ELLICOTTVILLE — Make Ellicottville a holiday season destination this year by attending several special events downtown in the village or at Holiday Valley and HoliMont ski areas.
People come from all over to kick off the season beginning with the Christmas in Ellicottville event that will be held this Friday through Sunday. Since its inception in 2006, the event has been all about kids and those who are kids at heart.
Enjoy the activities, the lights, the window decorations and good Christmas cheer in the village. The event offers a free, three-day weekend of family-friendly activities including the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree Friday night, horse-drawn wagon rides through the village, strolling carolers, fire truck rides with Santa, meeting a real live reindeer and even cookie decorating.
Jessica Wallace, business development manager at the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, said the event kicks off Black Friday and most activities are free.
“We have the annual village lighting ceremony where we turn on all the lights,” she said. “Then, there’s a huge presentation when we light our ski tree on the post office lawn.”
Come back to the village Dec. 4 for “A Christmas Stroll” to celebrate the holiday season with a living nativity scene complete with shepherds, angels, live sheep, a donkey and even a camel. The event takes place at the village gazebo where children dressed as angels and shepherds met to honor Baby Jesus as carolers sing.
Wallace said there are no plans for a New Year’s Eve event at this time.
“Unfortunately, these events were not held last year due to the pandemic. We’ve had a lot of people inquire about this year’s status of events and we definitely wanted to have these events back this year,” she said. “Fortunately, we’ve been able to make this year’s events cohesive to the New York State guidelines. We feel it’s a step in the right direction, and I think a lot of people appreciate that.”
Wallace said Ellicottville was thrilled to have the border open allowing vaccinated Canadians to come back. She said it was wonderful to see the community’s effort in welcoming them.
For updated information on holiday events, visit the chamber’s website at ellicottvilleny.com.
Holiday Valley begins the season with a targeted opening day of Nov. 26. Marketing Director Jane Eshbaugh said it all depends on the weather. It has to be cold enough to make snow and the ground has to be cold enough to keep the snow on the ground.
Eshbaugh said they plan to start the ski season out with a champagne celebration when their new state-of-the-art, high-speed quad chairlift opens at Yodeler slope. She said that’ll be their first event of the season, but they haven’t set a date yet.
Several events are planned during the holidays including the annual Demo Day that is scheduled for Dec. 18. The event gives people a chance to try out the latest ski and snowboard equipment for free.
Although Training Center Christmas Camp is more for the kids on Holiday Valley’s ski, snowboard and freestyle teams, Eshbaugh said anybody can register for it and come.
Holiday Valley’s New Year’s Eve Celebration will take place from 9 p.m. Dec. 31 until 1 a.m. Jan. 1. Eshbaugh said the first activity of the night will be the Groomer and Torchlight Parade that comes down Cindy’s Run at 11:30 p.m. Afterward, a fireworks display is planned for 11:45 p.m. to midnight.
“Anybody who can ski down Cindy’s Run can participate in the parade,” she said. “We usually have a band in the Main Lodge, so people can come in and enjoy the music and get ready for the fireworks and the new year.”
According to Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley ended up with a successful season last year because so many people in Western New York had more spare time. She said a lot of them worked from home and they weren’t taking their kids to school sports, so they were really busy with local people at the resort.
“This year, a lot of those people are back at work and the kids have school sports again. It’ll quiet down a bit, but the Canadians will come and fill that little gap,” she said. “We’re very excited to have them back and it’s great to see them again.”
Eshbaugh said the staff at Holiday Valley is looking forward to a more normal year. She said people had to wear a mask a lot of times outdoors, especially when riding the chair lifts but, hopefully, that’s not going to happen this year.
To find out more about Holiday Valley’s events, visit online at holidayvalley.com.