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!
- 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.
- 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.
- ARC Grand Prix Run- This fundraiser in its fifth year is hosted at Watkins Glen International race track in early April, typically coinciding with the Track's Opening Weekend. This 3.4-mile footrace on the internationally acclaimed motor racing track also includes a 1-mile "Pit Road Walk" for those who would prefer to walk a shorter distance.
- The Waterfront Festival - Typically held in mid-June every year in Seneca Harbor Park in downtown Watkins Glen, this family-friendly, free event always incorporates the Friday Night Lights light display in the Harbor on Friday night, complete with a food court, live music, and local vendors. On Saturday 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.
- Finger Lakes Cheese Festival - Sunset View Creamery in Odessa brings together the best in Finger Lakes-produced cheeses from members of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance as well homemade jams, jellies, baked goods, peanut butters, vegetables, art, and more. Traditionally scheduled for the last weekend in July each summer, this festival also features wine, beer, and cider tastings, pairings, and cooking demos. Live music is played all day, with literally tons of local food sold at the many vendor booths, assuring attendees there will always be a tasty treat appealing to every palate. Between the authentic, rural ambiance of the hosting farm itself, self-guided tours, hay rides, birds of prey demonstration by Tanglewood Nature Center, a dairy cow birthing center, and games for the kids and you have a fun, family event!
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.