Downtown Ithaca’s Winter Lights and Bites starts this weekend


Nine-day celebration features interactive lighting displays, multiple family activities, an ultimate foodie experience, and more

This month, Downtown Ithaca’s Winter Lights Festival is teaming up with Bite of Ithaca to host Winter Lights & Bites, a nine-day holiday season celebration featuring interactive lighting displays and an assortment of safe and socially distant family-friendly activities paired with an ultimate foodie experience. 

Winter Lights & Bites is happening from December 4 through December 12. Most of Winter Light activities will be on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 8 p.m. at locations on and around the Commons. 

This Friday's entertainment will include Gallery Night, downtown's monthly walking tour showcasing the latest works from highly talented artists at downtown galleries, shops, and businesses. Bring your family to enjoy gallery exhibits and art demonstrations. Then, take a stroll along the Commons to marvel at the outdoor light installations: Sparky the Unicorn, a giant, colorful, and rideable art bike; an interactive temple lotus; and the new 11-foot-tall luminous and musical holiday tree that will brighten the Commons. And, a fire performance dance troupe will also heat up the night! Plus, keep yourself toasty by sipping hot chocolate from the Infinity and Beyond Bar on the Commons each Friday and Saturday during the celebration. 

Additional pop-up activities will include an extremely entertaining lightsaber invitational brought to us by the Ithaca Sabers and a glow parade where guests are encouraged to wear glowing accessories and join a procession led by Sparky the Unicorn.  

Plus, many restaurants will be offering $5 bite-sized menu items and sips for foodies to explore new cuisines and discover downtown restaurants they have never tried before. 

This year to help with capacity and safely partaking in this delicious program, bites & sips will be available for takeout, pickup, and delivery from most restaurants. Make a dinner party at home with your family. Order a flight for each family member! You'll find a list of participating locations and their tasty Bite menus at

Winter Lights & Bites and Gallery Night are presented by Tompkins Trust Company and made possible in part by the Tompkins County Tourism Program. The Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) organizes all the programming provided for these events. 

"We're excited to bring a safe and socially distant Lights & Bites celebration to the community during this time of year. It's certainly going to be an event that features the best of two fantastic worlds: a holiday lighting spectacular with eye-catching light displays and a foodie experience showcasing cuisine and sips that are so good you'll keep coming back for more," says DIA Special Events Director Scott Rougeau. "We thank Tompkins Trust Company for its continued support of our events during this difficult time, and we look forward to seeing people enjoying the entire experience in a safe way." 

For everyone's safety during Winter Lights and Bites, masks-wearing will be a requirement for all guests and social distancing will be in effect. You'll see social distancing markers and hand sanitizing stations all along the Commons. 

More Winter Lights & Bites details, including a full schedule, are available at and on the Winter Lights & Bites and Bite of Ithaca Facebook pages.

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