Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Indian Creek Farm stand at the 34th annual Applefest Sunday.

October 2, 2016

Ithaca Annual Harvest Festival Kicks Off Fall Season

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For festival-goers like Catherine Curran ’20 and Rhett Curran ’20, Ithaca’s Annual Apple Harvest Festival is the “perfect embodiment of fall,” as well as an opportunity to sample the products of Ithaca’s local restaurants, vendors and artisans.

The festival — which lasted from Friday afternoon through Sunday — sprawled from the Ithaca Commons to Cayuga Street, housing over 100 farm stands, artisans, food trucks and other vendors.

According to Tatiana Sy, this year’s events director, the process of planning for the festival began in late June and focused on “keeping the foundation and the tradition [of the festival] and trying to adapt and keep up with new ideas and new challenges.”

The festival draws approximately 35,000 people to the Commons each year, according to Sy. She added that demographics of the attendees were fairly evenly split between college students and Ithacans, adding that Cornell has a “major presence” at the event each year in volunteer turnout.

New additions to this year’s event included the Silo Food Truck — a New York State Fair food truck finalist, specializing in fried chicken dishes — Let’s Roll, a food truck serving up gourmet egg rolls, and a free activity area inside Center Ithaca for families with small children.

However, Sy stressed that for most attendees, “the farmers are what people are coming to see.”

“For a lot of folks from here there’s a lot of regular vendors that have been coming here for years,” she said. “They know [what] they’re looking for when they come.”

Moreover, the annual event brings together college students, staff, alumni and local families, Sy said.

“[We want to give Ithacans and Cornellians] a chance to come downtown and discover what Ithaca has to offer,” she said. “The festival is a tradition, so it’s kind of a window for students and Ithacans to see who’s in Ithaca and what they enjoy there, and to get to know Ithaca on a personal level.”