Enjoy Ithaca Holiday Activities this Weekend

Santa Claus and other holiday activities coming to Downtown Ithaca this weekend

Saturday’s celebration includes photos with Santa, live performances, craft-making, face painting, and more

Downtown Ithaca hopes you’ve been on your best behavior leading up to this holiday season. Do you know why? Santa Claus is coming to town this weekend to greet the community’s youth and their parents or guardians before making his annual trip around the world.

We invite the public to join us from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 as we welcome the holiday season’s jolliest elf to The Commons.

As guests wait for Kris Kringle’s arrival, they are welcome to gather outside in The Commons’ beautifully decorated Trolley Circle at 11 a.m. to watch performances from The Next Jennaration, an award-winning dance cheer group based out of Lansing, New York, and Ithaca’s own Fall Creek Brass Band which will showcase some of their toe-tapping funky beats, groovy bass lines, and hot licks.

Then, promptly at noon, Santa will rappel from the rooftop of the Center Ithaca building with assistance from some of his merry elves. This time-honored tradition, a daring feat completed by volunteers from the Ithaca Police Department’s SWAT Team, is sure to marvel spectators.

After Santa descends from the rooftop, have your photo taken with him until 3 p.m. inside Center Ithaca! Guests, you are the photographer for the photos with Santa. Take free pictures that you will treasure for a lifetime using your own camera.

“Santa’s arrival, especially his special entrance on to the Commons, along with the live performances and the activities in Center Ithaca that surround this wonderful tradition is sure to get the crowd into the holiday spirit,” says Summer Keown, special events director for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, the event’s organizer.

Once guests meet with Santa, they are welcome to stay and participate in craft-making activities and face painting. In addition, Ithaca Talent Education School’s Violin Ensemble, a group comprised of highly skilled young musicians, will be on site performing a selection of holiday music until 1:45 p.m. inside Center Ithaca. Plus, check out Amazing Pete’s incredible holiday creation, a giant gingerbread house made entirely out of balloons! All of these fun-filled activities are free and open to the public. A full schedule of the day’s events is available on Downtown Ithaca’s website and Facebook Events Page.

Also, on Saturday, prior to Santa’s arrival, join the YMCA at its annual Santa 5K and one-mile Elf Walk starting at 9 a.m. at Dewitt Park. Also, make sure to visit Alphabet Soup, the Commons’ premier toy store, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to complete a letter to Santa.

Santa’s arrival is part of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance’s two-week-long winter festivities which include downtown’s monthly art event Gallery Night presented by Tompkins Trust Company, the 12th Annual Ithaca Ice Festival presented by Elmira Savings Bank, City Centre and Hilton Garden Inn, and the 8th Annual Chowder Cook-Off.

Gallery Night’s December installment will be held on Friday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. and will include many seasonal exhibits, including Paper Snowflake Art – The Magic of Winter by Mariellen VanDyke Brown at Benjamin Peters. This exhibit will feature paper snowflakes filled with animals, foliage, and other images that excite the imagination. Simple patterns will be available for purchase if you’d like to create your own magical winter wonderland!

Also, during Gallery Night, visit The Ink Shop Gallery, which will host its Annual Print Sale in conjunction with its 20th Mini Print Exhibit. Its collection of prints is extensive and represents some of the best printmakers around. Both the Ink Shop Print Sale and the Mini Print Exhibit prints are excellent events where you can find artsy items that will make for the perfect gifts.

Many other downtown locations and artists are also participating in this art-filled event. Visit www.gallerynightithaca.com for more information.

For additional information about Ice Fest and Chowder Cook-Off or downtown’s other events, visit www.downtownithaca.com, check out Downtown Ithaca’s Facebook Event Page, call 607-277-8679, or email info@downtownithaca.com.

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