Ontario Beach Park Program Committee
Who We Are
The Ontario Beach Park Program Committee (OBPPC) is a Not for Profit, 501c3 corporation dedicated to producing free and low cost family entertainment events in Ontario Beach Park, the Port of Rochester harbor and the lower Genesee river area in Rochester New York. Comprised entirely of volunteers, with no paid staff, the organization’s mission is to promote the use and responsible development of Rochester’s unique Lake Ontario and Genesee River resource.
The seeds of the Ontario Beach Park Program Committee were planted in 1981 by the Charlotte Community Association and the Charlotte Area Business Association. Concerned about the deterioration of Ontario Beach Park as a family attraction, the de-commissioning of the Rochester Port Authority, closure and neglect of the port properties and proposals for various commercial uses of the valuable waterfront area, the organizations began discussion of ways to bring the area back as the attractive destination that it was in the early 1900’s when it was described as the “Coney Island of the West”. In 1984, the committee served as the nucleus for the planning of the Lake Ontario Tall Ships Festival, a major component of the City of Rochester’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. The event attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area, most of whom had not visited in years, if ever, and as a result reawakened interest in the beach and the harbor area. Building upon the success of the Tall Ships Festival and recognizing that a key to resurgence of the area was the need for year-round free and low cost entertainment and activities that would continue to attract families, the Ontario Beach Park Program Committee (OBPPC) was established. In order to insure that all facets of the community were involved, the OBPPC Board of Directors was and is comprised of representatives from each of the major community organizations, each of which appoint a representative to serve on the Board together with members elected At Large. Working out of the old Port Authority warehouses, plans quickly took shape to replicate the Tall Ships Fest with an annual Harborfest, concerts, dances and other community events, most of which continue today. A giant indoor sand sculpture diorama was commissioned depicting the areas “Past, Present and Future” to serve as a visual roadmap to the unlimited potential.
Recognized for its service to the community by the NY State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, New York State Legislature, the Monroe County Legislature, the Mayor of Rochester and Rochester City Council, the OBPPC has promoted year round events which have attracted millions to the area. As a direct result, interest and support of a once neglected water front area has surged, helping to spur multi-million dollar improvements to Ontario Beach Park, the development and repurposing of the Roger Robach Community Center, restoration of the historic Dentzel Carousel, development of the William Johnson Port Terminal and Port of Rochester Marina and yet to be implemented development projects.
What We Do
The Ontario Beach Park Program Committee works closely with Monroe County, the City of Rochester, other organizations and the community of Charlotte to plan and organize events throughout the year. Some of the events offered each year are:
- The Lakeside Winter Celebration and Rochester Polar Plunge each February
- Ontario Beach Kite Flight-First Sunday in May
- Wednesday evening Wegmans “Concerts By The Shore” Series
- Flower City Kids Planting & Picnic in June
- Summer Celebration & Vintage Car Show
- Spring and Fall Big Band Dance Series-April, May, Sept and Oct
- Rochester River Romance-October
Operating entirely with unpaid volunteers and cooperative agreements with other organizations, events are financed without cash assistance from government, through fund raisers, tax deductible contributions, donations, corporate sponsorships, grants and vendor fees. The City of Rochester and Monroe County provide support through use of facilities, in kind logistical support and cooperative programming.
Contact us for further information, event details and schedules and ways you can help achieve our mission at: