For one time only, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) presents A Weekend of the Stars, which will run from Sept. 21 - 22. This special series of events will be comprised of several events culminating in a final event featuring numerous speakers talking about how they struggled through their difficult aspects and challenges in their lives.
The list of speakers includes retired NBA Players Larry Jones and Granville Waiters, professional boxer James “Buster” Douglas, former gymnast Angela Mitchel-Koster, pastor and author Dr. Johannes Christian, author and screenwriter Joseph Ponder, and Ithaca-based author and screenwriter Trazz Sawyer. One of the common themes that all these people share is that of overcoming serious obstacles to achieve the heights of success.
Gary Ferguson, executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, worked with Sawyer to bring these speakers to Ithaca. Sawyer has worked with Joseph Ponder on and the children’s book “Eight Ounces of Water for Eight Hours of Magic.” Ponder worked with several of the speakers on the film adaptation of his novel, “The Crossover That Won the Game,” which he co-wrote with his brother, Jamell.
This weekend is designed to be an inspirational and motivational set of events for young people and community members. Some of the events throughout the weekend are a showing of the film “The Crossover That Won the Game,” based on the novel of the same name by Jamell and Joseph Ponder, at Cinemapolis on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Cinemapolis box office. Ferguson spoke about some of the other public events that will be going on throughout the weekend.
“On Saturday, there’s two other occasions for the public to get a chance to interact,” Ferguson said. “One will be a free opportunity on The Commons. The team will be there doing some brief comments and then there will also be some music as well. We’ve got Trazz, who’s also part of a band, and they’re doing some musical numbers as well. It’s about an hour long event on the Commons, from 1 - 2 p.m. on the Commons. The main event is Saturday at 3 p.m. at Ithaca High School. It’s a series of TED talks or master talks by each of the seven team members. Each one will be talking about ten to fifteen minutes about their life stories, interspersed with that will be some entertainment provided by folks from GIAC, one of the sponsors of this.”
The final event, “See Your Potential & Believe to Achieve” talks, will be held at Kulp Auditorium with tickets available at the State Theatre box office or online via the State Theatre’s online box office for $10. Along with these public events, the group will be at a few ticketed events. The first is a meet and greet reception at the Tompkins County Public Library for youth across the community on Sept. 20.
Tickets are being distributed from the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) and Southside Community Center. GIAC will be hosting a community lunch, meet and greet at noon on Saturday Sept. 21. Members of the public are more than welcome to attend. On Saturday morning, the team will be heading to Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) to meet and speak to students. More information about this event can be found on the DIA’s website.