The Student News Site of Ithaca College

Ithaca Week

Ithaca Week

Ithaca Week

Visitors Bureau attracts teachers with winter festival

Visitors Bureau attracts teachers with winter festival

By Max Denning & Isabella Grullon Paz

For the past 11 years, the the Ithaca Convention and Visitors Bureau has put together a week of activities and promotions to give back to teachers. The event is known as Ithaca’s Winter Recess Teachers Fest and took place from Feb. 17 to Feb 26.

The festival came about when the bureau was looking into ways to bring more tourism into Ithaca throughout February, according to Jodi Lapierre, visitor experience manager at the Ithaca Convention and Visitors Bureau. She said February is typically a slow month for tourism and the week could be used as a “really great opportunity to tap into public school educators and thank them for all they do by putting the city on sales.”

The first year the festival took place, an estimated 1,500 people attended. This  year, approximately 3,500–4,000 teachers, family and friends, came to the Ithaca area for the event.

People from all over the country preregistered for the festival and it attracts teachers and families from both the Northeast and parts of the Midwest.

“Often times [the festival gets] repeat visitors that come back for the week, but [it] attracts new teachers every year that haven’t heard about the event,” Lapierre said.

One of the main attractions of the festival are the buy-one get-one-free deals at restaurants around Ithaca. Some of these restaurants include, Maxie’s Supper Club, Boatyard Grill and the Atlas Bowl.

“The restaurants that do the buy one get one deal, often times get the best turn out and is their most successful week of the year, even compared to graduation week,” Lapierre said.

She added that “the economic impact that [they’re] able to generate from this event is in the thousands of dollars range” thanks to all the deals offered by the festival in the Ithaca area.

Lapierre highlighted that some of the other popular events were the Fiber Arts Festival that took place up at La Tourelle Hotel & Spa, ice-cream making classes at the Cayuga Lake Creamery and touring wineries around the Cayuga Lake.

One of the bigger events of the week, Beat the Winter Blues, took place on Feb. 25 at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University.

Julie McLean, the coordinator of public programs at the museum, said the museum wanted to “invite people in to experience warm color, light, music and relaxation in the Museum inspired by the art we have on view” to distract people from the dragging winter.

“We decided on this date because it’s the end of the public school vacation week. So we thought that teachers or families who have been off all week might enjoy having something to attend at the end of the week,” McLean said.

The museum had a variety of activities including a Tai Chi session, guided art mediation and traditional Balinese dance performances.

Lisa Peter, a librarian at the Raymond C. Buckley Elementary School in Lansing, NY,  attended Beat the Winter Blues and a number of other events throughout the week. She said she has participated in the event every year since it has been offered.

“This week is a nice rest-bit from the dark cold winter days, you have something to look forward to,” Peter said.  “It is also nice to know that people are appreciative of teachers and that they go out of their way to show that appreciation … especially in this climate where it’s been hard for teachers because our hands are tied by the decisions taken by our government.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to Ithaca Week

Your donation will support the student journalists of Ithaca College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Ithaca Week

Comments (0)

All Ithaca Week Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *