Art, Lawnmower Racing, Music, Quilt Show, Great Food

Free Set-Up for Artists

By Jann Wiswall

Every year, Bob McCarthy, a lifelong Ellicottville resident, retired teacher and talented craftsperson, organizes what, to many, is one of Ellicottville’s most laid-back art festivals.

This year, the Americana Folk Art Fair kicks off on Friday evening, July 18 at the Town Center, and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20 on the grounds of the Ellicottville Village/Town Hall at the intersection of Washington and Jefferson streets.

McCarthy came up with the fair idea more than a dozen years ago as a way to raise funds to buy a new furnace for the Ellicottville Historical Society’s museum. That goal was reached in short order that year, so he decided to hold it “one more time” the following year to benefit the Society. “One more time” has now turned into an annual tradition that continues to grow in participation and popularity.

The Friday night kickoff event can only be described as wacky. The entire family is invited to watch or participate in the “Hillbilly NASCAR” race, involving “old, beat up, riding lawnmowers” racing along with a “specialized pace car” — a motorized picnic table with all the bells and whistles, including a patio umbrella. Racers must complete 10 laps. The winner is awarded bragging rights.

The Hillbilly NASCAR race starts at the Nannen Arboretum at 6 p.m.

Immediately following the race, you’re invited to stick around for “Dancin’ and Romancin’, Hillbilly Style” at the Town Center, where the Twobadours will keep your feet tappin’ all evening long for just a $10 donation. Hillbilly costumes are optional.

Then, on Saturday and Sunday, local and regional artists will display their work and techniques from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each day, the family-friendly event features more music from the Twobadours, alpacas, ducks and other critters for the kids, great food — including fresh pie and lemonade stands courtesy of the Lund and Arena families, and the Ellicottville Rotary Club’s specialty hot dog wagon.

On Saturday at 2 p.m., the real work begins with an auction to raise funds for the Historical Society. All participating artists will have pieces available, along with other donated items.

And on Sunday, you’ll want to be sure to return for the handmade quilting exhibition on the grounds of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Calling All Artists!

There’s still room for artists — professional and novice alike — to display their work at the fair, and it’s free!

“It’s is a great way to showcase and sell your art without making a big investment,” said McCarthy.

Dozens of artists are already committed to displaying and/or demonstrating their work, including jewelry makers, weavers, potters, woodworkers, painters, glass artisans and many others. The only request is that each artist donates a piece of their work to be sold at Saturday’s auction.

If interested, please call McCarthy at (716) 378-0916.