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people strolling downtown Ithaca Commons

16th Annual Winter Recess Teacher Festival

The Ithaca community comes together every February to celebrate educators with entertainment, activities, family fun and discounts throughout Tompkins County. It's our way of saying thanks to educators everywhere for all of your hard work and dedication!
Registration for 2021 will open in early February.


ithaca loves teacers

The annual Ithaca Loves Teachers celebration has been extended for 2021, February 12th through February 28th.

Register will begin in early February for special deals on dining, lodging, and shopping, with your "VIT" (Very Important Teacher) pass and for Teacher's Pets (family and guests).


Who's Invited?
Ithaca Loves Teachers is open to all with discounted lodging, dining and activities available to public school teachers, school district employees, teachers union retirees and their guests.

Registration is free. District ID, or equivalent, is required. Proper ID includes:
. Your school ID badge
. Proof of teachers union membership or proof of teachers union retiree status
. A letter from your principal or school board on official stationery

Where Do I Check In?
All local and visiting teachers can check in at the Ithaca Visitor Centers at East Shore Drive and Downtown in the Tompkins Center for History & Culture, more details to come.

What Happens After I Check In?
Registered teachers will receive a welcome package that includes a Very Important Teacher badge and access to a digital pass with coupons and special offers.

What is a VIT Pass?
As part of your welcome package, you'll receive a free VIT (Very Important Teacher) Pass. It's your key to the county and beyond, unlocking community-wide discounts on just about everything: dining, shopping, entertainment-the works. Look for the Ithaca Loves Teachers posters in participating merchant windows.

In addition, your traveling companions (family, significant other, etc.) will receive a "Teachers Pet Pass," good for additional deals around town. Participating businesses will display the Ithaca Loves Teachers logo on premises and will be listed in the Lodging Deals.

How do I redeem my discounts? 

NEW this year! We've made it easier for you! Instead of using a printed program, we will be offering a digital savings pass accessible on any mobile devise. You no longer have to keep track of all of those coupons as the deals will all be viewable and redeemable from your digital pass. You will need to show your digital passbook and VIT badge with you at all times to be eligible to receive discounts.

Where does Winter Recess Take Place?
As a community-wide event, Ithaca Loves Teachers takes advantage of multiple venues throughout Ithaca, with additional recreational offerings throughout the surrounding Finger Lakes region.

What if I'm a Private School Educator or Homeschool Teacher?
We welcome you. While Winter Recess formally celebrates the unique contribution of public school educators, the Ithaca community supports the work of all certified classroom educators and school employees. To qualify for Ithaca Loves Teachers discounts, private school educators must present proof of employment at check in. All other Ithaca Loves Teachers guidelines apply.

Thank you, teachers!

Examples of past special offers and deals:

  • CTLE Credit Classes at Ithaca College: Virtual Reality in the Classroom Workshop
  • South Hill Cider – Free cider tasting
  • Northstar House – BOGO appetizers
  • The Bloomwell – 15% off health/beauty purchase
  • Mama Said Hand Pies (Press Bay Alley)– 15% off any purchase
  • One Ring Donuts (Press Bay Alley)– 20% off order
  • Sweet Melissa’s (Press Bay Alley)– BOGO ice cream or baked goods
  • The Strand at the Canopy by Hilton Ithaca Downtown – Free drink with purchase, or 20% off bill
  • Bring-a-Friend Days at Hair Color Art (Press Bay Alley)- Buy one service, receive a second 50% off


Ithaca Loves Teachers Sweepstakes. OPEN to any teachers or school staff! ENTER TO WIN an overnight getaway to the Ithaca area. 

We've partnered with EscapeMaker to giveaway a free two-night getaway redeemable anytime through the end of 2021. Enter to win through Escaspemaker, sweepstakes open through Feb. 28, 2021:

Ithaca loves teachers badge and food deal


Request a Brochure
2020 Visit Ithaca Travel Guide
Download our brochure or request a hard copy by mail.
Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau
A division of the Tompkins Chamber
904 East Shore Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 272-1313 | Toll Free: (800)-28-ITHACA
The official web site of Ithaca, New York and Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau in the Finger Lakes. Complete guide to Ithaca, NY hotels, attractions, dining, shopping and recreation with maps and driving directions.
I Love NY is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.