Downtown Ithaca will be abuzz with Cornell students listening to performers and exploring stores this Saturday at the second annual C.U. Downtown.
Seventeen different Cornell groups will perform at C.U. Downtown including Yamatai, Cornell Big Red Marching Band and Cornell Bhangra, according to the event’s Facebook page. Students will also be able to get coupons for Ithaca stores and compete in a Game of Thrones scavenger hunt, according to Allison Graffin, Downtown Ithaca Alliance Marketing Director.
The Tatkon Center and DIA are among the sponsors of the event that drew an estimated 2,000 people last year, according to Margherita Fabrizio, The Jack and Rilla Neafsey Director of The Carol Tatkon Center.
Fabrizio described the event as a “back to school celebration,” and emphasized that it is for new students, returning students and Ithaca community members.
“It’s really an opportunity for first-year students to learn about what’s downtown, and to begin to see how close-by it is and that it provides a really good respite for them,” she said.
“There were many people last year who were performers who were upper-level students who weren’t that familiar with it either,” she added. “I’ve heard a lot of students say as they’re seniors, ‘Oh I wish I had discovered Ithaca earlier.’”
Stores in downtown Ithaca will also have unique demonstrations on Saturday.
“Most of the stores downtown are doing activities inside the shops to show the students a little bit about who we are and what’s downtown,” Graffin said.
Students will be able to “mix their own scent” at Linsey Layne and observe a laser cutter and 3D printer at work in Ithaca Generator, according to Graffin. Multiple establishments will even serve free ice cream.
The DIA created a map for the event that includes around 50 coupons, according to Graffin. These will be for shops such as The Cornell Store and Yoga Path. Graffin also added that the DIA’s scavenger hunt involves students searching for Game of Thrones references — of which there are 30 — in stores downtown.
“The students can go in, find the reference, collect the sticker on the map, and then the more places you visit, the more qualifying points you can earn for some really cool prizes,” she said.
Some of the prizes relate to Game of Thrones, while others are gift certificates or other items from Ithaca shops.
“The ultimate prize and the ultimate bragging rights prize is an Iron Throne replica for your dorm room,” Graffin said.
Graffin also added the TCAT bus system will adjust its schedule to stop more often than usual on Cornell’s campus this Saturday.
“These routes normally have a bus on the route every 30 minutes, and so they’re adding additional buses to the different routes, so that it’s a more frequent shuttle, so that more students can get on the bus and ride it down the hill,” she said.
Fabrizio said the event will allow Ithaca residents to see how Cornell students fit into the Ithaca community.
“It’s a great way for Ithacans to see Cornell students in a very different way and to really appreciate what they contribute to the fabric to the community, because this really shows they bring so much of their own culture to these shows,” she said. “It’s just this really great celebration of the diversity of the community that we have here.”
The event will also introduce students to service opportunities in Ithaca. Fabrizio said there will be a tent at C.U. Downtown representing Cornell Public Service Center and Engaged Cornell, while another tent will represent two organizations called Home Plate — which allows Cornell students to eat dinner with an Ithaca family — and International Friendship Program.
“[C.U. Downtown] should also be a way to think about the community that you’re part of and that you’re going to be part of for four years or more and what your role could be in it,” Fabrizio said.