Fabulous Fairs, Festivals and Food

By Jann Wiswall

With summer fun time now in full swing, you need look no further than the Ellicottville area for a slew of great events to keep you active and entertained all August long.

If you’re coming into town to see “Michael Israel: The Art of Rescue” at Ellicottville Brewing Company this weekend, you’re one of the lucky ones. The show is sold out for the heart-pounding, one-of-a-kind art and music experience whose proceeds will benefit the Holiday Valley and HoliMont Ski Patrols.

But while you’re here, be sure to check out the Cattaraugus County Fair in nearby Little Valley. This family-friendly, week-long annual event (through Aug. 3) features all the agricultural displays, rides and great food you’d expect, as well as monster truck rallies, demolition derbies, and more. Visit www.cattarauguscofair.com.

And beginning Aug. 2, you can get a breathtaking view of the entire region by taking Holiday Valley’s Spruce Lake chairlift to the top of the mountain. For just $5, you can ride up and back down or hike Pete’s Trail back to the base. Rides are available weekends from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. through Oct. 19. Kids under age 2 ride free. Call (716) 699-4444.

Next weekend (Aug. 7–10), the 2014 World Championships of the International Bowhunters Organization (IBO) returns to Holiday Valley. Thousands of champion archers from all over the world will shoot for the world title, cash and prizes. The Holiday Valley Archery Festival is also held that weekend (more at www.holidayvalley.com). Browse the free trade show with many vendors and watch the world’s best compete! Visit www.ibo.net.

And as a great kickoff for the IBO event, come on down to Ellicottville for a free concert on the village lawn by the gazebo on Thursday, Aug. 7 from 7-9 p.m. Bring a chair or blanket and a picnic to enjoy this last concert in Ellicottville’s Gazebo Summer Concert Series — the contemporary Celtic group Stone Row.

Meanwhile, folks from all over the country are heading to Jamestown, N.Y., for the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival (Aug. 6-10). Less than an hour from Ellicottville, Lucy’s hometown is hosting Jay Leno, Lucie Arnaz, Tom Cotter, Caroline Rhea and many other established and up-and-coming comedians during the five-day festival. You can also take in a Lucy fashion show, Lucy impersonators, comedy workshops, free family comedy acts and so much more. Visit www.lucycomedyfest.com or call (716) 484-0800.

Then, bring the family and all of your friends back for the annual Taste of Ellicottville Aug. 16–17, a gastronomic adventure during which you can sample delicious snacks, appetizers, entrees, drinks and desserts from almost all of Ellicottville’s restaurants. You’ll be in foodie heaven as you walk the sidewalks and enjoy café-style dining from noon–4 p.m. both days. Tickets are $1 each and will be sold at the main ticket booth in the village. Samples are priced at $1–$4 each. Visit www.ellicottvilleny.com.

That same weekend, you can walk off some of those delicious calories at Griffis Sculpture Park. The park’s annual Summer Festival on Aug. 17 makes the park come alive with music, art and a variety of children’s activities. Activities take place around the stage area, which requires a somewhat challenging walk uphill behind the park’s gatehouse. Along the way, you’ll see some of the park’s 250+ large-scale sculptures. Then kick back and relax with some live music. Visit www.griffispark.org.

From Aug. 19-24, the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce and the area’s most avid motorcycle enthusiasts are hosting the 12th annual Rally in the Valley, which this year has expanded from five to six days. The event features great food and family fun each day, with music, dancing, raffles, a motorcycle parade, concerts, fireworks and, of course, the Dice Run, which begins Sunday, Aug. 24 at 11 a.m. Proceeds benefit several community charities. Visit www.oleanny.com.

On Aug. 23, one of the area’s favorite dining extravaganzas, Tuscan Moon – A Tribute to Michael Kerns, takes place at the John Harvard’s Cabana Bar & Pool Complex at Holiday Valley. This evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing features gourmet Italian specialties — appetizers, entrees and amazing desserts — prepared by the chefs from a dozen or more area restaurants. Music will be provided by The Strangers. Proceeds support the Rotary Club of Ellicottville’s Foundation for Youth and Family Support. Visit www.ellicottvilleny.com.

On Labor Day weekend, come on back for the 4.2-mile Dirty Duathlon & Dirty Bit Trail Run on Sunday, Aug. 31. Get ready to get dirty as you ride and run some of Holiday Valley’s toughest trails! Visit www.heartrateup.com.

Need even more options? There’s so much more to do in Cattaraugus County all summer long. Details at www.enchantedmountains.com.

Aug. 1-2 Allegany Heritage Days, Allegany, NY, 2nd and Main Streets

Aug. 8-10 Cattaraugus County Sportsmen’s Rendezvous, Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds, Little Valley

Aug. 9 Kustom Kruise-In, Gowanda Harley-Davidson, Gowanda

Aug. 16–17 Salamanca Rockin’ Ribfest, Salamanca

Aug. 16-17 Gus Macker Basketball Tournament, Olean

Aug. 23 Summer Late Model Races, Little Valley Speedway, Little Valley

Aug. 23-24 Historic Fair at Crook Farm, Bradford, PA

Aug. 30 Jamestown Audubon Monarch Butterfly Festival, Jamestown

Need a place to stay? Ellicottville and the surrounding area has many hotel, motel, B&B, vacation home, camping and glamping (glamour camping) opportunities for every budget. Visit www.ellicottvilleny.com.