By Jann Wiswall
Ellicottville’s annual Rock ‘N Roll Weekend and Car Show has been a hit with locals and out-of-towners alike for many years, and this year’s line-up of bands and cars promises to be the best one yet.
Sponsored and organized by the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, the dance-party weekend officially kicks off on Friday, Sept. 20 with Lil’ Ronnie and the Grand Dukes at Balloons Restaurant and Nightclub beginning at 7 p.m. and Live & Kickin’ at The Gin Mill at 9 p.m.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, the streets will be filled with the sounds of former Chubby Checker tour guitarist Davey Zee on Monroe Street at the main outdoor stage from 1-4 p.m. Zee’s classic-rock party band, Mid Life Crisis, features Zee as lead vocalist and guitarist, Tom Young on lead guitar, Dr. Jay Werder on bass and Jon White on drums. The band plays a little bit of everybody from the ‘50s, 6’0s and ‘70s — from the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tom Petty, Steve Miller and the Doors, to the Commodores, Johnny Cash, Collective Soul and even a little Elvis. Get those vocal chords ready to sing along, because chances are you’ll know the lyrics.
Then, keep your dancin’ shoes on for a night of more great bands at Ellicottville’s best watering holes.
The Washington, D.C.-area trio, The Andy Poxon Band, will start the evening off at Balloons at 7 p.m. At 8 p.m., the band West sets the tone at the Gin Mill and The Untouchables get the party started at Madigan’s. Then at 9 p.m., Smackdab plays at Ellicottville Brewing Company and The Heritage rocks the house at The Barn.
On Sunday, it’s all about the 15th annual Car Show, where more than 225 vintage, classic and modified vehicles of all shapes and sizes are lined up in class order for your ogling pleasure along the charming streets of Ellicottville.
Literally thousands of car lovers visit Ellicottville for this showcase of impeccably maintained vehicles brought to town by their proud owners, who hail from all over New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ontario and beyond. The show cars and trucks are judged on-site by experts who will be awarding prizes in seven classes — antique vehicles up to 1959, classic cars from 1960 and up, custom/modified vehicles of any vintage, sports cars of any vintage, rods of any vintage, trucks (stock and modified) from any year, and convertibles of any vintage. As always, there also will be an award for Best in Show.
“This is one of the only pre-registered car shows in Western New York,” said Chamber Executive Director Brian McFadden. “People from all over the region come for the event, but it also draws lots of local grandparents who want to show their grandchildren what they drove when they were young.”
The festive, family atmosphere is enhanced by the headline performance at the Village Gazebo on the Village Square at 2 p.m. This year’s entertainment is provided by Elvis impersonator Terry Buchwald, who has been named one of the top tribute artists in the United States by the Los Angeles Times. Audiences across the nation are “astonished by his dynamic voice and striking resemblance” to “The King.”
Buchwald, a Buffalo-area native, has sold more than 40,000 CDs and has opened for national acts such as Lee Greenwood, Diamond Rio, Montgomery Gentry, Rick Springfield, Jim Brickman, Sixpence None the Richer, Johnny Rivers, Grassroots and the Charlie Daniels Band, to name a few. In 2010, he was one of the first artists to be inducted into the Buffalo Music Awards Hall of Fame.
Buchwald has a huge following all across the country, and people are expected to arrive early to set up chairs on the village lawn for the best view. Because this is a free event, you might want to take a tip from them and arrive early, too! For more information, visit www.ellicottvilleny.com.