Wizarding Weekend will be descending upon The Commons this weekend, transforming downtown Ithaca into a magical landscape for locals and visitors to explore. In addition to Wizarding Weekend, though, there are a number of festivals throughout the year, including the Apple Harvest Festival, Porchfest, Dog Fest and Chilifest.
It is unclear what it is about Ithaca that makes its residents so passionate about festivals. They are, of course, a great way to generate revenue for businesses downtown, but there is something unexplainable about the atmosphere surrounding festivals in Ithaca.
Perhaps it is because Ithaca is a city nestled into a vast expanse of relatively empty land, or perhaps it is because there are so many artists and academics living in the area. But festivals are a great opportunity for the community to come together and have a positive shared experience.
Festivals like Wizarding Weekend start with a single individual having a strange idea and pursuing it while having their community rally around them to turn their idea into a reality. This goes for Applefest, too. Apple orchards dominate the local agricultural landscape, and the festival originally started as a way for farmers to sell their goods to locals. But the passion and interest of locals with a love for apples and apple products transformed the festival into what it is today.
Students at the college are fortunate to live in a place that strives to provide members of the community with so many free, accessible festivals. The Commons is simply a Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit ride away, and by simply getting on the bus, they get to listen to free music, buy goods from vendors, interact with locals and ultimately support a community that they have become a part of.
Because of this, students should be encouraged to take advantage of these events. After all, Ithaca has been named as one of the best college towns in America for a reason — it has a quirky, charming culture that is impossible to describe. Attending local festivals is the best way to take full advantage of the unique atmosphere that Ithaca has to offer.
This weekend, students should feel free to don their robes, grab their wands and head down to The Commons to take part in yet another fun, funky part of local Ithaca culture.