By Deb Everts

“Tuscan Moon,” Ellicottville’s favorite upscale, end-of-summer dinner party, is back again.

As one of the most anticipated cocktail parties of the year, the fundraiser will take place Saturday, Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. at John Harvard’s Cabana Bar & Pool Complex at Holiday Valley.

This year’s events is sold out.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ellicottville, this event features a delicious assortment of food, live music and auctions. The party starts with great hors d’oeuvres from Katy’s Café and Katy’s Fly-In, John Harvard’s Brew House and Villaggio served by student volunteers from Ellicottville Central School (ECS).

Additionally, students from University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s Hospitality Program will be helping in the kitchen and at the food stations this year.

Supported by Sysco, US Foods, Maplevale Farms and others, 14 local chefs from Ellicottville’s top restaurants to Myers Steakhouse and Inn of Salamanca, will be serving their Italian specialties with a Tuscan theme from individual stations.

It’s an “all you can eat affair,” so guests may eat as much as they want from the selection of Italian favorites. A great Antipasti table and Pasta Station with multiple pastas, sauces, sausage and meatballs will tempt all.

The Prime Rib of Beef from Centerplate and John Harvard’s will delight diners. Taste winners, The Public House will offer pan seared scallops while the Seafood Lasagna from Myers Steakhouse is said to be out of this world.

Vegetarian and Gluten Free selections will also be available.

The feature of the event will be the dessert table where Watson’s Chocolates and cupcakes from “Cupcaked” will surround the extra special cakes, cookies and tarts created by Chef Kneeland.

Organizer Greg Cappelli, a member of the Rotary Club, said participating restaurants include Monroe Street Brick & Brew, Katy’s Fly-In, Katy’s Café, Villaggio, John Harvard’s Brewhouse, Tim & Bonnies Pizza, Balloons Restaurant & Nightclub, Dina’s, Centerplate, Ellicottville Brewing Company, Finnerty’s Tap Room, The Public House, Steelbound Brewery & Distillery, Slopeside, Madigans, Myers Steakhouse & Inn, The Silver Fox Steakhouse, Cupcaked, Watson’s Chocolates and Tom Kneeland’s Table of Joy.

“Party Squad” will perform strictly acoustic and “unplugged.” The trio will play guests’ favorite tunes by request, before during and after dinner.

Dave Elder said they have done this acoustic show exclusively at some private parties. Elder and Joe Rozler play acoustic guitar with a bit of accordion, while Mark Dixon, drummer and vocalist, plays a Cajon drum. Unplugged and mobile, they will be able to come to your table for special requests, adding to this memorable evening.

Cappelli said the auction items donated by the local community will provide great bargains for the extensive silent auction and short, live auction. Over 60 baskets of prizes will include items such as Sabers tickets, Bills tickets, Cutco Knives, a World Kayak, vacation getaways, rare wines, bourbon and cigars, as well as a many more great bargains.

According to Cappelli, the Rotary Club of Ellicottville has two foundations — Youth and Family Support. He said all the funds they collect at the door and the auction go into their rotary foundation for both.

He said the annual gourmet dinner fundraiser benefits the community with a number of local programs including the Food Pantry, Women’s Shelter, medical emergencies, various ECS student programs, many library programs, kids Halloween Party and many more local causes.

“This fundraiser supports most of the local programs by the rotary and started 13 to 14 years ago as ‘Another Day in Paradise’ then became ‘Voodoo Moon,’” he said. “And now another version, ‘Tuscan Moon,’ that has been going on for six years with a different name and a different theme.”

This year’s event is sold out but donations to the Rotary Club are always welcome to help the group achieve its goals.