by Sue Whistler
There is a very special and unique summer festival coming to Ellicottville next weekend. The Americana Folk Art Festival will be held at the village gazebo on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25-26.
The Americana Folk Art Festival is the first of its kind to grace our little village and will feature the work of several local artists, live music and a quilt show on the lawn of St. John’s Episcopal Church right across Washington St. from the gazebo.
The fun starts both days at 10 a.m. and goes until about 4 p.m. with live music from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday features the band Weekly Notice with Fred Joseph and Rod Tucker. Sunday you can hear Wild Oats with Tory and Rob Bedard. The festival winds down with an auction at 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
The festival is organized by Ellicottville’s own Bob McCarthy, local artist and Ellicottville goodwill ambassador. McCarthy wants everyone to understand that there is no official organization or committee putting this festival together. He said it’s just a group of local artisans coming together to celebrate their craft and community.
There will be seven folk art cottages on site, each of which will house a different artist and their work. Three of the cottages were built by McCarthy, one by Chris Woodarek, and three by woodcarver Doug Stein, who will also be displaying his hand-carved creations at the festival.
Art festivals can sometimes make strange and wonderful cottage dwellers. You will find Ellicottville Times Editor Jennie Acklin weaving wool that has been spun by local horse whisperer Annie Widger in the Weaver’s Cottage. Huey Dunne will display pieces from his Art of the Forest collection. Huey creates his unique, handcrafted furniture from organic artifacts, which he scavenges from the local landscape.
Other featured artists include woodcrafter Emily Arena, water colorist Pat Kerl, birdhouse fabricator Lisa Hitchcock, as well as jewelry by Urania Shaklee, owner of the Purple Doorknob.
Perhaps the best part of the Americana Folk Art Festival is the active participation of some very talented and civic-minded local young people. Eight- and 12-year-old siblings, Elsa and Walter Woodarek, are among the featured artists. Elsa creates her own unique jewelry designs and her brother Walter is a coppersmith. Nine year-old twins, Hayley and Logan Fredrickson, have recruited several of their friends to help set up and run a lemonade stand. They will donate the proceeds to the Ellicottville Food Pantry.
For the auction, McCarthy has donated some of his own unique “found art” creations along with a piece or two from Huey Dunne’s Out of the Forest collection. All proceeds will benefit Ellicottville Public Charities, which was founded and is run by Sherman Wilkins.
McCarthy said he organized this festival because he “wants people to discover Ellicottville.” So many folks think of our village as primarily a quaint ski town. Those of us who call Ellicottville home know that our beautiful little hamlet has even more to offer during the spring and summer months.
In addition to two fabulous ski resorts, unique boutiques and great restaurants, Ellicottville is home to a vibrant and diverse group of artists, craftsmen and exceptional year-round residents who love and work hard to support this wonderful community. Those who visit only during the ski season are apt to miss that facet of this special place.