America’s Crystal City Celebrates its Heritage with GlassFest 2011

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GlassFest is a four-day celebration of glass and the fire arts in Corning, NY, at town known for its glass heritage and artistry. The event features live hot glass shows, artist demonstrations, neon sculpture, historical tours and shopping promotions.

GlassFest features free live glassblowing demos all weekend long.

GlassFest features free live glassblowing demos all weekend long.

Corning, NY, is a town obsessed by glass. Since the late 1800s, glass has been a primary industry of this small Upstate New York city. Many important innovations in glassmaking have been developed here, including the glass covering for the light bulb, Pyrex cookware, and optical fiber. At the turn of the century, Corning was a center for beautiful cut crystal glass and, for many years, it was the center of production for world-famous Steuben Glass—earning the town its nickname as America’s Crystal City.

Today, the picturesque Finger Lakes city is home to one of New York State’s most popular upstate attractions, The Corning Museum of Glass. The headquarters of Corning Incorporated are centered here, and the city’s downtown historic Gaffer District(so-named after the traditional term for glassmaker) features numerous small glass studios and shops.

This year, the town celebrates its glass heritage with its 2nd Annual GlassFest, held May 26–29, 2011. The festival features a variety of glass-oriented activities, including:

•Live glassmaking demonstrations

•An evening of neon art, music and wine tastings (from local Finger Lakes wineries) in the park

•Fire arts and craft vendors and demonstrations, featuring a vast selection of work from regional glass, ceramics, jewelry and metal artists

•Glass-focused lectures and talks, and self-guided historic walking tours of the town

•Flameworking competition, judged by renowned flameworking artist Paul Stankard

•Live music and family-friendly entertainment

•GlassFest 8K race

•Special hands-on glassmaking workshops and special activities at The Corning Museum of Glass and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art all weekend

•Many opportunities to purchase one-of-a-kind works of glass art

Admission to most events is free; there is some cost for wine tastings. Weekend packages are available at area hotels.

Corning, NY, is located in the heart of Finger Lakes Wine Country, and is surrounded by regional wineries and restaurants, beautiful lakes and gorges, and area attractions such as Watkins Glen International Raceway.

For more information about GlassFest 2011, visit http://www.glassfest.org.

The annual GlassFest is a four-day celebration of glass and the fire arts in the Crystal City, featuring live hot glass shows, artist demonstrations, neon sculpture, historical tours and shopping promotions. The festival kicks off on Thursday, May 26, at a special evening event at The Corning Museum of Glass and continues through the weekend with outdoor hot glass shows and glass artist demos throughout the downtown and a variety of activities and fun for the whole family.

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Mike Melaro

Dara Riegel
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