3-7-14Mardi-Gras-2014Vibrant Parades, Contests, Races and More

By Alicia Dziak

It’s the highlight of late winter in Ellicottville — Winter Carnival and Mardi Gras weekend is here and ready to serve up family-friendly fun all weekend long!

The Winter Carnival excitement begins on Saturday, March 8 with Vintage Ski Outfit Day at Holiday Valley. What better excuse to get use out of those old ski digs? Once you’re all decked out, there are a mountain of fun activities to choose from, including a scavenger hunt, balloon race, snow bowling, face painting, live music, cookouts, and the infamous Snowbar serving outdoor cheer to all.

New this year is the GS beer and root beer race at Yodeler, beginning at 1 p.m. The race, sponsored by EBC, challenges participants to ski or ride through the course carrying a tray with a beer or root beer on it. At the bottom of the course, racers head to the Snowbar, drink their drink, and then cross the finish line. Prizes include a case of EBC Blueberry Wheat for the fastest woman, and a case of EBC’s brand new beer, Stainless Obsession IPA, for the fastest man. Registration is $5 at the Mountain Sports Center.

At 6:30 p.m., the Mardi Gras parade begins in the village, and promises to be a rip-roarin’ good time!

“The parade, as always, will be one of Ellicottville’s zaniest, wackiest, family friendly good times,” said Heather Snyder, director of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce. “There will be floats, a variety of costumes, walking groups and, of course, lots of beads! Everyone is encouraged to gather a group or create a float and participate.” Applications are available at www.ellicottvilleny.com.

The fun continues Sunday9. Get into your ugly sweater and sunglasses and head over to Holiday Valley for more festive fun!

Come hungry because visitors will have a variety of food options, including the annual Ski Patrol Pancake Breakfast at 9 a.m. The Snowbar be open again and other tasty fare will be available throughout the resort.

Don’t miss the costume parade down Mardi Gras, beginning at noon, complete with costume judging. Join in the fun or watch from the bottom— either way, it’s sure to be a great time with lots of laughs!

In addition, the Dummy Downhill begins at 2 p.m., where guest build “dummies” on skis to race down the dummy course. In the true spirit of Winter Carnival and Mardi Gras, the idea is to get creative and make a big splash!

The streets and slopes of Ellicottville are exciting every weekend, but Winter Carnival and Mardi Gras bring out the fun in everyone for one of the last hoorahs of winter. Whatever activities you decide to take part in, you’re sure to have a blast!

“Between the Mardi Gras parade and all of the events at Holiday Valley’s Winter Carnival there is something for everyone (kids of all ages) to enjoy!” said Snyder.

For more information, visit www.holidayvalley.com or www.ellicottvilleny.com.