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Ellicottville Makes the Holidays So Special

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Small Business Saturday is November 29

By Jann Wiswall

There’s nothing like Ellicottville during the holidays. Throughout the season, the village comes to life with all the trimmings. And thanks to Mother Nature’s recent input, you’ll be enjoying them with a whole lotta that white stuff to make it perfectly complete.

The season’s official kickoff occurs on Friday, Nov. 28 with Christmas in Ellicottville. Be sure to head to the village to sing along with strolling carolers performing all of your favorite holiday tunes, while the smell of hot chocolate and the decorated windows in this 19th century village bring back thoughts of Christmas past. At dark, the village comes to life when thousands of white lights and the three-story tall village Christmas tree are lit.

Throughout the weekend, activities include more Christmas carolers, a live reindeer, breakfast with Santa, horse and wagon rides, interactive children’s activities, as well as fire truck rides with Santa. Visit www.ellicottvilleny.com for a schedule of events.

And don’t forget — Saturday, Nov. 29 is Small Business Saturday. Show your support for independent business owners across the county by choosing to do your holiday shopping away from the malls and big-box stores. There’s simply no place better than Ellicottville to find that perfect, unique gift for someone special on your shopping list!

Next weekend, on Friday, Dec. 5, Ellicottville’s favorite Irishman, Bob McCarthy, will host the annual Irish Christmas party at the Gin Mill. This annual event benefits Santa’s Workshop and Family Support for Ellicottville, a Rotary Club of Ellicottville affiliate and non-profit organization that helps 100-plus needy families around the holidays and throughout the year. The uniquely spirited live auction features hotel and ski packages, handmade Irish gift items and some of the best pies you’ve ever tasted that come in McCarthy’s handmade wooden pie boxes — items you’ll want to keep and admire for years to come. For more information or to volunteer, call (716) 699-8758 or (716) 997-9649.

Then on Saturday, Dec. 6, be sure to attend one of the most charming Ellicottville events of the year — the old-fashioned Christmas Stroll with Living Nativity. Dozens of holiday events take place all afternoon, including the always exciting “reindog parade” and capped off by the arrival of Santa. The Living Nativity will amaze, as live camels and talented performers take their places at the Village Gazebo.

The following Saturday, Dec. 13, Ellicottville really gets into the swing of the season with HoliMont’s planned opening day (conditions permitting). Welcome back, HoliMonters!

Also that day, Red Bull is sponsoring Holiday Valley’s 13th Annual Rail Jam. Amateur and open skiers and boarders are invited to compete for just $5 (conditions permitting). Skier jam sessions begin at 10 a.m. Boarder’s sessions start at 11:30 a.m. The top five competitors from each session move on to finals beginning at 1 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Visit www.holidayvalley.com.

Then on Dec. 20, Holiday Valley hosts its annual Demo Day. Manufacturers of skis, snowboards and other gear are on hand to showcase their newest equipment. If you want to take something for a test run, don’t forget your lift ticket. It all takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the base of Mardi Gras.

Finally, make plans to say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015 on Dec. 31 at Holiday Valley’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. Celebrate with friends and family on the first floor off the main lodge. Then at 11 p.m., be sure to gather at the bottom of Cindy’s to watch the one-of-a-kind Groomers/Snowcat Parade, the stunning Torchlight Parade and the grand fireworks show ending at midnight (weather permitting). Skiers/boarders of intermediate or better ability may participate in the Torchlight Parade. Visit www.holidayvalley.com for details.

Of course, Ellicottville’s many bars and restaurants all have their own New Year’s celebrations planned. Planning your own celebration? No problem. Ellicottville’s grocery, specialty foods, caterers and liquor/wine/beer stores have you covered.

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