ITHACA, N.Y. – The 35th annual Apple Harvest Festival is bringing longtime favorites and first-time events this weekend to downtown Ithaca.

Apple goods sold by over 20 local farmers and autumn themed street food have remained classic favorites for years.

“There’s pretty much all of the ways you could eat an apple at this festival,” said Tatiana Sy, special events director for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.

“This is a 35 year tradition now and has always been a really unique opportunity for a community to practice a tradition,” Sy said. “It’s a chance for the students to meet the community which is a cool way to bring both worlds together every year, which is a major reason why it is so big to us.”

Here are five new things happening at this year’s Apple Harvest Festival to get excited about:

1) Monks and Makers: a cider food pairing

This new cider tasting event will feature nine apple ciders paired with dishes from Monks on the Commons.

“It’s the start of what I think will be a great addition to the festival,” Sy said.

While cider tastings are a large part of Apple Fest, some of the Monks featured ciders have never been poured during the festival before.

“We’re excited about this,” Sy said. “RSVPs are coming in pretty strong.”

The event is free, with RSVP required, and is happening from 1-5 p.m. Sunday at Monks, located inside the Ithaca Marriott Downtown on the Commons.

Click here to RSVP to the event. 

2) Finger Lakes Comedy Festival teams up with WICB 91.7 FM

This year marks the third annual Finger Lakes Comedy Festival, running concurrently with Applefest. Performers will take to various stages throughout downtown for stand-up, improv, and more.

Event organizers are teaming up this year with WICB 91.7 FM, Ithaca College’s radio station for Saturday performances, which is a new aspect of the Comedy Festival this year.

For performance times and ticket information, click here. 

3)  Science Cabaret: A Bite of Science

Science Cabaret, a monthly event in Ithaca, will debut a special apple edition of their engaging science talks on the Bernie Milton Pavilion on Sunday at 3 p.m. Local scientists will share five minute talks about their research related to apples.

According to the event website, featured scientists include Megan Biango-Daniels, who studies fungi and food, Jackie Nock, who works at the Cornell Orchards, and Ali Al Farqani, a Graduate Field of Horticulture PhD student.

4) The Family Fun Zone

The Family Fun Zone located inside Center Ithaca gives children a place to play with free activities during Apple Fest. This year, kids can look forward to a balloon artist and station for feather hair extensions.

5) Festival rides

The fun house and rides are perennial favorites at the festival. This year, instead of a large Ferris wheel, there will be mini Ferris wheel for small children to enjoy.

Featured photo by Alisha Tamarchenko