Downtown Ithaca celebrating small local businesses with three special promotions to launch the holiday shopping season

Plaid Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cider Monday provide fun downtown holiday shopping experience

ITHACA NY NOVEMBER 19, 2019 — The holiday shopping season is upon us, and Downtown Ithaca will kick off this spirited time of year by presenting three fun themed shopping days where many of downtown’s locally owned and operated specialty shops and businesses will offer special deals, contests, activities, demonstrations, cider tastings, and more to their customers.

The themed shopping weekend will begin the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 29 with Plaid Friday, a celebration of downtown’s diverse and creative local and independent businesses and a reminder to shoppers to show support for downtown’s business owners who rely on their dollars to continue to provide their goods and services to the community. Holiday shoppers explore downtown Ithaca’s shops

In addition, Plaid Friday is a tamer and much more pleasurable alternative shopping experience when compared to the day’s national big-box shopping frenzy known as Black Friday where crowds of people stampede through the stores looking for deals on merchandise that are available in limited supply.

During Plaid Friday in downtown Ithaca, patrons may enjoy a peaceful and relaxing stroll through downtown’s shops and enjoy the added value of amenities such as complimentary gift wrapping or browse for specialty gifts, many of which are one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items created by highly skilled local artisans or brand name items. Be sure to check out Downtown Ithaca’s holiday guide, available in downtown’s shops, for gift ideas.

Shoppers can also show their support on Plaid Friday by wearing plaid while shopping at participating downtown businesses on November 29. Check our Facebook Event Page or for a list of participating stores.

Holiday Shopping in Downtown Ithaca



Downtown Ithaca will continue its celebration of local retailers on Nov. 30 as part of Small Business Saturday, a nationwide initiative that provides an opportunity for shoppers to demonstrate their support for locally owned and operated businesses. During Small Business Saturday, many downtown shops may offer special deals and distribute “Shop Small” canvas bags (while supplies last) to their customers.

To continue the holiday shopping spirit past the traditionally busy shopping weekend, downtown Ithaca will host Cider Monday, a refreshing alternative to Cyber Monday when shoppers will receive complimentary cider samples inside retail stores while they look for gifts at downtown shops on December 2. Plus, enjoy the Dewitt Mall’s annual tree lighting ceremony. Additional Cider Monday details, including cider tasting locations, are available at and the Downtown Ithaca Facebook Event Page.

These fun themed holiday shopping days are organized by the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) and Local First Ithaca.

“When money is spent at independent and locally owned businesses, the money stays here and strengthens the community’s economic base. Plus, patrons should support these specialty businesses because they contribute to the character of our community by offering exclusive shopping and dining options,” said DIA Executive Director Gary Ferguson.

To further encourage consumers to shop locally during these themed days, the DIA is conducting a selfie photo contest. When you shop at downtown’s stores between November 29 and December 2, snap a selfie and then post it on Facebook or Instagram using the tag @downtownithaca and hashtags #DowntownIthaca, #PlaidFridayIthaca, #ShopSmallIthaca, or #CiderMondayIthaca. You’ll be able to find a selfie station with the plaid background inside Buffalo Street Books at the historic Dewitt Mall. Following the contest, the DIA will present a $25 Downtown Ithaca Gift Card to four lucky selfie photo winners. Look for additional contest details and rules on Downtown Ithaca’s Events Page on Facebook.

Also, this holiday season, be sure to check out Downtown Ithaca’s upcoming family-fun Winter Light Festival presented by Tompkins Trust Company from December 5-15.

This new 10-day festival includes Gallery Night presented by Tompkins Trust Company, a Silent Disco, the 10th Annual Chowder Cook-Off presented by Maguire Jeep, Fiat Ram Chrysler and Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties Cookie Walk, Santa’s arrival, a lightsaber tournament, a glow bar, a glow parade and so much more.

As a friendly reminder to visitors, parking in downtown Ithaca is free on Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information about Downtown Ithaca’s holiday events and promotions, visit or the Downtown Ithaca Facebook Event Page.



Darlene M. Wilber,
Communications Manager
Downtown Ithaca Alliance
(607) 277-8679

Jan Rhodes Norman,
Co-Founder Local First Ithaca
(607) 592-4424

ABOUT PLAID FRIDAY: Plaid Friday was conceptualized in Oakland, CA, a city known for strong shop local campaigns. Plaid Friday strives to bring back the days when shopping for friends and family during the holidays was a pleasurable and leisurely activity. The name Plaid Friday was conceived from the idea of weaving the individual threads of small businesses together to create a strong fabric that celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses. Plaid Friday is the relaxing and enjoyable alternative to the big box store “Black Friday,” and is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays. More information is available at

ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: Founded by American Express seven years ago, Small Business Saturday has grown into a powerful movement with more people taking part every year. According to the 2018 SBS Consumer Insights Survey, total reported spending among U.S. consumers who said they shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on the day reached a record high of approximately $17.8 billion. The same survey reported that more than 70% of consumers are now aware of the Small Business Saturday initiative. More information is available at

ABOUT CIDER MONDAY: Cider Monday was conceived by independent bookseller Toadstool Bookshops and spread with the help of Monadnock Buy Local (an Independent Business Alliance serving southwest New Hampshire) which provides a roster of participating businesses here. Cider Monday proponents are encouraging residents to patronize their locally-owned retailers and organizing merchants to reward customers with complimentary cider (locally-grown apples a plus!).

ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN ITHACA ALLIANCE: The Downtown Ithaca Alliance a New York State-chartered 501c3 not-for-profit organization charged with the revitalization, development, promotion, and management of the Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District.

ABOUT LOCAL FIRST ITHACA: Local First Ithaca is a group made up of independent, locally owned businesses, concerned individuals, and community organizations. Together, they are striving to develop a Local Living Economy that will sustain a vibrant, livable community in the Ithaca area.