Bruce Stoff Marketing Communications Manager Ithaca/Tompkins Convention & Visitors Bureau (607) 272-1313 Bruce@visitithaca.com
Ithaca, N.Y. (Dec. 5, 2008)—Ithaca's annual Winter Recess, the nation's first and only festival for public school teachers, will open for Valentine's Day 2009 and bring an estimated 4,000 educators and family members into the Finger Lakes community. The weeklong event, Feb. 13-22, offers pre-K-12 teachers and their guests a discounted week of recreation, relaxation and entertainment in a community built on education. Launched in 2007 to thank educators for their contribution to the community, Winter Recess draws from an audience of 1.2 million Northeastern teachers who have Presidents Week school breaks. Attendance has doubled annually, drawing teachers to Ithaca from 10 states and as far away as France. “Winter Recess just keeps growing,” said Fred Bonn, director of the Ithaca Tompkins Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Teachers appreciate the recognition, the variety and the discounts. And we get a chance to show off everything that makes Ithaca such a wonderful place to live and visit. It's a fabulous event all around." Though the weak economy is curtailing travel nationwide, organizers expect minimal impact on attendance this year. "Winter Recess has always been about value, so we're well-positioned for this economy," Bonn said. "In fact, with people cutting back on more extravagant trips, Winter Recess might actually benefit. People still want a break in February, and this is a tremendously affordable option." Winter Recess takes all of Ithaca’s assets—its attractions, college events, theaters, spas, shops, restaurants, clubs and inns—and puts them on sale for visiting educators. The festival offers a packed calendar of family events, headline concerts, theater performances, winter recreation, winery tours and more. Most events are free or steeply discounted for visiting educators. Area lodges provide affordable accommodations with teacher rates starting at $59 per night for economy motels and $100 per night for luxury, four-star inns. In addition, restaurants and retail shops offer significant teacher discounts throughout the week. The discount programs are available to all public school teachers, district employees and their guests. Details are online at IthacaLovesTeachers.com. A half-day drive from most of the metro Northeast, Ithaca is a progressive community known for breathtaking gorge waterfalls, outstanding recreation and world-class thinking. Home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, the city’s rich culture, fine lodging and abundance of top-quality restaurants make it an ideal base for any Finger Lakes getaway. Travel and lodging information is available at VisitIthaca.com, or 800-284-8422.
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