ITHACA, N.Y.—The first weekend of June on the Ithaca Commons could feature a sight not seen since June 2019: lots of people wearing buttons.

The Ithaca Festival has announced its intention to return this year, taking place June 2-5, 2022, after canceling in 2020 and 2021 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At least for now, the number of cases active in Tompkins County has dropped to a low enough figure that the festival ostensibly feels confident in advancing.

A concert at the Bernie Milton Pavilion and the traditional parade through downtown will accompany the festival’s return on June 2.

“Ithaca Festival is excited to return and does hope we will be able to count on our regional businesses and organizations for their continued financial support,” said Executive Director Selena Hodom. “Production fees and safety fees are at an all-time high. Without the support of our community, the Ithaca Festival will not be able to ensure a healthy future. We will need everyone in the community to come ‘Together Again’ to preserve this treasured community event for many years to come. We are dedicated to keeping a free and open event to the public, donations, sponsorships and partnerships are really the only way we can accomplish this.”

This year’s theme will be “Together Again,” and the festival has kicked off its return by asking for an artist who can “best create a visual interpretation of our theme.” One winner will be selected and will win a $500 grand prize, plus have their work prominently featured during the festival. There will also be a youth competition for artists under 18, who can win $100 and have their work on certain merchandise. Applications can be found here.

The announcement did not address what precautions would be in place against COVID-19 or over-density, though it can be assumed that any event of such size and magnitude will follow whatever guidelines are in place by June—the Tompkins County Health Department currently has a mask advisory in place for indoor locations, but outdoor events are largely unencumbered now, especially considering the generally accepted knowledge that COVID-19 is quite difficult to spread in outdoor settings.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com