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Octoberfest: Catch the Wave A Cornucopia of Family Fun

by Sue Whistler

Here it comes! Ellicottville is about to be engulfed by a human tsunami of fabulous, fun-loving  Fall Festival fanatics and everyone wants to catch that wave. It’s Fall Festival Weekend in Ellicottville and time to head on down to the spectacular ski hills of the Southern Tier and hang ten for the biggest bash of the year!

From Oct. 6–7, EVL’s historic business district will be cordoned off and transformed into a European-style, open-air market for the entire weekend with live music in the air, arts, crafts and carnival rides for the kids in the streets, fantastic fall food and drink on every corner, a ski swap, 5K run, mountain bike race, chairlift rides and a cookout on the hills.

Last year’s festival was practically perfect in every way, from the weather to the most wonderful and respectful group of visitors to ever grace our quiet little village.

According to Brian McFadden, executive director of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, “Coming off the best Fall Festival we have ever had (in 2011), we have planned no significant changes. We have added portable ATM machines, thanks to M & T Bank, some additional restroom facilities and tweaked our traffic control. We have also brought back the popular Ellicottville Idol talent show sponsored by the Shults Auto Group. But other than that, everyone can expect a wonderful weekend with the trees approaching their peak color.” In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening in town. 

Most events take place from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. both days. (Check out the Fall Festival schedule on page 14 inside.)

Western New York is home to a talented and diverse community of artists and craftsmen, so be sure to take a leisurely stroll down Washington and Jefferson streets from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. to view and purchase some of their unique creations at the Arts and Craft Show. Virtually every retail boutique in town will have a curbside tent in front of their shop, a veritable cornucopia of bargains and great deals along Monroe Street and at the Visitors’ Center.

The Carnival rides will run from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. both days. There will be games and all of your favorite rides, including the Ferris wheel. Kids of all ages will want to check out all the fun!

Ellicottville Idol returns for its second year, back by popular demand! McFadden, said, “In our effort to continue to showcase the Fall Festival as a family-friendly event, the Ellicottville Idol is a perfect addition. The competition showcases talented people from age 7–70 and is a great spectator event. Set up at the gazebo next to the food court, it’s a great resting spot for shoppers or a lunch getaway.” Registration is at 10 a.m. on Oct. 7 at the gazebo. The pre-qualification competition starts at 11 a.m. and the final competition begins at 3 p.m. at the gazebo. Applications and more information are available online at

If all this fun and excitement isn’t enough, there are two outdoor stages featuring some really hot rock n’ roll bands. Check out all the musical events in our exclusive Entertainment section on page 3.

Ellicottville Brewing Company has erected a stage out back where the music will be playing all weekend. Don’t miss Beatles Magic at 2 p.m. on Saturday, followed by Big Leg Emma and Hit and Run. Admission is free on Friday, with a $5 cover charge at the gate on Saturday and Sunday.

Holiday Valley Resort is offering a full weekend of fall activities for the entire family. Jane Eshbaugh, marketing director at Holiday Valley calls Fall Festival “such a fun time in the village and here at Holiday Valley. I love to watch families ride the chairlift together, and the food and live music at the top of the mountain just keep getting better every year. Because of the construction, the band at the base will be performing at the Cabana Bar, so don’t forget your dancin’ shoes!”

Here’s a quick rundown of each event at Holiday Valley:

Take a chairlift ride up the Mardi Gras ski lift to see the hills of Ellicottville at the peak of their autumnal splendor. The ride up is just $2, with proceeds donated to various local charities. The lift runs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting. When you reach the top, you’ll be greeted with great live music, hot dogs and sausages, cold beer, cider and a spectacular view of the valley resplendent in its full fall color at the Mountain Top Cookout.

The 5K Running Race starts at 10 a.m. on Oct. 6, with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the Clubhouse Chalet. The course starts down Holiday Valley Road to Route 219 south, loops around the Ellicottville school and back to Holiday Valley. A post-race party and awards ceremony will follow at the Mountain Sports Center. Lunch is included along with some great door prizes. You can pre-register on line or just show up on race day. T-shirts are guaranteed to the first 250 participants. The race will be held rain or shine. For registration forms and more information go to

The Mountain Bike Race starts at 10 a.m. on Oct. 7, with registration at 9 a.m. at the Holiday Valley Resort Mountain Sports Training Center. The 4-mile route goes up the work road to top of Holiday Valley. Then the singletrack begins across the top of the resort and down through the woods. The entrance fee is $20.  For more information, go to

The Mountain Shop Tent Sale, aka “Bargains Beyond Belief,” takes place on the Holiday Valley Resort plaza on the slope side of the Clubhouse Chalet. Sale hours are Friday 4 p.m.–8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

The Ski Swap at Holiday Valley benefits the race, freestyle and snowboard teams. Bring your old equipment or gently used clothing and helmets and exchange them for new or used items. The swap takes place on Oct. 5–7 at Creekside Lodge, on Friday 4–8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.–2 p.m. For more information on the swap, call Mike Nenno at (716) 378-1000.

Take to the trees at the Sky High Adventure Park and check out the nine aerial obstacle courses complete with swinging bridges, crosswalks and zip lines. If you prefer your excitement a little closer to the ground, you can zoom down the hill and through the trees on the Mountain Coaster. The Aerial Park and Mountain Coaster will be open from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. on Saturday-Monday. Reservations are required for the aerial park. For more information go to

This weekend is also a great time to head over to Pumpkinville, a 200-acre farm located just minutes from Ellicottville at 4844 Sugartown Rd. in Great Valley. Visitors can watch the entire cider making process in an authentic, old-fashioned cider mill. Enjoy one of autumn’s most delicious beverages while munching on fresh pumpkin doughnuts and ice cream. Then walk off your snack in the 6-acre corn maze, take a hayride or visit some of the many other attractions like the Cow Train, the Corn Cannon, Goat Mountain, and Storyland or the petting zoo. Pumpkinville is open daily through Oct. 31, from 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Admission is free with minimal fees for some of the special attractions. Go to or call (716) 699-2205 for more information.

So there you have it – the rest is up to you. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone going on all weekend, so grab you’re your boogie board and ride the wave into one of the biggest and best parties of the year!

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