Dancin’ and Romancin’, Lawnmower Races Friday Night

By Eva Potter

Looking for a free, family-friendly activity for this weekend? Then head to the quaint village of Ellicottville for the sixth annual Americana Folk Art & Music Fair taking place July 19–20 in the Ellicottville Village Square (Town Hall and Gazebo area), where local artists will show their creations and demonstrate their craft from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Local resident Bob McCarthy originally organized the first fair as a fundraiser to help the Ellicottville Historical Society purchase a new furnace for its museum many years ago. The laid back event has become an annual family favorite and continues to grow in popularity.

This year, the Americana Folk Art & Music Fair kicks off Friday evening, July 18, at the Town Center (next to Nannen Arboretum) with a Dancin’ and Romancin’ Hillbilly Style party including racing, dancing and beer.

At 6 p.m., the entire family is invited to watch or participate in the Hillbilly NASCAR race, involving “old, beat up, riding lawnmowers.” You’ll even see a motorized picnic table outfitted with all the bells and whistles including a patio umbrella! Racers must complete 10 laps. While there is no trophy, the winner takes home mega bragging rights.

The party continues from 7 to 11 p.m. with the Dancin’ and Romancin’ Hillbilly Style music party at the Town Center (next to Nannen Arboretum), where the Twobadours will keep you groovin’ all evening long for just a $10 donation. Hillbilly costumes are optional.

On Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., come to Ellicottville and chat with dozens of artists, learn about their talents and watch as they demonstrate their work. Media represented include alpaca fiber art, ceramics, copper and other metals, wood, stained glass, and more.

Each day features music, alpacas, ducks and other critters the kids will love, delicious food — including fresh pie and lemonade stands courtesy of the Lund and Arena families — and the Ellicottville Rotary Club’s specialty hot dog wagon.

As you wander, check out the variety of beautiful pieces like folk art birdhouses and cottages, homemade pies, paintings, photographic prints, pottery, jewelry, rustic forest furniture, stained glass pieces, woven articles and carved works. Get a close-up look as artists weave, spin, carve and work with a variety of other materials. Artists will happily explain their craft to festivalgoers.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, you won’t want to miss the live auction to benefit the Ellicottville Historical Society, featuring pieces of art from the artists showing at the fair, along with other donated items. It’s a great way to pick up beautiful art for yourself or as a unique gift for that special someone.

And on Sunday, you’ll want to be sure to return for the Quilting Workshop and Quilt Show on the grounds of St. John’s Episcopal Church, at the corner of Washington and Jefferson Street. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you will be able to view an heirloom quilt exhibition and purchase new quilted items made by local artists.

If you are an artist interested in participating, come for the weekend. Setup is absolutely free. The only request is that artists donate a piece of their work to be sold at Saturday’s auction. Please call Bob McCarthy at (716) 378-0916 with any questions you may have.