By Eva Potter
The lawn can wait. Pack up and head to Ellicottville for action-packed excitement this July. If you haven’t taken in a live concert on the slopes, seen a professional rodeo or listened to some amazing jazz lately, here is your chance.
The Summer Music Festival hits the slopes of Holiday Valley July 3–5 with three days of multi-genre entertainment. The weekend kicks off July 3 with the Mountaintop Party at Holiday Valley. On July 4, grab a picnic and come listen to an out-of-this-world performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra featuring “Star Wars” tunes and a synchronized fireworks grand finale set to patriotic tunes. On July 5, listen to Grammy Award-winning Blood, Sweat and Tears, along with show-opener Caitlin Koch. The venue is wheelchair accessible and parking is free. Get tickets at www.ellicottvilleny.com. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
For a real treat while you’re in town, take the whole family to the annual Ellicottville Championship Rodeo, July 2-5, when hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls come to perform in nine exciting rodeo events. There’s even a Stick Horse Rodeo for kids and silly clowns that will make everyone chuckle. For details, visit www.ellicottvillerodeo.com.
Live music is a staple in Ellicottville and July kicks off the free Ellicottville Gazebo Music Series at 1 p.m. at the Village Gazebo. Then, every Thursday evening from July 9 –Aug. 6, you can enjoy an eclectic mix of live performances, including music from the ‘50s and ‘60s, men’s a cappella, a kids’ show, nuevo flamenco, pop fusion, jazz, classical and vocals. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. Bring a blanket and chair, and enjoy the show. For a list of performers, visit www.ellicottvilleny.com.
During the Americana Folk Art & Music Fair, July 18–19, the Village Square fills with live music, a variety of talented, regional artists producing and selling artwork and a cool folk art auction. Local artist Huey Dunne will display and sell his magnificent one-of-a-kind tables. If you’d like to participate as an artist or musician, call (716) 378- 0916.
There’s nothing like some snazzy jazz and soulful blues on a warm summer weekend. On July 24–26, catch your favorite regional jazz and blues acts on the street stage, outdoor patios and inside nightclubs during Ellicottville’s annual Jazz and Blues Weekend. Who knows, you may even get the thrill of an “Elvis” sighting. A detailed schedule of performances and locations will be posted at www.ellicottvilleny.com.
How about a little history lesson? Did you know that the Louisville Slugger bat was manufactured exclusively in Ellicottville for many years? You’ll find all sorts of interesting stories and artifacts from days done by at the Ellicottville Historical Society Museum, open Saturdays and Sundays 1–4 p.m. through September. You can view displays on the history of skiing in the region, learn how business has evolved in the area and view original pieces of history, like a wedding dress, tea set and so much more.
Adventure-minded visitors will be happy to know that outdoor pursuits rule in Ellicottville. You can enjoy mountain biking and hiking on well-maintained trails at Holiday Valley, HoliMont and adjacent state park lands all summer long. For maps and information, visit www.wnymba.org.
Swimming at Holiday Valley is available all summer at the three-pool complex, offering a toddler pool with mini waterfalls, lap pool and activity pool with slide and diving board. Open daily through Labor Day.
For golfers looking for a fun challenge paired with gorgeous scenery, the Double Black Diamond Golf Course at Holiday Valley offers an 18-hole, par-70 course. Take a lesson, join a clinic or practice hitting a few at the 300-yard driving range.
Holiday Valley’s Sky High Adventure Park offers three physically challenging features. The Aerial Park has 13 courses with many ability levels. The Climbing Forest, a 3-D version of a climbing wall, uses color-coded handholds to guide climbers to heights of up to 45 feet. Take the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster on a 4,805-foot, heart-pumping thrill ride through the trees. Get the scoop about all these activities at www.holidayvalley.com.
When all else fails, there’s always shopping. Take some time to browse the eclectic collection of shops in Ellicottville, generously stocked with gorgeous local fine art, chic clothing, interesting gifts, unique jewelry, high-tech sports gear, gourmet foods, locally produced wine and beer and artisan cheeses.