ITHACA, N.Y. — The Greater Ithaca Activities Center has revamped its annual festival into the Festival of Nations — a celebration of the many cultures represented by the people of Ithaca. The festival will take place on Sept. 7 at Ithaca High School.

On Saturday, GIAC’s Festival of Nations will include international food vendors, live music, games from around the world and face painting. The festival will take place alongside the Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament and will end with a screening of the movie “Space Jam.”

“The focus is to really honor and celebrate all the cultures of the countries that are represented by the residents in Ithaca,” GIAC Deputy Director Kerry Phillips said.

GIAC did not host a festival in 2018 and instead used the year to reevaluate and reimagine the festival.

According to Phillips, staff at GIAC researched and learned that there are more than 50 cultures and countries represented in Ithaca. With this information, GIAC began to develop the Festival of Nations through music, food and product vendors and performances to highlight Ithaca’s cultural diversity.

Phillips sees the Festival of Nations as an improved version of its predecessor. Since the festival is at Ithaca High School, GIAC has been able to accommodate more vendors and increase the number of participants in the event.

The festival has free admission and TCAT will be providing free bus transportation to and from the festival. Everything at the event is free except for certain activities and food vendors.

GIAC hopes the Festival of Nations will unite the community and allow it to engage with the city’s multitude of cultures.

“If you’re new to the community, it’s a great way to know what’s happening in your community,” Phillips said. “If you’ve lived here for a while, it’s a great way to engage with folks you haven’t seen in a while, come out with family and friends, and celebrate that idea of bonding as a family and as a community.

The entertainment stage schedule is as follows:

  • 11 a.m. – Chris Thomas and his Smoke Dancers
  • 11:30 a.m. – Chris Sinton – Bagpipes/Celtic Music
  • Noon – Cornell Lion Dance
  • 12:15 p.m. – Cornell Bhangra
  • 12:45 p.m. – Jorge T. Cuevas and The Caribe Jazz Allstars
  • 1:45 p.m. – Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble
  • 2:30 p.m. – Cornell Caribbean Students’ Association Dance Ensemble
  • 3 p.m. – Lady Shen, Sheneque Rowe, Winner of Ithaca’s Got Talent 2019
  • 3:45 p.m. – Tre, Djembe (Gym-Bay) Jedi
  • 4 p.m. – RAICES Peruvian Dance
  • 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Brownskin Band
  • All-day – DJ Split Image

The festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Ithaca High School, 1401 N. Cayuga St., Ithaca. The Gus Macker basketball tournament will take place Sept. 7 to 8. For more information, click here. Learn more about the Gus Macker tournament here.

Meghna Maharishi

Meghna Maharishi is a Fall 2019 intern for the Ithaca Voice and a sophomore at Cornell University majoring in Industrial and Labor Relations.