visit rpo.org.

Black Keys at Blue Cross
The Grammy-winning duo The Black Keys, composed of Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach, take the stage Sunday at Blue Cross Arena. Their hits include "Tighten Up" and "Turn Blue," and their "Lonely Boy" video was one of the year's biggest viral hits of 2011. Cage the Elephant opens. Go to ticketmaster.com.

On the big screen
"The Drop" follows a bartender (Tom Hardy) through a covert scheme of funneling cash to local gangsters in the underworld of Brooklyn bars. James Gandolfini, who died in June 2013, also stars. "No Good Deed" is the story of a devoted wife and mother of two whose home and children are threatened by a charming stranger who talks his way into her house, claiming car trouble. "Dolphin Tale 2" tells another true story inspired by the life of Winter, but also involves a new baby dolphin named Hope who was rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in 2010. Find movie times.

Oktoberfest at Camp Eastman
The annual Oktoberfest at Camp Eastman in Irondequoit kicks off this weekend and continues next weekend. Beer and German food will be abundant. Live music and entertainment for kids are planned. Go to irondequoit.org/oktober2014.

Historical plants
Perennials and woody plants that have been grown from seeds, divisions, cuttings and offshoots from George Eastman House gardens will be on sale to the public throughout the day Saturday. The fall plant sale runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the famous house. For details, visit eastmanhouse.org.

All things publishing
Visual Studies Workshop will hold its second annual Pub Fair noon to 7 p.m. Saturday. The event brings together book artists, photographers, independent publishers and do-it-yourselfers to exhibit their work in a market that illustrates the gamut of publishing today. There will be artist's books, photo-bookworks, magazines, zines and digital publishers, plus resources for anyone interested in diving into any of these. Go to vsw.org.

Grape-stomping festival
The Purple Foot Festival celebrates the grape harvest at Casa Larga Vineyards & Winery. Held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday (rain or shine), it offers more than foot-staining grape stomping. There are hay rides, vineyard tours, entertainment, kids' activities, tasting bars and tours, plus seminars led by food and wine experts. Don't forget to pick up a grape pie to take home. Visit casalarga.com.

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