Events

Beyond the many attractions and experiences here in Watkins Glen and Schuyler County, you’ll also find plenty of unique events to enjoy year-round. From the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel's Ice Bar: Fire & Ice fundraising event early in the year, to the Finger Lakes Wine Festival in July; the Grand Prix Festival in September and Finger Lakes Beer Festival in late October: no matter your interests or season of your visit, you will find a festival or fun event where you can kick up your heels and have a great time!  Below are listed just a few of our large, annual events to keep on your radar.  View our calendar here for even more events!

EARLY WINTER

  • Holiday Lights - Schuyler Style-  The community is invited to take part in a newly created tradition this holiday season, as “Holiday Lights — Schuyler Style!” readies to illuminate the Watkins Glen area from Dec. 15, 2020 through Jan. 17, 2021. The event, which is sponsored by Visions Federal Credit Union, will serve as a festive and friendly contest as well as a source of holiday fun and joy. Participation is currently being encouraged among businesses, residences, farms, wineries, and organizations. “Holiday Lights — Schuyler Style” is presented by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and Watkins Glen Promotions. From silos and barns to grape arbors and house rooftops, neighbors are invited to decorate their houses, lawns, fields, and buildings. The public will be able to view the light and holiday displays as a drive-by in vehicles or a stroll-by on foot, using a detailed map, which can downloaded beginning the evening of Dec. 15. The map, as well as details and contest rules, will be online at ExploreWatkinsGlen.com.

  • Ice Bar: Fire & Ice-  Hosted at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel in early winter each year, this is a fabulous mid-winter event at which you'll enjoy over 20,000 pounds of ice, carved into bars, sculptures, martini luges, cornhole game, air hockey, and even a throne for selfies! With a winter wonderland on the patio, you can sip and sample to your heart's content while enjoying a live DJ, spinning great music for dancing. Local wineries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants, cafés, and other food producers are set up inside the ballroom, the perfect place to savor delicious local products while you warm up.

SPRING

  • Opening Weekend at The Glen- Typically scheduled for early April every year, this event provides fans with the opportunity to drive their own vehicle on the track to benefit the facility’s Racing and Community Enrichment (R.A.C.E.) Foundation. Individuals and car clubs are both welcome to participate in this unique opportunity to experience one of the most historic circuits in the world first-hand.

SUMMER

  • The Waterfront Festival- Held on the Saturday of Father's Day Weekend every year in Seneca Harbor Park in downtown Watkins Glen, this family-friendly, free event always impresses locals and tourists alike with vendors, live music, and much entertainment, largely from the cardboard boat races that take place all afternoon. The annual Cardboard Boat Regatta sets off in the harbor, where spectators laugh and applaud the bold and adventurous Captains and Crews as they bravely sail their cardboard crafts from launch to finish line.

  • Finger Lakes Wine Festival - Typically held towards the middle of July at Watkins Glen International, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival offers the largest showcase of New York State wines with over 80 wineries paired with regional artisans, music, and culinary classes. (cancelled in 2021)

  • Watkins Glen Italian American Festival- For decades this beloved festival has always taken place in the first half of August each year at scenic Clute Park. Celebrating the Italian-American heritage that is so rich in Watkins Glen with food tasting and sales, craft and gift marketplace, displays, entertainment, beverages, games of chance, amusement rides and concessions. Plus a fantastic fireworks display on Saturday night. The 2020 Festival will likely be a little more subdued, though still a ton of fun, as it is expected that construction of a new ice skating rink, and other infrastructure improvements throughout Clute Park will limit the size and duration of the festival. For more information please contact the Festival organizers directly here.

  • The Arc Grand Prix Run/Walk Event - This annual charity event, which benefits The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler, is hosted at the internationally acclaimed motor racing track Watkins Glen International. Participants have the option of taking on “The Track”, 3.4 mile course, which is the full distance of the WGI race track and includes “the boot”. Or, for participants who prefer a shorter distance, they may choose the 1-mile "Pit Road Walk" which still offers an up close and personal view of a portion of the full track and a view of Victory Lane. Learn more online at ArcOfCS.org/ArcGrandPrixRun.

  • Grand Prix Festival- In early September each year downtown Watkins Glen transforms into one massive event purely in celebration of our community's racing history! This street festival boasts vintage cars lining the streets, vendors throughout the event area, live music, and a re-enactment of the original race among many other events and experiences.

  • Falls Harvest Festival- Typically held on the first Saturday every October in Montour Falls, this family-friendly event celebrates the best of fall with pumpkin carving contests, face painting, local food and beverage producers, and more!

  • Finger Lakes Beer Festival- Usually hosted on the last Saturday in October at Watkins Glen International, this event features the best in New York State breweries, distilleries, and cideries, with added entertainment including live music, a cornhole tournament, stein-holding competition, and much more.

LATE WINTER

  • Deck the Halls Weekend on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail - Celebrate the arrival of the holiday season on either of two weekends for this remarkably popular event that has sold out for over 30 straight years! Typically the first Deck the Halls takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving, and the second version on the first weekend in December. Each winery offers a wine and food pairing, along with an ornament to decorate your custom grapevine wreath! (cancelled in 2021)

  • Village Christmas- Held in downtown Watkins Glen, generally on the second Saturday in December, residents and visitors alike together welcome the holiday season to the village with a parade, Santa's arrival, carolers, on-street vendors, and more.

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