Plaza to host six festivals this summer, including new Hops and Harvest event

Photo courtesy of OGS

The Office of General Services has announced six festivals at the Empire State Plaza this summer, including the annual Fourth of July fireworks display and a new Hops and Harvest Festival this fall.

First up is the annual fireworks display on Wednesday July 4 from 3 – 10 p.m. featuring Smash Mouth and a special performance by local artist Moriah Formica of “The Voice.”

Price Chopper and Market 32 have presented this Albany tradition since the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. The annual event features live music and family activities, including the largest fireworks show in the region.

Each year, more than 20,000 people gather on the Plaza and in the surrounding neighborhoods to enjoy the festivities, which includes a naturalization ceremony, dozens of food and craft vendors, activities for kids, and live entertainment leading up to the pyrotechnics show.

Formed in late 1994, Smash Mouth’s major-label debut album went more than double platinum and set the table for what most of the band’s fans consider their masterpiece, 1999’s follow-up album “Astrolounge.” Boasting three top-10 hits – “All-Star,” “Then The Morning Comes,” and “Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby” – sales of “Astrolounge” have approached nearly quadruple platinum status. Smash Mouth’s third release featured the smash hit “I’m a Believer,” which appears on the “Shrek” movie soundtrack.

Sponsors of the event include Price Chopper and Market 32, I Love New York, New York Lottery, Miller Light, CDTA, Times Union,, Renaissance Albany Hotel, and 99.5 The River.

The annual Kids Day will be held Saturday July 14 from noon – 5 p.m. and will feature Thomas & Friends Sing Along Adventure. This is area’s largest kid-centric outdoor event with live music, face painting, bounce rides, and this year, the chance to meet Robin and Starfire of Teen Titans.

Sponsors of Kids Day include MVP Health Care, Lego Land, New York 529 College Savings Program, New York State of Health,99.5 The River, and CDTA.

On Saturday August 4, from 2 – 7 p.m., the Plaza will host the Black Arts and Cultural Festival, an updated take on a celebration of the traditions and cultural contributions of the black community through music, art, dance and more.

In addition to an afternoon of music — including headliner Faith Evans — the festival will feature a gospel stage, food, crafts, arts, heritage and more.

Faith Evans is a multi-platinum, seven-time Grammy nominee, and 1998 Grammy winner for Best Performance by a Duo or Group for “I’ll be Missing You,” an homage to her late husband and hip-hop legend Notorious B.I.G.

Sponsors include New York’s 529 College Savings Program, New York State of Health, SONYMA, Hot 99.1, Price Chopper and Market 32, MVP Health Care, and Renaissance Albany Hotel.

The annual New York State Food Festival will be held Wednesday, August 8, from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and will feature 90’s alt rockers Everclear.

With dozens of food vendors to choose from, 15,000 people annually flock to the Plaza Food Festival which showcases New York producers and specialty products, New York state beers, and the popular Empire State Plaza Farmers Market.

Everclear has written and recorded some truly iconic ’90s hits such as “Santa Monica” and “Father of Mine.” With plans to dig into their catalogue, Everclear’s performance promises to offer fans a rare treat into past material — especially the “deep cuts.”

Sponsors include New York Lottery, BlueShield of Northeastern NY, I Love New York, Times Union, Saranac, Druthers Brewing Company, Brooklyn Brewery, Ithaca Beer Company, and Renaissance Albany Hotel.

New this year is the Hops and Harvest festival on Wednesday, September 19, 5 – 9 p.m. The Infamous Stringdusters will headline a day of music, food and beer meant to celebrate the best of what autumn has to offer in upstate New York and blue grass music.

The Infamous Stringdusters have consistently covered new ground, inspired fans, and redefined what a bluegrass band can be. They won a 2018 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album for their 2017 release “Laws of Gravity.”

Sponsors include Times Union, Saranac, Druthers Brewing Company, Brooklyn Brewery, Ithaca Beer Company, and Renaissance Albany Hotel.

On Saturday, September 22, from 6 – 10 p.m., the Plaza will hoist the annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration featuring Raul Acosta y Oro Sólido.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with this tribute to Latin culture. Rich in tradition, the Hispanic community comes together in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center for a colorful pageantry of live music, dance, food and family friendly activities.

Oro Sólido was formed by Raul Acosta, a.k.a. “El Presidente” in 1994. The band has since positioned itself as one of the biggest Latin music groups in the world.

Sponsors include Price Chopper and Market 32, Hot 99.1, SONYMA, New York State of Health, MVP Health Care, and Renaissance Albany Hotel.

All of the Summer At The Plaza events are free. Free parking is available in the East Garage and the Cathedral, Madison, and Grand Street parking lots on Saturdays during At the Plaza events. Free parking is also available in the East Garage after 4 p.m. for weeknight events. Paid parking is available at the visitor or V lot underneath the plaza.

No alcoholic beverages, coolers (defined as rigid insulated containers), or glass containers of any kind; animals or pets, other than ADA-defined service animals, will be allowed. Alcohol will be sold by vendors to adults with proper identification.

For event updates and additional information on opening acts, people can follow @plazaevents on Twitter and Facebook, or call (518) 474-4759. For additional information, including ground rules and parking lot locations, visit our website at