By Alicia Dziak
Cooler temps, shorter days and changing leaves can only mean one thing—it’s October in Ellicottville and endless fall fun awaits! Whether you prefer a leisurely autumn stroll to view the foliage, or something that’s sure to scare your socks off, there’s excitement around every dark corner!
If your idea of a perfect fall day is checking out the amazing colors, you’ve come to the right place. The Enchanted Mountains region is second to none when it comes to leaf peeping.
View the colors from above when you take a chairlift ride at Holiday Valley. Rides are on Saturdays and Sundays at Spruce Lake through Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $7 per person, under 2 is free. Ride the lift back down or enjoy a leisurely hike down the trail.
During Fall Fest weekend, ride the Mardi Gras chairlift ($6 per person, $20 for family of four) to the top of Mardi Gras and listen to the live bands, eat and drink and take in the spectacular fall colors.
Enjoy Fall Foliage weekends at Sprague’s Maple Farm. Weather permitting, they will be offering free wagon rides to the sugarhouse where hot mulled cider and fresh homemade maple cake donuts will warm you up. Sample the different products, hike along the trails, view the peaceful pond out front or just enjoy the smell of the leaves as you walk through all the maples! For more info, visit www.spraguesmaplefarms.com/fall-foliage.
Head to nearby Allegany State Park and enjoy miles of hiking and biking trails through the woods. Sit on the new Park Restaurant patio and enjoy the views over Red House Lake, or pack a picnic and set up shop overlooking Quaker Lake.
Fall Fest, Oct. 8-9 in Ellicottville, celebrates all the area has to offer and is a wonderful weekend of fun for the whole family! Listen to live music at the top of Mardi Gras, prep for the upcoming season at Holiday Valley’s Ski and Snowboard swap, or hang in the Village and celebrate with street vendors, arts and crafts, entertainment, sales and great fun. Visit www.ellicottvilleny.com or www.holidayvalley.com for all the deets.
Griffis Sculpture Park will once again host Night Lights through Oct. 9. During this time, the park will be transformed with creative lighting, resulting in a surreal experience. The event runs Wednesdays through Sundays. For hours and pricing, visit www.griffispark.org
Looking ahead to the ski season? Head to Holiday Valley’s job fairs at Tannenbaum Lodge on Saturday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m. to noon and Wednesday, Oct. 26., 6 to 8 p.m. Learn about jobs that are available for the 2016-17 winter season. Each department will be on hand to discuss the job’s duties. Job applicants will be able to see what a job entails and match their application to their interests. Winter jobs include lift attendants, snowmaking, grooming, lift and vehicle maintenance, parking attendants, ski and snowboard instruction for children and adults, rental and repair shop, cashiers, line cooks, kitchen staff, bartenders, chefs, servers, front desk lodging staff, central reservations, housekeeping, building maintenance, laundry, retail sales, mountain coaster staff and tubing staff.
Ready for some scary fun ? Check out Nightmare Hayrides on Sommerville Street, a 25-minute tractor-drawn hayride that will lead you down a creepy haunted path with live scary creatures. Visit the Gothic Chamber, head through a haunted wooden maze that will twist and turn over one acre of land, and end up in the haunted barn, which features a vortex tunnel. Nightmare Hayrides is located at 6319 Sommerville Valley Road, and open weekends only, Sept. 30 to Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more info, visit www.nightmarehayride.com.
Fun for the whole family can be yours at Pumpkinville. Peanuts fans will love that Pumpkinville has been named an official Peanuts Worldwide partner and one of the top 10 corn mazes in the United States. As an official partner, this year’s corn maze has a Peanuts theme, along with the WYRK-FM Country 106.5 logo, which sponsors the maze. All aboard the all-new Pumpkinville Express, the newest Pumpkinville attraction. Guests will also love the returning favorites—the Pumpkin Jumpin’ Pillows, Farm Pedal Carts, Country Hayride, Cow Train, Punchin’ Pumpkin Race, Singing Chicken Show, Farm Animals, Kiddie Spookum Barn and so much more. And don’t forget about the food! Famous pumpkin donuts, chicken BBQ, kettle corn, ice cream, fudge, pies, cider, apples and much more are all yours for the taking. Form more info, visit pumpkinville.com.
On Monday, Oct. 31, the Rotary Club of Ellicottville, Foundation for Youth and The American Legion will once again sponsor a community Halloween Party at the American Legion on Maples Road in Ellicottville. From 6 to 8 p.m., kids 12 and under will have the opportunity to trick or treat at this indoor location. Games, crafts, hay rides (weather permitting) and scary fun for the whole family; this party is free for children. Donation boxes will be at the entrance for The Rotary Foundation for Youth, and its many worthwhile causes. If you would like to donate candy/prizes or volunteer, please contact Colleen Blanchard at 699-8066.
Fall food means you’ll need plenty of opps to work it off.
The Annual Fall Festival 5K Run kicks off at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8. This fun, challenging course draws runners from several surrounding states. Hundreds of runners line Holiday Valley Road and proceed through and around the course only to return to the climbing finish with arms swinging and lungs pumping. A fun post-race party takes place at the Holiday Valley Mountain Sports Center just up the road. Light lunch, beverages and great door prizes round out this amazing weekend in a breathtaking fall backdrop. Visit www.heartrateup for more info.
The Fall Festival Mountain Bike Race takes place on Sunday, Oct. 9, starting at 10 a.m. Beginners to experts, there’s room for every cyclist, with various classes and age groups. Visit www.heartrateup for more info.
The EVL Half makes its return on Saturday, Oct. 29. Grab your friends, plan your costumes and get movin’ for this fun-filled half marathon and 5K race. Visit www.evlhalf for info.
October in Ellicottville means pumpkins, apples, festivals and the kind of fun you can only have this time of year. Get out and enjoy all the area has to offer!