October 26th - October 28th, 2023
When Thomas Edison reached out to Corning Flint Glass Works after getting patents for his incandescent lamp, he was looking to the small town glass factory to not just produce the special heat resistant glass, but needed it’s skilled glassblowers to create blown bulbs “free hand” or without using a mold. It was an arduous task, one that took gaffer James Lear and his crew all day to complete 165 bulbs that were satisfactory to Edison’s representative. But only after a mysterious shop boy blew the first bubble.
The Days of Incandescence is a special multi-day celebration each October inspired by the actual history and rather curious mystery behind Corning’s role in making the special glass bulbs for Thomas Edison’s incandescent lamp and, as a result, it’s role in helping spread light across the world. As part of this multi-day event, a special story was written and published called The Legend of the Gathers which explores that historic event and the role a mysterious young boy played in making it all come true.
The Days of Incandescence includes:
- Actor Guided Walking Tours
- Live Performances
- Archibald's Libations Crawl
- Cemetery Tour
- Jack-O-Lantern Carving Contest
- Celebration Events (vendors, food, juggler, beer garden, kids activities, Headless Horseman, and more)
- Thematic Special Offers and Experiences
See below for more details and to purchase tickets to select events.
• Live Music! During this year’s celebration, you’ll find specially themed farmer’s markets and live musical entertainment in Corning's Riverfront Park.
- Thursday 10/26 10am-3pm - During the Themed Farm Market
- Saturday 10/28 4pm-8pm - During the Days of Incandescence Celebration at Riverfront Park
• Guided Historic Tours Explore Corning at night with these popular tours led by costumed guides who reveal some of the Crystal City’s lesser known history. Learn about Corning’s fascinating history before it became known as America’s Crystal City and the events that helped shaped the company and the town’s future. Tickets will go on sale late September. Must register in advance, limited spots available.
10/26 Thursday 6pm & 8pm
• Jack-O-Lantern Lighting & Carving Contest Celebrate Corning’s unique history and join us in making Corning Glow during the Days of Incandescence Celebration Event. Carve your pumpkins at home. Bring your pre-carved pumpkins to Riverfront Park by 5pm. Light your pumpkins (LED lights only).
Contest Rules Coming Soon!
- Saturday, 10/28 5pm
Corning’s Riverfront Park
• Archibald's Libations Crawl is a ticketed 1880s costumed libations crawl that happens each year during the Days of Incandescence and includes a souvenir tasting glass with wine and craft beverage tastings and actor engagements.
There will be costumed actors throughout the tour as well as live music performers reflecting the 1880s. We encourage guests to dress in that time period but is not required.
Check in between 5pm-7pm to pick up your wristbands and tasting glass. *Designated Drivers are welcome to join free of charge and will not require a ticket or receive a wristband and glass
- Friday, 10/27 5pm-9pm
10 stops with amazing craft beverage producers and snacks!
• The Art of the Cemetery: Ghosts of Glassmaking
Join the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes on this special cemetery tour exploring the graves and history of local glassmakers and innovators with Richard Urban and the art of gravestones with Casey Winston. Following the tour, the group will return to the Heritage Village for a wine and cider tasting with Lakewood Vineyards where guests can feel free to explore the historic 1796 Benjamin Patterson Inn.
Thursday, 10/26 5:30pm-8:30pm
Departure: Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes
• Awaken the Spirits: Special Behind the Scenes Ghost Hunt
Saturday, 10/28 7pm-10pm
Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes
Led by experts from the Paranormal Society of the Twin Tiers (P.A.S.T.), you can use their equipment or bring your own for this special Halloween three-hour search for signs of spirits.
If you’re expecting something out of Poltergeist, Ghost Busters, or the Sixth Sense, this isn’t that sort of experience. “We don’t provoke the spirits,” says lead P.A.S.T. investigator Bill Vockroth. “You see that sometimes in movies or online, Ghost Hunters who set out to stir things up. But that’s not our intention.” So far the encounters at Heritage Village have all been positive.
The hunts are called “Awaken the Spirits” Ghost Hunts which seems especially apt as they have awakened not just the spirits that inhabit the historic museum (and it appears there are several including a mischievous six-year-old named Emily), but also those of the investigators who arrive with anticipation, a sense of wonder, and hope. Ordinary men, women, and children from various walks of life gathering with a common interest and sense of curiosity. With questions, perhaps. And an eagerness to see what they might detect. The Ghost Hunt is a ticketed event and requires pre-registration. Link coming.
Days of Incandescence Celebration.
Saturday, 10/28 4pm-8pm
Corning’s Riverfront Park and Centerway Square
- Horse and Wagon Rides (will run 4-8pm)
Rides depart from Centerway Square in Front of Old World Café
Saturday, 10/28 4pm-8pm
Corning’s Riverfront Park and Centerway Square
Come step back in time and celebrate 1880s style with live music, vendors, activities, walking tours, and more.
Come walk under the strings of Edison lights as you enjoy 19th century style live music and festivities to celebrate the light!
- Live Music
4:00pm-5:30pm - Details Coming Soon
6:00pm-7:30pm - Details Coming Soon
- Live Juggling
Nate the Great (Ithaca Circus Performer Juggling Sundry Items)
- Market Vendors
- Craft Beverage Libations
- Jack-o-Lantern Contest - 5:00pm
The community is invited to carve jack-o-lanterns at home, bring them to the park where they will be illuminated helping make Corning’s Riverfront Park GLOW and sharing the light. There will be judging and prizes, then folks can take their jack-o-lanterns home to have for Halloween. Download the contest rules HERE!
Check Back for Exciting Special Offers & Experiences during the 2023 Days of Incandescence
Come out to shop and dine during the Days of Incandescence 10/26 – 10/28 in Corning’s Gaffer District.
Keep watch for exclusive offers and locations to be listed below.
Crystal City Courier
Make sure to keep your eyes open to get your copy of the special Days of Incandescence 1880 Crystal City Courier Newspaper during this years events. Here's a sneak peak.
Thematic Farmer's Markets with Live Music
Thursday, October 26th 10am - 3pm
Join us for special Days of Incandescence Themed Farmer’s Markets in Corning, NY
Sometimes the things most worth celebrating in life are the ones no one else has ever heard of. Seemingly small moments that impact a few lives away from the attention of the rest of the world. Some of the best of those moments happen in small towns, like Corning, also known as America’s Crystal City.
Of course, sometimes those seemingly small moments impact the rest of the world and become a really big deal that everyone has heard of to some degree.
They just haven’t heard the entire story. And that’s where things get interesting.
The Legend of the Gathers Story Book
Purchase the story book here.
Want to experience creating your own glass?
Take a class or a workshop, learn a new skill from a master craftsman, tap into your inner artist, and make unforgettable memories. Throw clay, shape molten glass, work with stained glass. There are so many ways to discover the magic of creating something with your own hands. Go ahead, surprise yourself!