By Deb Everts
As autumn turns the hills into a palette of brilliant colors, Ellicottville will host its 44th annual Fall Festival this weekend, Oct. 12 and 13.
Tens of thousands of festival-goers will flock to the village of Ellicottville and the Holiday Valley and HoliMont ski resorts for a lively weekend of family fun.
Presented by the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, this free event attracts families from hundreds of miles away in both the United States and Canada.
Each year since 1975, Ellicottville’s oldest and largest festival has gotten bigger and better with vendors featuring tasty foods, fine art, an arts and crafts show, curb market, carnival rides for kids, live entertainment and more along Washington, Jefferson and Monroe streets.
Barb Pump, project development manager for the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber has again this year continued to increase the emphasis on the quality of both the participating arts and crafts vendors, along with the food vendors, while decreasing the overall numbers.
Brian McFadden, executive director of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, said that the Fall Festival is a huge economic engine for the village, generating more than $10 million in revenue and provides a major trickle-down effect for all levels of employees and local not-for-profits who receive well over $70,000 from various donations and festival events they manage.
“The festival continues to grow in popularity and provides an opportunity to showcase the area and its attractions converting many to repeat visitors and second homeowners,” he said. “We are continually striving to provide a better-quality experience that will attract a demographic that truly wants to enjoy all the area has to offer.”
McFadden said the chamber has received valuable feedback from its members and residents, both full time and seasonal, and they are confident that this year’s festival will be the best to date, and will provide an excellent blueprint for future festivals.
AT HOLIDAY VALLEY, people will have the opportunity to ride the chairlift to the top of Mardi Gras from noon to 4 p.m. on both days where they can view the spectacular fall foliage, enjoy the Mountain Top Cookout, and listen to live music. The “Tommy Z” band will entertain Saturday, and the “Black and Blues” band Sunday.
Ride the Spruce Lake chairlift to the top to see the “Birds of Prey” show presented by Jonathan Clarkson, at 2 p.m., both Saturday and Sunday. Learn fascinating facts about the history of falconry; get up close with hawks, falcons, owls and other birds of prey; and watch a demonstration of how the birds are trained using a lure.
All chairlift tickets are $10 for age 7 and up. Children age 6 and under are free. Classic Season pass-holders may present their season pass at the bottom of the lift for a free ride. Presale lift tickets will be sold online at holidayvalley.com allowing the rider to go to the express line.
The Cabana Bar will feature live music by the “Strangers” Saturday and “Mid-Life Crisis” Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m. both days.
For the adventurous, the weekend will also feature a 5K Run Saturday at 9:30 a.m. from the Main Lodge, and a Mountain Bike Race Sunday at 10 a.m. from the HV Training Center, with registration for both events at 8:30 a.m. Information and registration is available online at heartrateup.com. Sky High Adventure Park will be open all weekend and Monday.
A Ski Swap to benefit the Holiday Valley freestyle and race ski teams will take place Friday through Sunday at the Main Lodge, as well as a sale at the Mountain Shop and High Performance Shop.
OVER AT HOLIMONT, visitors can ride the Exhibition chairlift from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday only, which will give them a different view of the stunning fall colors. HoliMont will also have a tent downtown, Saturday and Sunday, with information and chances to win free lift tickets.
HoliMont members will be treated to a Board of Directors BBQ, Mountain Bike Demos, and an evening screening of one of this year’s ski movies from Matchstick Productions.
Shuttle service is available from the Village to the Inn at Holiday Valley and Resort Services Friday, 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. The fee is $3 per ride. Taxi service is available by calling (716) 375-TAXI. Lyft and Uber are also available.
The staff of the Chamber of Commerce wishes to thank all involved in making sure this festival is ready for everyone to come and enjoy.
A list of scheduled activities, festival parking map, and shuttle service information is posted online at ellicottvilleny.com. For more information, call 1 (800) 349-9099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.