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6:30 Saturday. Mardi Gras Parade. Be There.

By Jann Wiswall

The big event this weekend in the Village of Ellicottville is the annual Mardi Gras Parade, sponsored by the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce. Few towns outside of New Orleans put on such a fun and wacky parade to celebrate the Easter season.

Spectators wearing masks and tons of beads line the streets of the village to watch this annual parade, which is complete with funny, creative and themed floats, costumed groups and solo parade participants.

This year, a special float has been created that is dedicated to the memory of long-time Mardi Gras parade “King” Ken Brown, who in his inimitable way represented the spirit and warmth of Ellicottville for so many years.

The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9. Be sure to get there early to claim the best view, and then stick around to see who wins the Best Mardi Gras Theme, Most Creative Entry or the Funniest or Best Overall Float awards. Afterwards, make plans to enjoy a meal or a drink at some of Ellicottville’s popular meeting places, where you’ll find a great selection of live music and Mardi Gras specials.

It’s Winter Carnival Time!

March 9-10, 2013

There’s no place like Holiday Valley during the annual Winter Carnival, where tons of fun, family-friendly events are scheduled all weekend long throughout the resort.

First off, get the kids in the festive mood with a visit to the Tamarack Club Lobby both Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.–noon for some terrific face painting.  Then they’ll be ready for an afternoon of crazy events, starting at noon with the always popular snow pony races, where carousel-type ponies are attached to inner tubes and shoved down a slope to the finish line. Whoa!

Next, there’s also a cool scavenger and clan rocks hunt where kids can search for hidden candy and Seneca Clan rocks. Meet up at the bottom of Slippery Slopes at 12:30 p.m. for instructions.

Then, why not try some snow bowling at 1 p.m.?  It’s exactly what you think it is, except the balls and pins are inflatable! It’s something new from the makers of fun at Holiday Valley and will be located near the Snow Bar for extra enjoyment.

A little later, bring the kids to Creekside at 3:15 p.m. and let them try out the Balloon Race, where they’ll ski down a small course with a balloon between their knees and then pop the balloon at the finish line.

On Sunday, the always creative costume parade, starting at noon, is fun for the whole family, whether you’re dressing up or just watching. Prizes are awarded for the best costumes in the kids, adults, singles and groups categories. Trust us when we tell you that the prizes are worth the effort!

The Dummy Downhill race is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, and you won’t want to miss the zany fun. People spend months building their highly creative dummies that are mounted on snow-worthy sliding devices that are sent careening down the slope.  Please note: the rules say that dummies may not be living or breathing, so don’t try entering your annoying relative! Prizes go to the top three dummies as determined by audience applause.

Fabulous Eats

All this activity will make you hungry and, as always, Holiday Valley pulls out all the stops for your dining pleasure. The Safety Patrol is sponsoring a fabulous cookout both days at Yodeler with a great selection of menu items, and the always-popular Snow Bar, built of snow each year by Holiday Valley’s talented Mountain Crew, will keep your thirst at bay.  The Holiday Valley Ski Patrol is sponsoring a luscious Pancake Breakfast Sunday morning, and the Ellicottville Ski Club is hosting a wine and cheese party on the deck outside the Holiday Valley Lodge. Plus, on Saturday from 4-8 p.m., you can dine and dance to live music provided by Buffalo Music Awards-winning band 10 Delaware.

Good Works

Holiday Valley never misses a chance to do some good for the community during its event weekends, and Winter Carnival is no exception. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase all weekend to benefit Mercy Flight, western New York’s essential emergency air-medical transport service. And, the Ski Patrol is doing a food drive to benefit the Ellicottville Food Pantry. Tops Market in the village will have a drop box for canned goods on Friday, March 8 from 4:30-9 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. through the end of the Mardi Gras Parade. Don’t miss these opportunities to share your good fortune.

It’s Winter Carnival at HoliMont Too!

Fun is on the calendar this weekend at HoliMont, too! First, HoliMont will be hosting its annual Winter Carnival Torch Light parade on Friday night.  While participation in the parade is members only, the public is welcome to come to the Chalet for Dina’s on the Mont’s Friday Night Fish Fry and watch the parade come down Exhibition at 7:30 p.m. It’s a beautiful sight to see.

On Saturday, HoliMont members won’t want to miss the always-popular lunch at Carpenter’s Corner where hotdogs/sausages and drinks will be served on the slopes. There will be a kids’ costume parade, a ribbon race, a radar race and a root beer race out on the slopes during the day.  You’ll also be able to purchase Mardi Gras beads in the chalet throughout the day in preparation for the Mardi Gras Parade in the village Saturday evening.

For more information on festivities at Holiday Valley, visit www.holidayvalley.com. For information about the Chamber’s Mardi Gras parade, visit www.ellicottvilleny.com. And for information on activities at HoliMont, visit www.holimont.com

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