Ellicottville Brewing Company was filled with magic last Friday night, Dec. 6 as Bob McCarthy’s presence was obvious to all who attended Bob McCarthy’s 14th annual Irish Christmas.

The evening began with a bagpipe march through EBC by Bob’s favorite piper, Asa Moss. This was followed by two stages of entertainment featuring adorable Irish Dancer Sophia Mesh, who charmed the crowd with a great Irish Jig. On the second stage, Gaelic performer Seanache serenaded the crowd with music from the Emerald Isle.

Retiring Master of Ceremonies Phil Bund introduced the new auctioneers, Spencer Murray and Michael Hughes, who drove what proved to be another successful pie auction.

Rotarian Kathy Trost commented that the generosity that this village shows is a constant surprise. Bob’s friends were there from all over Western New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Southern Ontario and opened up their hearts and wallets to support Rotary’s Family Support, Santa’s workshop and the Sheriff Santa program.

The event brought in over $15,000 with more donations arriving daily. Peter Kreinheder and Dan Minner of EBC donated a huge $1,200 — the proceeds from their sales of Bob McCarthy’s Celtic Red from each pint sold.

Beth, Laura, Mike and the entire EBC staff provided a dose of Ellicottville hospitality beyond compare. They all contributed ideas and made everything come together for this magic evening.  Although the crowd was a little smaller than last year, with the new layout, clear sound, thanks to DJ Gilroy, and room to move made the night perfect.

A special thanks to Cupcaked, Dina’s, EBC, Finnerty’s, Katy’s, Madigans, The Silver Fox and Villaggio who each donated a special dish for the “Taste of Ireland” for the crowd to enjoy. EBC also mixed some special Irish Cocktails to get the bidders in the mood.

Special thanks to The Gin Mill for Bob’s wagon and a generous donation to the event. Thanks to all Ellicottville’s bakers whose special desserts were done as a tribute to their friend Bob and this tradition.

The Rotary thanks their friends who helped make this such a great success: Deb Shay, Ed and Deb Frederickson, Phil Bund, Spencer Murray, Michael Hughes, John Thomas, Katy and Victor Arena, Joe Patti, Laura Kelley, Brooks LeFeber, Tom Kneeland, Critter & Franke, Todd Plough and Darlene Allen, Mike Kay and Cynthia Gibbons, Sally and Mike Nickolson, John and Anne Northup, Dennis and Jane Eshbaugh, Hughie Dunn, Dave Salvucci, Jay Stoddard, Mike, Michelle, Meagan and Millard Young, John Falk and special sponsor Shults Resale Olean and Fredonia Chrysler, Dodge Jeep & RAM and so many others.   

When asked how this started, McCarthy would answer “It started with a little magic.” To be sure, the magic came in the form of Ellicottville’s residents, both permanent and part-timers, who attended and bid for the great auction items which even included a McCarthy original door knocker, pie boxes and birdhouses. Ed Frederickson knocked it out of the park again with his unique creations. His wooden hope chest purchased again was sensational and brought the largest bid.

The real thanks go to those who attended, those who bid as their form of donation and those who dropped off gifts for Santa’s Workshop to make Christmas special for less fortunate families. You know Bob would have been in awe by the donations and creations made by so many generous donors.

The real magic of this event is the many local families that are helped through Santa’s workshop and the Sherriff’s Santa program. Bob, we all miss you, but we will continue your tradition of giving. The Rotary Club wishes you a great holiday season. Thank you so much, Ellicottville. Please plan on attending next year and sharing a wee bit of Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas magic.