This is a community announcement from Visit Ithaca. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit news releases, email

ITHACA, N.Y. – A community strong with collegiate ties; home to Cornell University, Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County is truly a community built on education. In celebration, the town is gearing up for the 13th annual Winter Recess Teacher’s Festival to take place February 15 – 24, 2019. Dates annually coincide with the President’s Day Holiday and February school break recognized by many school districts across New York State and the northeast. The festival was born out of the desire to celebrate the community’s educational roots and celebrate those who have dedicated their careers and lives to the education of others. Held during the destination’s shoulder-season, when overnight rooms are slightly discounted and experiences at wineries, restaurants, and attractions are a bit more intimate without the rush of summer visitors, the festival is now in its 13th year.

Winter Recess is organized by Visit Ithaca, Tompkins County’s official Destination Marketing Organization, along with the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, and has grown into a highly anticipated event for many teachers across New York State.

Katie Holden is a teacher who first attended the festival four years ago. She enjoyed it so much so, the following year she organized a motorcoach to bring a group of friends to attend from their Chenango Forks School District. This year will be the third year that the group attends, each year taking advantage of different deals and experiencing something new. When asked about their plans for this year, Katie responds, “I’m switching things up a little this year and we will be exploring some breweries and Myers Distillery. We look forward to this event every year because we feel appreciated. We enjoy visiting the wineries and restaurants, it’s such a good way to break up the year and re-boot. We love kicking off the break right with some relaxation!”

The week-long festival kicks off with teachers and their friends registering for their ‘VIT’ or Very Important Teacher passes online at Upon arrival in town, attendees pick up passes and their official Winter Recess program, which features coupons and discounts at the numerous businesses across the region that participate by offering deals.

“We know that our area attractions, hotels and restaurants don’t need to discount in order to craft enticing reasons for visitors to come and experience our waterfalls, gorges and all there is to see and do here. Winter Recess, however, is a time when we work with our partners to celebrate teachers by offering amazing deals. Essentially the whole community goes on sale. We feel it is such a great way to recognize all PreK-K teachers, educational staff and their friends and family, who we so lovingly refer to as ‘Teacher’s Pets,’” states Jodi LaPierre, Director of Visitor Experience and long-term employee at Visit Ithaca.

Throughout the week, attendees can pick and choose from any number of deals, discounts and special events to enjoy. Some of this year’s highlights include an opening night reception at the Hotel Ithaca, a special teacher’s only happy hour at Gola Osteria Italian Restaurant, and a complimentary spa night hosted by Satori Salon and Rasa Spa. Many restaurants across Tompkins County are offering a percentage off or a buy one/get one dinner entrée special, and area hotels and B&B’s offer generously discounted rates, so teachers can stay and take advantage of the many events and deals throughout the week.

For more information, visit or contact the Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau at

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This article was submitted on behalf of a person or organization in Tompkins County. The Ithaca Voice posts community announcements to provide readers with information directly from local businesses and...