For nearly two decades, Ithaca has celebrated the work of educators during their winter break.
This year’s celebration, which takes place from February 16-29, marks the 19th annual Ithaca Loves Teachers event. It includes exclusive deals and opportunities for educators to enjoy lodging, food and beverage, retail, and entertainment experiences in the community. Registration is now open, sign-up for the free digital pass to use as a guide for the event. You can begin browsing offers and planning now.
Visit Ithaca, Tompkins County’s contracted destination management organization, organizes and produces Ithaca Loves Teachers in partnership with Tompkins Chamber and Downtown Ithaca Alliance. The presenting sponsor is Visions Federal Credit Union.
Ithaca Loves Teachers is open to all public school teachers, school district employees/staff, teachers’ union retirees, homeschool teachers and childcare workers with discounted lodging, dining, and activities.
Jodi LaPierre, Visit Ithaca’s director of Visitor Experience, has worked on the celebration since its inception.
“It’s great to see teachers who are experiencing Ithaca Loves Teachers for the first time, and those who return for a getaway with their partner or friends year after year,” she said, noting it is also fun when educators from different places connect with each other. “We love to see teachers from New Jersey enjoying a glass of wine with teachers from Rochester.”
LaPierre also noted that Ithaca Loves Teachers would not be possible without collaboration with Tompkins County businesses.
“We appreciate what educators do and our partners really work hard to make them feel that appreciation,” she said. “We are fortunate to have so many businesses that think this is important.”
Educators coming to town for the celebration will find more than discounts and deals. There are a number of unique events planned, including the Bored Teachers: We Can’t Make This Stuff Up! Comedy Tour at The State Theatre, Ithaca Tap & Craft Festival at The Hotel Ithaca, several special wine tasting experiences, a drag story hour, and yoga classes.
“The post-holiday months are challenging for many of our retail businesses, for restaurants and lodging establishments,” said Tompkins Chamber President Jennifer Tavares. “Ithaca Loves Teachers helps those businesses, while honoring the contributions of educators. This multi-week event offers educators, their families, and friends an opportunity to visit and enjoy everything we have to offer, while bringing revenue to our businesses.”
In 2023, more than 2,275 educators participated in the celebration, redeeming more than 2,500 deals during the two-week period. The estimated economic impact from the event was more than $209,000 for Tompkins County, just during the event dates.
“Ithaca Loves Teachers is a visible way to celebrate educators and all those supporting our children in schools. This celebration also supports local small businesses throughout Tompkins County during the slowest time of the year,” said Peggy Coleman, Tompkins Chamber vice president and director of Visit Ithaca. “Ithaca Loves Teachers infuses over $209,000 of visitor spending into this community, sustaining local jobs, and generating critical sales tax dollars which pay for parks, health and safety, road plowing and other services every Tompkins County resident enjoys. That is something to celebrate.”
Registration is free. To redeem deals and upon checking-in to accommodations, please be prepared to show your school ID badge or equivalent, or proof of employment in education/teachers union retiree status.
During Ithaca Loves Teachers, Visit Ithaca staff will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the Downtown Visitor Center, inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture at 110 N. Tioga St., Ithaca.
For more information and to register, visit IthacaLovesTeachers.com.