Family Weekend, Irish X-mas, Pie Auction, Reindog Parade, Santa, Caroling

By Alicia Dziak

Looking for a great way to celebrate the holiday season? Look no further than right here in Ellicottville, where two annual holiday events are sure to get you in the spirit.

Friday, Dec. 5 is the Irish Christmas celebration at the Gin Mill, an event organized by Bob McCarthy that combines festive Irish-themed fun with giving back to the community.

The day starts with McCarthy’s wagon parked outside the Gin Mill, at about 7 a.m., where new toys and gifts will be collected. Everyone is invited to drop off a new, unwrapped item — gifts can be for children, teens or adults.

The highlight of the evening is the pie auction, in which homemade pies presented in or on homemade, Irish-themed works of art made by McCarthy are auctioned off. The auction, which starts around 7 p.m., has become a fun-filled and competitive tradition among locals and visitors alike. The loud and energetic crowd can be heard from the sidewalks as they cheer each other on as they try to outbid one another. Last year, the winning pie bid was a whopping $475!

While the evening is full of fun and laughter, it’s also for a great cause. The money raised, as well as the gifts collected, go to Santa’s workshop, a confidential program by Family Support for Ellicottville, which is an affiliate of the Rotary Foundation for Youth.

While the Irish Christmas is geared toward adults, the following day’s fun is family-oriented.

On Saturday, Dec. 6, the annual Christmas Stroll graces the village streets.

Browse the Christmas Bazaar, visit with Santa, indulge in some of Mrs. Claus’s cookies, check out a live camel or get in the Christmas spirit with some caroling. You won’t want to miss the late afternoon “reindog” parade and Living Nativity. For a complete schedule, see page 13

‘Tis the season of spoiling your loved ones, giving back and making memories. Gather up friends and family, and enjoy the magic of the holidays in Ellicottville!