This coming October, people from both inside and outside of Tompkins County will have the opportunity to tour local farms and historical landmarks as part of an inaugural event aimed at increasing awareness of the richness of the surrounding rural area.
“Tompkins County isn’t just Ithaca … it’s mostly rural,” said Pat Longoria, events and community engagement coordinator at Historic Ithaca. “I’m hoping it will spur people to appreciate what we have.”
The occasion, called the Authentically Rural Weekend, is being organized by Longoria in collaboration with The History Center and will be held from October 5-7.
“Last year, The History Center hosted a series of discussions and events about rural heritage in Tompkins County, what basically makes Tompkins County unique,” Longoria said. “And just based on those discussions we decided to put together an entire weekend of events that would celebrate how vital our rural heritage is in Tompkins County, how important it is to the County, and how vital it is to our cultural and economic life.”
Events will take place throughout the weekend in both Ithaca and Dryden. According to Longoria, the focus of these events will be on architecture and historical landmarks that “characterize [Tompkins County’s] rural landscape” as well as tours of both large and small farms.
On Friday, there will be an opening reception at the Cornell Botanical Gardens Welcome Center at 5:30 p.m.
“Cornell has played a pretty large and distinctive role in Ithaca and Tompkins County … so I’m kind of excited that we’re going to start off at Cornell,” Longoria said.
County legislator Martha Robertson will be giving the welcoming remarks, according to Longoria. Sam George of the Cayuga Nation will also be there for the opening Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving address, a prayer that reflects on the connection of thanking life and the surrounding world. Prof. Scott Peters, development sociology, will be present as well and will be discussing persisting rural cultures and their heritage.
On Saturday, there will be a bus tour for event-goers to see different sites — including the Jerry Dell Farm, Rocky Acres Farm and a restored octagonal schoolhouse. Concurrently, the Dryden Homestead Heritage Fair Day will be held in Dryden.
“It’s kind of a continuation of their old fair days that they used to have in the nineteenth century,” Longoria described.
A Harvest Dinner will take place at Coltivare on Saturday evening. Crops and produce harvested from the Tompkins Cortland Community College Farm will be served at the restaurant, with Robert Frisch, CEO of Firelight Camps, giving a keynote address.