|Celebration features special speakers, awards presentation, and dinner Seating is limited|
|Celebration features special speakers, awards presentation, and dinner Seating is limited|
ITHACA, NY JANUARY 24, 2018 — Downtown Ithaca’s 20th Annual Chili Cook-Off is coming to the area Saturday, Feb. 10 and will be bigger and better than ever with more than 40 participating restaurants sharing their extremely tasty concoctions and tons of other fun activities going on during the celebration.
Tompkins Trust Company presents this highly anticipated community tradition, which is set from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on The Ithaca Commons, 171 E. State St. The Chili Cook-Off, which draws thousands of attendees each year, features hundreds of gallons of freshly made sweet, spicy, and/or tangy chili samples that are masterfully created by the some of the region’s best chefs. These culinary experts will be competing for coveted prizes (Best Meat, Best Vegetarian/Vegan, Best Other Chili Item, and People’s Choice Chili awards). Meat, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free sample options at Chili Cook-off will be available.
“People in this region simply love the varieties of chili and all the of the special activities included as part of this annual recognition of this spicy stew. This year, we’ve recruited a group of widely known restaurants that will showcase some of the very best and most creative chili and chili related recipes around. The public is truly going to enjoy what’s in store for them this year, and we thank Tompkins Trust Company for its continued support for this ultimate foodie and family-friendly event,” says Scott Rougeau, Special Events Associate for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, the event’s organizer.
During the event, Chili Cook-Off visitors can help to name the competition’s People’s Choice champion by sampling chili throughout the day and voting for their favorites. Winners of a jury contest and the People’s Choice honorees will be announced at a later day. The grand prize is the famed Chili trophy and plenty of bragging rights!
Last year’s People’s Choice and Best Presentation winner Monks on the Commons is returning and will be serving a Texas-style chili that is sure to gain many votes. Guests will also enjoy chilis from some new participants including Cornell Catering which will feature meat, vegetarian and vegan chili options.
are also ready to flex their chili making muscles. Collegetown Bagels Pub, Farm and Brewery and BandwagonLocal dining favorites and long-time chili participants Bandwagon will be serving a fired-up chili made with locally sourced meat and house-brewed beer, while Collegetown Bagel will offer both a meat chili made with grilled steak chili and a vegan tofu tomatillo chili.
For the brew lovers, Grist Iron Brewing, Bacchus Brewing Co., and Wagner Valley Brewing are among the list of beverage establishments that will provide beer tastings throughout the event.
Chili Cook-Off will also host a variety of culinary purveyors offering chili-inspired bites, such as Life So Sweet Chocolate’ssweet and spicy raspberry jalapeno chocolate truffles, local microbrews and wine (Don’t forget your ID!), and farm-fresh goods. In between chili chowing, fest-goers can take in the annual spectacular beard and mustache competition – an artistic demonstration showcasing the latest manscape trends, and the extremely popular Silent Disco — details about this wild, wireless dance party are available at www.downtownithaca.com. For those who are young and young at heart, free face painting, games, and additional fun-filled activities will be available in the Tompkins Trust Family Fun Zone happening inside Center Ithaca.
Presale tickets for this fun-filled, family-friendly event will be available starting February 1 at the Downtown Visitors Center (171 E. State St.), and at two Collegetown Bagels locations (203 N. Aurora St., and 415 College Ave.). If you’re coming in from out of town, you can reserve tickets at will-call with your credit card by calling the Downtown Ithaca Alliance at (607) 277-8679.
As always, you can purchase tickets on the day of the event at the event (cash only). Tickets are $5 for five tastes or $10 for 10 tastes of food, wine, and beer. VIP tickets are also available and give you access to a separate, fast-moving line for tastes, plus the annual fest badge of honor, the chili necklace (while supplies last) at 10 tastes for $20 and 20 tastes for $40!
Parking will be available on the surrounding streets and in the city’s three parking garages — Seneca, Green and Cayuga Street. The parking garages will be charging a $5 special event fee.
ITHACA, NY DECEMBER 11, 2017 — Three veteran ice carvers took home top prizes following a series of thrilling, nationally sanctioned ice sculpting competitions held during Ithaca’s 11th Annual Ice Fest.
With a score of 77.83, Oneida resident Wei-Sen Liang, a multi-award-winning ice sculptor and Ice Fest returnee, earned a third-place finish for his impressive mermaid ice sculpture while Marcellus’ Jerry Perum, another Ice Fest veteran who’s won many awards, received 80.33 points for his soaring pelican design dubbed Peaceful Flight. His score earned him a second-place prize.
The Ice Fest’s 2017 Championship title was awarded to Aaron Costic (no score given), a 2006 Olympic gold medalist and a past Ice Fest top finisher from Ohio. Costic’s title-winning creation, which he called Wind, was a male’s muscular upper body with fanned out angelic wings on his back. The top three winners were selected by judges from the National Ice Carvers Association.
“We thank the 10 ice carvers who participated in these high stakes contests. They certainly offered our festival guests an incredible show. We also thank the hundreds of individuals who braved the elements to attend this exciting annual affair. We trust that everyone had a wonderful time, and we look forward to seeing you all again next year,” says Gary Ferguson, executive director for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA), a not-for-profit organization charged with organizing the event.
The DIA’s next major event will be the 19th Annual Chili Cook-Off set for Saturday, Feb. 10. Keep an eye on our Facebook Events Page for information about Chili Cook-Off and Downtown Ithaca’s other events.
ITHACA, NOVEMBER 22, 2017 — Downtown Ithaca’s traditional retailers are recognizing that online retail is causing a shift in consumer shopping habits and that brick and mortar shops now need to offer hands-on and authentic experiences to draw shoppers into their stores.
This trendy way of operating a brick and mortar store is called experiential retail where shops offer a mix of retail, services, and entertainment. Shoppers will find this type of experience in many of downtown Ithaca’s shops.
The newest example of experiential retail in downtown Ithaca exists at Toko Imports, Downtown Ithaca’s specialty shop for drums and world percussion, fine hats, fair-trade jewelry and goddess-inspired gifts. This specialty shop recently added new services in its retail space that jive well with the experiential retail concept.
Now, instructors who provide classes, workshops, or other types of group activities, can host them at Toko where a multifunctional, 500-square-foot studio space is available to rent for that purpose. The studio space has hardwood floors and plenty of natural light, a perfect spot for dance rehearsals, meetings, and other community functions.
The studio space is available to rent before and after shop hours for a reasonable fee — $20-$30 per hour. The fee is based on a sliding scale. Discounted rates are available for daytime rentals while the shop is open and for those renting the space for more than 10 hours per month. For more information, call Toko Imports at (607) 288-2307.
The public, unless otherwise noted, is welcome to attend any of the activities hosted at Toko. Upcoming activities include Latin Percussion for Beginners, West African Drumming, Doumbek drum class w/ Nikolai Ruskin, a Kid’s Percussion Workshop, along with Belly Dancing and Hip Hop dance sessions. Details, including event times and registration information, about these and other upcoming activities, can be found on Toko Imports’ Facebook Page.
Toko, located in the historic Dewitt Mall at the corner of N. Cayuga and E. Buffalo streets, is one of many independently owned and operated downtown Ithaca businesses offering a diversified retail space where visitors can shop and receive other services.
Many other Downtown Ithaca shops and boutiques also present experiential retail at their shops. One of the ways they are offering it is by providing hands-on classes and workshops.
As examples, Sew Green, downtown’s top spot for reusable sewing materials, offers a variety of classes and camps where people of all ages can learn about sewing designs and techniques, and at Jillian’s Drawers, shoppers can participate in parenting classes at the store’s award-winning community room after they rummage through the variety of gently used baby and toddler items. More than a dozen other downtown Ithaca businesses offer classes, as well.
Combining multiple businesses into one retail space is another way downtown’s retailers are providing experiential retail.
Autumn Leaves Used Books, where customers can purchase a classic novel from the 60,000 books in stock or buy a vinyl record and enjoy a tasty vegan or vegetarian dish made fresh at Ten Forward Cafe on the second floor of the store, is one example of that model. Another example is Petrune, where guests can find quality made vintage wear and also receive hair care services at Hare and Bristle, downtown’s newest salon, located on the second floor of the shop.
A third method retailers use to provide experiential retail is by offering retail along with specialty services. This method is seen at Narrative Space, 213 N. Aurora St., where visitors can purchase name brand, high-end men’s and women’s fashions and receive a shave and a haircut at the barbershop located within the store. Shoppers will also find a combo of retail and services at Green Street Pharmacy where they can fill their prescriptions and enjoy a cream soda, a hand mixed float or an ice cream sundae at the indoor cafe. In addition, at Comics for Collectors, shoppers will be able to experience role-playing style board game demonstrations while they shop for the latest graphic novels.
Many other Downtown Ithaca shops and boutiques also present experiential retail in some way, shape or form so be sure to stop by your favorite stores regularly to see what’s available.
To learn more about the variety of products and services downtown Ithaca stores and others provide, visit http://www.downtownithaca.com.
Free parking for Thanksgiving will go into effect at 8:00 PM on Wednesday, Nov. 22 and remain free through Sunday, Nov. 26. Regular parking rates resume at 3 AM Monday, Nov. 27.
Please be advised all standard parking restrictions (including 2-hour parking limit zones, 15-minute loading zones, accessible parking, odd-even overnight parking, etc.) will still be in effect.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Small Business Saturday, Cider Monday, Santa’s visit, Ice Fest, Chowder Cook-Off and more will help get folks in the holiday spirit
ITHACA NY NOVEMBER 16, 2017 – The holiday shopping season is upon us, and Downtown Ithaca’s many locally owned and operated shops and boutiques that we’ve all grown to know and love are ready to help you celebrate with some very special shopping events.
Small Business Saturday is Saturday, Nov. 25 and it’s the best time of the year to show your support for local businesses and the community. This special day, an American Express creation and annual nationwide movement, is set up to help locally owned businesses with their most pressing need — attracting more customers. The day encourages people to shop at local small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
On Small Business Saturday, make it a point to visit Downtown Ithaca where you’ll find more than 100 locally owned and operated specialty shops and boutiques on and around The Commons. Make sure to check out the retailers at the Dewitt Mall and Pressbay Alley, and on East and West State, Cayuga and Green streets.
Shoppers who arrive at downtown’s shops early may receive a signature “Shop Small” canvas bag, a special edition item and the perfect accessory for carrying some of the wonderful items you’ll purchase that day.
Downtown Ithaca’s shops sell a grand selection of gift options including one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items such as pottery, paintings, jewelry, and other products made by highly skillful artisans. Shoppers will also find stores carrying affordable and quality made children’s clothing and toys, modern brand name and vintage apparel, top of the line sporting goods and high-end footwear. Specialty shops selling holiday items ranging from greeting cards and holiday stationery made by local manufacturers are also among the offerings.
“When money is spent at independent locally owned businesses, the money stays here and strengthens the economic base of where we live. Plus, patrons should support these one-of-a-kind businesses because they contribute to the character of our community with exclusive shopping and dining options,” said DIA Executive Director Gary Ferguson.
Last year’s estimates show that a total of 112 million people came out across the country to shop on Small Business Saturday. This outpouring of support helped the nation’s small business owners generate roughly $15.4 billion in sales for the day.
While you’re shopping local on Small Business Saturday, don’t forget to share with friends and family on social media that you’re downtown for Small Business Saturday. Downtown Ithaca is hosting a #Shopsmall Selfie Contest so it will keep an eye out for your social media posts. When you shop on Small Business Saturday, snap a selfie and use the hashtags #shopsmall and #downtownithaca on Facebook or Instagram. A special prize will be awarded to the winner. Look for contest details and rules on Downtown Ithaca’s Events Page on Facebook.
To continue the holiday shopping spirit past the traditionally busy shopping weekend, Downtown Ithaca will host “Cider” Monday on November 27. This is an indie store alternative to Cyber Monday reminding the community about local businesses. In downtown Ithaca, shoppers can enjoy complimentary cider samples as they look for gifts as well as a complimentary cider donut from Littletree Orchards when they show a proof of a purchase made a downtown shop that day.
Additional details, including cider tasting locations, are available at the Downtown Ithaca Facebook Events Page.
Downtown Ithaca also offers more than 50 dining choices where visitors may stop for a freshly prepared, delicious meal anytime during their holiday shopping excursion. You may also want to consider purchasing a Downtown Ithaca Gift Card as a gift for your loved one or friends so they can experience Downtown Ithaca.
Also, be sure to check out Downtown Ithaca’s upcoming holiday festivities including Santa’s arrival on December 2, the Downtown Ithaca Ice Festival from December 7-9, and the 8th Annual Chowder Cook-Off happening during the ice carving competition at Ice Festival on Saturday, Dec. 9.
The Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) is currently seeking a Special Events Director for immediate hire.
This is a full-time senior management position with the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (one of three staff directors), reporting directly to the DIA Executive Director.
This position is charged with the planning and execution of the various downtown festivals and special events of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance. This is a full-time, exempt position requiring supervision and oversight of temporary employees, volunteers, and interns. The position requires knowledge of budgeting, event planning and management, and volunteer coordination.
This position also assumes a leadership role in the management and implementation of the Tompkins County Festivals Program, which is administered by the DIA for the Tompkins County Tourism Program.
The Special Events Director shall prepare budgets and plans for each event. The Special Events Director will take a lead working with the Executive Director and Marketing Director on obtaining needed sponsorships for events.
The Special Events Director will work with the Executive Director, other staff, and the DIA Special Events committee to recommend an annual roster of events. The Special Events Director will cultivate and maintain close working relationships with City staff that are involved in the special events process. The DIA Special Events director has historically participated on the City’s Special Events review committee. The Special Events Director will also assist and facilitate other organizations and entities in the planning and implementation of other events in downtown Ithaca.
Currently, the major events of the DIA are:
The smaller events of the organization currently are:
This list of major and smaller events is subject to change.
The Special Events Director will also serve as a secondary staff person for the following activities/tasks:
The Special Events Director is an integral part of the DIA staff team and is expected to be knowledgeable and conversant with all of the programs and activities of the organization. As a team member, the Special Events Director will provide temporary assistance as required to support other project, programs, and activities of the organization.
The successful candidate will possess most, if not all, of the following attributes:
Salary Range: $40,000-$49,000, based on qualifications, plus benefits.
The Downtown Ithaca Alliance seeks to be a diverse workplace and encourages applications from a broad range of qualified persons.
The Ithaca Downtown Business Improvement District (IDBID), is a State of New York chartered 501c3 not-for-profit organization charged with the revitalization, development, promotion, and management of downtown Ithaca. The IDBID operates as the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA). The following vision statement guides the work and operation of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance: “Downtown Ithaca is the economic, social, and cultural heart of Tompkins County. The Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District will strive to preserve and develop the central downtown core as the region’s center for banking and finance, business and professional offices, government and community services, downtown residences, and as a retail destination highlighted by specialty shops, restaurants, arts, and entertainment. Downtown serves people who live and work downtown, city and county residents, college communities, area visitors, and tourists.”
The Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District was founded in 1997. It is governed by a 27-member Board of Directors and operates with the following staff: A full-time Executive Director (Gary Ferguson); a full-time Marketing Director (Allison Graffin); a full-time Events Director (TBD); a part-time Events Association (Scott Rougeau), a Communications Manager (Darlene M. Donohue); a full time Operations Director (Kris Lewis); a half-time Art Director (Lora Morrow) and both clean & hospitality ambassadors For more information, please visit http://www.downtownithaca.com..
Please send a letter of interest, resume, and any supporting materials in DOCX or PDF form to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Special Events Director in the subject line. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.