ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The ten-day Keybank Rochester Fringe Festival begins Thursday. It features more than 500 performances at some 25 different venues around downtown Rochester, but at One Fringe Place, it really doesn't feel like Rochester.

More than 175 of the 500-plus shows and events are free, including what’s described as an immense street theatre spectacle called "BIG BANG" on Friday and Saturday night at Parcel 5. It has all kinds of giant, colorful inflatables from the French company, Plasticiens Volants, who performed at the Rio Olympics.

The Fringe Festival combines theater, projected images, live music, dance, song, films, comedy, pyrotechnics and more. Festival producer Erica Fee says the shows are designed to be uplifting, thought-provoking, silly, unexpected and, well, indescribable sometimes.

"Whether they are established artists or they are the next super star they are able to come to Fringe and are able to try out new work in front of audiences who are hungry to see more," Fee said. "A lot of our audiences in Rochester really love new work. Fringe festivals are fantastic for new work. There are about 200 fringe festivals in the world and we are one of the biggest in the United States and so it is a very vibrant time for downtown Rochester."

More than 68,000 people came out to experience the performances last year.

Tickets are available online or by calling 585-957-9837. Alternatively, purchase tickets right at the Fringe Festival Box Office located at the corner of Main and Gibbs Streets.