ITHACA, N.Y. –– Ithaca’s annual Apple Harvest Festival will look a little different this year –– spread over 6 days with limited vendor capacity, the festival will serve as a farmers market for local apple products rather than the popular all-day festivity it has become.
Downtown Ithaca will welcome just a couple of farmers and cideries to show off their harvest in a socially distant, de-densified version of a farmers market and cider trail happening on the Commons and inside downtown shops and restaurants.
“We can’t do it like we normally would and would like to this year, but that this would be good for now and then hopefully next year we’d come back bigger and better than ever,” said Scott Rougeau, the special events director for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.
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The DIA is capping the number of vendors to 6 per day, all contained to Bank Alley where the Bernie Milton Pavilion is located.
“All the booths will be no bigger than 10 by 10 feet under a tent, and all the produce and offerings are going to be contained within that space. People coming down to attend won’t be able to, like in the past, sort through the apples and pick one that they like. This year, due to COVID-19 regulations by the state, the vendors themselves will be packaging up your bag of apples and hand it to you,” Rougeau said.
Additionally sanitizer and masks will be required, and markers will be throughout the Commons reminding people to social distance. No more than fifty people will be able to attend the market at a time.
In addition to the market, shops and restaurants will also feature apple & cider themed menus and goods for sale too all of which will be on a new “Cider Trail Passport.”
As part of the Apple and Cider Trail, participants purchase bottles of ciders and apple products from downtown shops and enjoy a specialty cider or apple inspired dish at many downtown eateries. For more information and to check which vendors will be at the market on which days, visit downtownithaca.com or the Facebook event page.
The festival will run Sept. 28 through Oct. 4 from noon to 4 p.m., with the market starting Tuesday.
“We tried to stretch it out as far as we can, day wise, but again, still have somewhat limited hours for participation to avoid like any any large rush on the weekend,” Rougeau said. “We are still trying to celebrate the seasons and activate the spaces downtown as best we can. But obviously, everyone’s safety comes first.”