Apple Harvest Fest coming to downtown Ithaca

The 28th Annual Downtown Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival returns October 1st -3rd on the Commons and the surrounding streets in downtown. Perennial Apple Harvest attractions such as the Apple Pie eating contest, Iron Chef Competition, Craft Show and the Farmers Market return as the festival takes place from noon to 6:30 on Friday the 1st and 10:00 am until 6:30 on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the traditional Apple Harvest activities, this year’s festival will feature a vast array of supplemental events from the Rotary Club’s talent show at the State Theatre on Friday evening to the First Peoples’ Festival in Dewitt Park on Saturday to the Community School of Music and Arts perform-a-thon on Sunday. The Apple Harvest Festival is free and open to the public and will feature more than a dozen area farmers and wineries over the course of the three day event. Fresh farm produce and home baked goods will be available for sampling and purchase while numerous local vintners will be on hand providing tastings of some of the regions finest locally produced wines and ciders. In addition to the local culinary bounty, the Apple Harvest Festival will feature over one dozen unique food vendors featuring cuisines from Indian to Thai, Italian to Laotian. In keeping with a more recent Apple Harvest tradition all food vendors have agreed to use compostable dishes and utensils. Composting stations will be placed around the Commons and volunteers will help ensure trash is disposed of in the most environmentally friendly way.While opportunities to dine and indulge in a considerable selection of cuisine will abound at this year’s Apple Harvest Festival, the opportunity to shop and appreciate the visual arts will be equally as plentiful as the annual craft show expands from the typical two day affair to an expanded show that will now extend to the entire duration of the festival. This year’s Apple Harvest Craft Show will feature over forty craft vendors displaying their wares; ranging from fine art to textiles to some of the region’s most delicately crafted glass art and jewelry. Artisans from throughout the central New York region and the greater Northeast will be represented. In addition to the craft show, October 1st marks the tenth installation of First Friday Gallery Night for the 2010 season. Over one dozen galleries and art houses will open their doors to the public from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. An anticipated highlight of the October 1st Gallery Night shows will be the work of Mark Iwinski, a recipient of a 2008 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Photography. Drawn from The History Center’s photographic collection and other sources, the images Mark will present use a layered photo-performative technique to reveal some of Ithaca’s rich cultural heritage.Not to be outmatched by the assortment of food and art present at the Apple Harvest Festival, live music and entertainment will flourish as well. Over thirty live acts will take to the pavilions and the streets to entertain festival goers over the course of the three days. Headlining musical acts performing in the Bernie Milton Pavilion from 4:30 to 6:30 include up and coming Ithaca band the Blind Spots led by lead singer Maddy Walsh on Friday, a farewell show by long time Ithaca favorite funk rock outfit Revision on Saturday and a final two hour set to close out the festival on Sunday by southern fried Jazz band the Dixie Cats. On Saturday afternoon the State Theatre will play host to Dan Zanes performing his unique, exuberant, handmade music for kids and kid sympathizers at noon. Following the show at the State Theatre at 2:00 pm the Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers led by Sherri Waterman Hopper will engage festival attendees at the intersection of State and Cayuga with an indigenous performance of music and dance. Traditional Haudenosaunee music and culture will be on display all day Saturday, from 10:00 am – 6:30 pm in Dewitt Park as the First Peoples’ Festival moves to downtown for the first time in its history. Anticipated attractions include traditional stories told by Perry Ground, cornhusk doll making by Marcela Kane and a tools of the hunt demonstration led by Mike Tarbell. In addition, to the interactive performances and demonstrations throughout the day traditional foods such as corn soup, tacos and fry bread will be available for purchase. Later that evening beginning at 7:00 pm, the History Center of Tompkins County invites you to join them on a Haunted History tour. The tours will highlight selected sites of interest and the ‘ghosts’ who inhabited them. Additional bands and performances can be witnessed all weekend long at the Bernie Milton Pavilion, the West End Amphitheatre and on or about the Commons. Further events of interest taking place during Apple Harvest weekend are the opening of the brand new Finger Lakes Wine Center set to take place on October 1st in the lower level of the Cayuga St. parking garage, the Gateway building open house in recognition of their five year anniversary and the continuation of the Smithsonian exhibit Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon in the Rothchild’s building. In addition, the Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) will be kicking off its Arts for All Marathon, beginning on Friday and running all weekend long. Friday’s festivities start with the opening reception for 4 Running Feet: The Marathon Gallery Exhibition. On Saturday CSMA along with Ithaca College students will hold an Instrument Petting Zoo. From approximately 1 to 3 pm, kids can visit stations featuring the various instruments of the orchestra and be guided by musicians in how to hold the instrument and make sounds from it. CSMA’s kick-off weekend will culminate with Perform-a-thon, a mini-marathon of its own. Acoustic music and readings will be offered throughout the afternoon beginning at 1:30 pm in one-hour blocks in the 3rd Floor Performance Space. The Arts for All Marathon is a fundraiser for the CSMA’s scholarship program. Also running all weekend long will be the Tompkins Trust Company Downtown Ithaca Apple Harvest Trivia Competition. Taking place in Bank Alley, in front of their downtown location, the Trust Company will be testing festival-goers knowledge of Apples and Downtown history. Enter to win an ipod, a Downtown Ithaca gift card and assorted other prizes.The 28th Annual Downtown Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival is sponsored by the Tompkins Trust Company, the Ithaca Times and Community Energy; a program of NYSEG. The Apple Harvest Festival is produced by the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) in cooperation with the City of Ithaca. For more information please visit downtownithaca.com or call the DIA office at 607-277-8679.

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