Last weekend marked the start of the Christmas season in Ellicottville, with a weekend-long celebration that included the lighting of both the traditional Christmas tree, as well as the new Ski Tree (which, if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check it out in front of the 1887 building!) This weekend brings other can’t-miss holiday traditions to the Village to continue the spirit of the season.

On Friday, Dec. 1, carry on the tradition started more than 12 years ago by Ellicottville’s beloved Bob McCarthy at Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas returns to Ellicottville Brewing Company. When you walk through the gates at Ellicottville Brewing Company, the first thing you will see is the table full of cakes and pies, baked by Bob’s friends who have taken their favorite recipe and created a mouthwatering unique masterpiece.  The pie or cake can be yours with a small donation.

When asked where did this all start, McCarthy would answer, “It started with a little magic.” The reality is it came from the goodness of his heart.  Bob’s adopted charity, the Rotary Club of Ellicottville via the Foundation for Youth, established Family Support for Ellicottville as an affiliate to continue to fill the need in the community.  Discussing the concept of Santa’s Workshop with a Rotary member, Bob fell in love with it and came up with a way to support the program—Irish Christmas, which raises funds and collects toys and gifts for Santa’s Workshop.

Santa’s Workshop is designed for local families who can use a little extra during the holidays to come and pick out gifts for each other, have them wrapped and leave with not only gifts, but holiday spirit. This is a highly confidential and special service that Family Support for Ellicottville feels is a great way to give back to the community by helping local families in need. Throughout the year Family Support for Ellicottville directly helps families in the Ellicottville School District in a variety of ways. One hundred percent of all monies donated to Family Support remain in our community and support the needs that arise during these difficult economic times.  Family Support for Ellicottville (an affiliate of the Rotary Foundation for Youth) is a 501c3 charitable foundation so your donation is tax deductible.

Renamed “Bob McCarthy’s” Irish Christmas, the Rotary Club of Ellicottville continues to support this event. The Irish Christmas tradition continues in Bob’s honor as he touched so many in Ellicottville with his spirit and generosity.   Although it can never be the same with his passing, Bob’s dedication to this event inspires us to continue with his magic.  It was McCarthy who said “I love doing Irish Christmas which is a night of Irish magic.  I don’t know how the magic gets there, but it just does.  That’s the beauty of it.”

McCarthy’s wagon will be parked outside of EBC starting around 7 a.m., where new toys and unwrapped gifts are collected for Santa’s Workshop and the Sheriffs Santa Program, which provides gifts to make Christmas a little special for less fortunate families.

Again this year a number of restaurants will serve a special Irish dish at a reasonable price or you can order from the great EBC menu.

The highlight, of course, is the Pie Auction and the intention is to continue the way Bob wanted it.  Ed Frederickson and some others have volunteered to create pie boxes, bird houses and special furniture in the “McCarthy tradition” and believe it or not, some of Bob’s creations will be auctioned off as well.

The spirit of the season is unmatched in Ellicottville, and Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas is a perfect opportunity to share it with friends.  Irish music by Gerry Dixon, food and fun and all for his favorite cause! Remember to be there— Friday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. at EBC to share the spirit with friends to help give back to families in our community.

On Saturday, Dec. 2, the Christmas Stroll returns to Ellicottville and celebrates its 30th year in the Village.

From 4 to 5:30 p.m., Santa and his elves will be at Villaggio, while Mrs. Claus will be baking some cookies at Katy’s Café.

At 4:30, watch the famous reindog parade make its way through town.

Guests can enjoy wagon rides in front of the gazebo from 4:15 to 5:30, followed by festive carols by the Ellicottville High School band at 5:30.

At 6 p.m., guests will be treated to the Living Nativity at the Village gazebo, accompanied by the Ellicottville High School Jazz Choir.

The Christmas Stroll is an old fashioned holiday celebration to remember. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Ellicottville during the holiday season!