Rochester Deaf Community Comes Together for Festival at GVP

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Under sunny blue skies, members of the deaf and hard of hearing community held their bi-annual festival at Genesee Valley Park.

The Rochester Deaf Festival started back in 2009, when co-founder Chad Lugwid saw a need for an event that provided opportunities for deaf individuals to network and share information on services in the area.

Festivalgoers enjoyed food trucks, a petting zoo and a fire truck for the kids to explore.

President of the festival, Arlene Sankey, says the event is about more than just providing deaf people information on services.

"So we're getting known so that people are coming from the surrounding areas and it's not just Deaf individuals who are coming," Sankey said. "People are coming to learn about sign language. They're learning about deafness, deaf culture, they're learning about deaf-blind individuals. So all of these tables are set up for that business."

Rochester has the highest per capita population of deaf people in the United States.

It is also home to the National Technical Institute for the deaf, a college of RIT.

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