by Eva Potter
There’s no shortage of fantastic things to do in Ellicottville this time of year — eclectic shopping, restaurants to satisfy any foodie, thrill rides on the hill, live entertainment, holiday concerts and shows, Holiday Valley and HoliMont — two of the best ski resorts in the East, spirited fundraising events and more fill the calendar through the end of 2013.
Here are 11 merry reasons to make the trip to Ellicottville this holiday season. Pencil in some of these great events and activities on your calendars and come play with us soon!
1. Did you hear the uproarious cheer from your recliner? Yes, snowmaking has begun at Holiday Valley! The guns were turned on for the first time on Nov. 19, making white holidays’ trendiest color. This weekend and the coming week promise more of these gorgeous, manmade snowflakes. Holiday Valley’s target opening date is Nov. 29 — #winteriscoming! HoliMont, the largest private ski resort in the U.S., traditionally opens their slopes mid-December and they welcome the public on weekdays. So check them out, too!
2. Once you recover from the annual turkey food coma, set your sights on Christmas in Ellicottville, taking place in the village Nov. 29 – Dec. 1. This annual holiday weekend is loaded with festive happenings like a strolling Christmas caroling quartet, pancake breakfast with Santa, horse and wagon rides, interactive children’s activities, fire truck rides with Santa, a chance to meet a live reindeer and the special village Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 29, 4 – 6 p.m., in front of the 1887 Building. Then take in “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings,” a version of the popular “Forever Plaid” show with holiday musical favorites scheduled for Nov. 30 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
3. Be sure to stop at Katy’s Café on Washington Street Nov. 29 – Dec. 2 with your cash donation and receive a bag of Katy’s Cookies for Compassion. Katy Arena bakes her famous holiday cookies every year with proceeds to benefit the Rotary Club’s Family Support for Ellicottville fund to aid local families in need.
4. The Ellicottville Times 2014 Visitors’ Guide and Phone Directory hits the streets this weekend! Whether you’re looking for fun things to see and do, gifts and apparel, a comfy bed for the night, groovy entertainment, or great places to have lunch or dinner, the Ellicottville Times 2014 Visitors’ Guide and Phone Directory puts it all at your fingertips! It’s FREE wherever you find copies of the Ellicottville Times newspaper. So, on Nov. 30 — Small Business Saturday — use the directory to help you find the best holiday shopping.
5. For parade lovers, the annual Santa Clause Lane Parade, at 7 p.m. in Olean on Nov. 29, attracts more than 6,000 people each year. This year you can look forward to 30-plus entrants who roll from the Olean Center Mall heading south on Union Street. Santa will officially switch on the lights at the intersection of Routes 417 and 16. Be sure to drop off your child’s wish letter in Santa’s Mailbox in Lincoln Park.
6. Irish Christmas, on Dec. 6 at the Gin Mill, features cheerful music, an outrageous live auction for hotel and ski packages, handmade Irish gift items and the best pies you’ll ever taste — all to benefit Santa’s Workshop and Family Support for Ellicottville (a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation). This year, the nonprofit will confidentially help 100-plus recipients and their families around the holidays and beyond. For more information or to help, call (716) 699-8758 or (716) 997-9649.
7. Bring the kids to the Christmas Stroll and Living Nativity in the village, all day on Dec. 7. Celebrate the holiday spirit of Ellicottville with the arrival of Santa, Christmas Bazaar, organ music, cocoa and cookies in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen at Katy’s Café, wagon rides, nativity displays, caroling, and a meandering live camel! If your dog loves public attention, then bring him to the Reindog Parade at 4:30 p.m. on Washington Street where he can proudly strut his stuff. Stay for the Living Nativity at the Village Gazebo at 6 p.m. for an inspiring performance.
8. To teach your children how to give back, why not get involved in Project Christmas? This local goodwill effort was started in the early 1960s. Through the combined efforts of Ellicottville Central School employees and community members, it continues to provide an extra touch at Christmastime for many local families. Students in grades K-12 get involved by bringing in nonperishable food items and high school seniors help with delivery. For more information about the program, call (716) 699-2318 to speak with Ms. Watt.
9. Ellicottville’s annual Holiday Cantata on Dec. 15 promises to be spectacular with two performances of “Behold the Star,” the newly composed cantata by Lloyd Larson. The 3 p.m. performance will open with the St. Paul’s Dulcimer Choir at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and the 7 p.m. performance will begin with the Celtic group Versatility at the United Church of Ellicottville. A reception in the church hall will follow the evening performance.
10. Looking for some nontraditional entertainment? Check out the Holiday Valley Mountain Coaster and enjoy the slopes from a wavy new angle. Then come to the Holiday Valley New Year’s celebration and sign up for the Torchlight Parade down the slopes, a beautiful annual tradition.
11. Gastronomes will be in “Food Heaven” when they sample fine eateries and sip their way through Ellicottville (and always make sure you have a DD). Brewery tours and wine tastings are available at various establishments. Ellicottville never tasted so good!
This is only the tip of the entertainment iceberg. For more family entertainment and events, check out the Ellicottville Times 2014 Visitors’ Guide, loaded with amazing adventures and sightseeing ideas. The weekly Ellicottville Times Community Calendar on page 10 and Entertainment column on page 3 provide comprehensive lists of great things to do.
You’ll never be bored in Ellicottville!