Downtown Ithaca canceling a number
 of special events for 2020

Downtown Ithaca Logo

ITHACA NY JULY 21, 2020 — After a thorough review of its options, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) today announces the cancellation of more of its special events programming for the remainder of the year.

The event cancellations include the Apple Harvest Festival, Fashion Week, Welcome Student Weekend, Halloween on the Commons, Santa’s Arrival, and Chowder Cook-Off — each traditionally attracts thousands of residents and visitors to the community. Collectively, these canceled events drew over 80,000 people to downtown last year.

“Due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 pandemic and limitations on social gatherings, we’re forced to cancel these massive crowd-drawing events. The Apple Harvest Festival alone attracts tens of thousands of people to Downtown and we simply can’t host such mass gatherings in our community at this time. We did not come to this decision lightly and we understand the impact of such a decision on the local economy, but we have to prioritize the safety and health of our community, vendors, staff, and volunteers,” says DIA Special Events Director Scott Rougeau.

The 38th Annual Apple Harvest Festival presented by Tompkins Trust Company was originally scheduled for October 2nd-4th of this year. This free, family-friendly, community celebration of the Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region’s robust agriculture and artist communities traditionally packs downtown Ithaca. It is a seasonal celebration in the region featuring local apples and fall harvest produce, freshly baked sweets, a craft fair, a variety of unique culinary options, games, rides, prizes, and live performances.

“We had hoped conditions for hosting large festivals would improve as the year progressed; however, at this time it is clear there is no way of safely hosting an event of this size,” adds Rougeau.
While programming activities will not take place for Downtown Employee Appreciation Week, the organization plans to continue the downtown employee discount program and will distribute the discount cards to local business employees later this year.  The discount cards will be valid through 2021.

Not all Downtown events have been canceled. Among the Downtown events that are being hosted in 2020 are an online CFCU Summer Concert Series, a virtual and walk around Gallery Night, a BITE of Ithaca restaurant promotion, and a 2020 Winter Light Fest display during the holiday season.

The CFCU Summer Concert Series is being streamed on the downtown Ithaca website, Facebook, and YouTube pages every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. now through September 24th.  The monthly Gallery Night presented by Tompkins Trust Company exhibits art in virtual galleries online at and hosts artist talks and demonstrations on downtown Ithaca’s Facebook page from 5 to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of each month.

“We will return to live events when it is safe and responsible to do so. In the meantime, we will focus our efforts on recovery from the pandemic, assisting our existing businesses and attracting new entrepreneurs to our downtown,” says Gary Ferguson, the DIA’s executive director.

For more information about Downtown Ithaca’s events and other offerings, visit or email



Downtown Ithaca Alliance
Darlene M. Wilber, Communications Manager

ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN ITHACA ALLIANCE: The Downtown Ithaca Alliance is a 503(c) not-for-profit organization charged with the revitalization, development, promotion, and management of the Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District (DIBID). The organization represents the stakeholders, residents, businesses, and property owners in DIBID. For additional information, visit