Despite the sketchy forecast and occasional thunderstorm, the 2008 Ithaca Festival can be labeled a success. With three main locations, seven stages, food, crafts, and so much to celebrate in this cultural town in upstate New York, it's unlikely you'll talk to someone who didn't enjoy iFest '08.
In my personal experience as a first-time attendee, I saw one of the most unique parades I think I'll ever witness. I can't explain it - you can either take my word or visit next year. I also saw Orleans for the first time, although perhaps they weren't the same without lead singer John Hall, who is now a New York State Congressman. Additionally, the festival highlighted one of the greatest features of this "centrally isolated" small town: that everyone can contribute to Ithaca's culture.
They had buckets of paint and large wooden canvases for anyone who felt an artistic urge; the pieces will be combined to form a community mural in the city's Commons. There was an attempt at the Guinness Book of World Records to make the world's largest human peace sign. There were jam sessions, some organized and some spontaneous, where anyone with an original thought could chime in. Event brochures highlighted the area's nightlife, where visitors could experience poets and musicians amidst the food and drinks that were also pretty unique. All in all, it was a true community effort at a genuinely cultural experience.
If you went, check out the event website to share your stories - they're offering prizes for some of the best. If not, visit the site anyways and mark your calendar for next year's festival. If there's an artistic bone in your body, you won't regret it!