The digital version of the 2015-16 Explore Greater Rochester is now available! To access it, click on the image above. 


BEST BETS: July 3 to 9, 2015

City, RPO toast the Fourth
The final version of the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted July 4, 1776. Rochester celebrates with a concert and spectacular fireworks show Saturday to celebrate our country's freedom. (Many other surrounding communities have events planned over the next few days, as well.) Music by Jimmie Highsmith Jr. is featured 7:30 to 9 p.m. The RPO concert is on the Main Street Bridge in Rochester and starts at 9 p.m.; the city's popular fireworks display starts at about 10 p.m. Visit cityofrochester.gov for other recommended seating areas and info on free parking. The RPO also performs patriotic and other all-American favorites complete with fireworks at Constellation Brands/Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Friday. They'll be presenting favorites including "The Stars and Stripes Forever" and the "1812 Overture." A fireworks display follows the show of patriotic standards. Go to rpo.org.

Time travel in Sterling
The Sterling Renaissance Festival opens for its 39th season Saturday. The annual event in Cayuga County features hundreds of professional actors offering 140 stage and street performances, authentic jousting, parades, games, music and outdoor entertainment. The festival is set in Warwickshire, England, circa 1585. It runs weekends through Aug. 16. Join the merriment at the pub sing, wench auction and trial and dunke. There's a special rate for opening weekend: Buy one adult ticket at regular price and get one ticket for half price, or get a free child's ticket for every adult ticket purchased. For more information, visit sterlingfestival.com.

Canadian rockers in town
The Tragically Hip comes to CMAC July Fourth. The Canadian rock band—Rob Baker, Gord Downie, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Gord Sinclair—grew up together as friends in Kingston, Ontario. They have received numerous Canadian Music awards, including 14 Juno Awards. Go to cmacevents.com.

And, they're off!
The New York Derby, the second leg of the Big Apple Triple, is Friday. The thoroughbred race, with an estimated $150,000 purse, will be held at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack. Empire Dreams won the Derby last year under Manuel Franco by two-and-one-quarter lengths. Post time is 1:10 p.m. Ostrolenka, who won at the first leg of the New York Derby at Belmont, heads a group of seven New York-bred 3-year-olds entered. Go to fingerlakesgaming.com.

Moonlight stroll at Sonnenberg
Visitors this month can take a moonlight stroll through the gardens at Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park in Canandaigua. The Moonlight Stroll Music Series kicks off at 8 p.m. today with The Fools performing rock music on the newly renovated mansion veranda. The music plays Friday nights through Aug. 7. Go to sonnenberg.org to see the music lineup for upcoming strolls.

Shakespeare at the Bowl
The Shakespeare Players, a program of the Rochester Community Players, presents Shakespeare at the Highland Park Bowl. The program features two Shakespeare plays, in repertory. "Henry IV, Part 1" opened last week and "Henry IV, Part 2," opens July 3. Performances, which run through July 18, are free, although donations are encouraged. The Highland Park Bowl is at 1600 South Ave., at the corner of South Avenue and Robinson Drive. Parking is available on Robinson Drive and on neighborhood streets. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Visit rochestercommunityplayers.org.

On the big screen
"Magic Mike XXL" finds Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) three years after retiring from stripping, but the former dancer misses the excitement and feeling of being on stage. He and the remaining Kings of Tampa hit the road to Myrtle Beach to put on one last performance. It also stars Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello. Find movie times.

Old-fashioned celebration
Genesee Country Village & Museum plans festivities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Independence Day, with a parade, concerts and a naturalization ceremony to welcome nearly 50 people from countries all over the world. Throughout the day, visitors can see how Americans celebrated July 4th over the years. Go to gcv.org. To find information about other museums in our area, see the digital edition of Explore or visit the Explore website.

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