215 North Cayuga Street M–1
The intent of the Ithaca Festival is to celebrate our community and the artist in each of us.
The tradition of the Ithaca Festival started in 1977 as an arts festival called Celebration Ithaca. Over the past 30 years, the Ithaca Festival has grown into a true celebration of community that is rich in talent, bringing together people of all ages and ethnicities. Click here to read more about our eclectic Festival History
The Ithaca Festival is a not–for–profit corporation (501–c–3). A volunteer Board of Directors establishes Festival policy. There is a year–round director and several seasonal part–time staff members. More than 200 community volunteers of all ages help transform our small town into a celebration each year.
Where And When
One of America's best homegrown arts festivals, Ithaca Festival takes place each year on the first weekend after Memorial Day. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Festival happens in the heart of Ithaca, New York on the Commons. On Sunday, the entire Festival moves to Stewart Park at the base of Cayuga Lake.
What is the Ithaca Festival?:
The Ithaca Festival is one of the largest annual events in Ithaca, New York, attracting an audience of over 35,000 people. Each year, the community is brought together by this unique, family oriented celebration of the arts. A showcase for over 1,000 local musicians, ensembles, community groups, visual and performance artists, craftspeople, actors, dancers, storytellers, poets, and writers, the Ithaca Festival provides an extraordinary opportunity for family, friends, and visitors to celebrate our community.
We have learned to DISCOVER the art being made right here in our own backyard. The message of the Ithaca Festival is that the music written by local musicians, the art made by local artists, the dances choregraphed by local dance troupes, the poems, stories, and plays written by local writers is as good as or better than anything else you might find elsewhere. To paraphrase Tip O’Neill, during the Ithaca Festival, “All ART is local!”
On Thursday night, we have the most unique parade in the entire country –– it has risen to the level of performance art –– where else would you see Volvo Ballet but at the Ithaca Festival? And if you like to eat… do we have something for you!
We think that you will feel at home here in Ithaca –– a lively and progressive upstate New York community at the base of Cayuga Lake –– artists, farmers, students, dreamers, absent–minded professors, writers, activists, musicians, teachers, Tibetan monks, belly dancers, happy families and hundreds and hundreds of rusted, but still servicable Volvos.
Our community has a rich and diverse history –– we have always been on the cutting edge. We were one of the first communities to have telephones, electric lights and street cars –– partly because Cornell University is here, but also because Ithacans have always been visionaries. Ithaca is also known as the birthplace of the ice cream sundae. And once upon a time, it was the home to a silent movie studio –– they called it “a director’s dream of paradise come true” –– the varied landscape of gorges, hills, waterfalls, and historic buildings captivated the eyes of early movie makers (until they discovered the more temperate zone of Hollywood.)