By Brian McFadden, 

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

I would first like to say thank you to the residents, the local businesses and our visitors for continuing to make Ellicottville a premier destination in New York.

Attesting to this is the number of positive comments in regional and national media as the chamber continues to host travel writers from around the world.

This year alone they came from Liverpool, England to Australia and published articles praising our community. Media in Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other surrounding states have all visited.

Looking at our website stats, the third most visits to are now from New York City, which followed Buffalo and Rochester. The word is spreading!

Events and festivals are still a significant reason why visitors travel to Ellicottville, while weddings and conferences draw a significant number of first-timers to town, giving us the opportunity to turn them into regulars.

In 2018, the Chamber hosted 19 events that continue to draw tens of thousands of visitors, with our second annual lacrosse festival continuing to grow.

Notable achievements in 2018 included the chamber’s partnership with Holiday Valley to open the “Chamber Sports Fields at Holiday Valley.” The area on 219 South next to Holiday Valley Real Estate/Rental Management saw significant leveling and new turf funded by the chamber.

The new fields allowed our lacrosse festival to grow by 30 percent over 2017 with the potential for more growth in 2019.

This summer we will host a kids Lacrosse Adventure camp from July 29–31. Other events are being looked at as well as we believe there are significant opportunities for weekday youth sports activities at the fields.

We added a new festival in early 2018, Winter Music Jam. This event focused on the 16 musical acts that were playing a wide variety of music from classic rock to a 10-piece Irish band. The addition of this event brought more visitors into town on the weekend after Presidents weekend, which generally was slower than most. The Winter Music Jam sure changed that!

Summer Music Festival featuring Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx brought one of the most massive crowds ever to the event and Fall Festival went off without a hitch.

Our staff worked hard to up the scale of vendors while cleanup crews from the Chamber, DPW and school left the village in immaculate condition the morning after the event. Leaf blowers cleaning every crack in the sidewalks and all commercial area streets washed clean.

Our advertising and marketing campaigns were able to reach thousands of potential visitors through radio, TV, social, print and public relations campaigns. We netted close to $150,000 in media during 2018.

The day-to-day operations of a busy office are extensive. Attending to the needs of over 300 members, managing festivals, customer inquiries, producing creative concepts for media and managing our social sites.

A big thank you to Barbara Pump, our Media, Communications, and Events Manager and to Jessica Wallace, our Office Coordinator, for holding everything together at the front desk.

It is not always easy to measure success as the state does not release much financial information for our area, but in 2018 Ellicottville set a record for the most lodging revenue since 2004 when records began to be kept according to the County Treasurers office.

Lodging revenue increased by 7 percent over the previous record with Ellicottville having booked 53 percent of the overnight revenue countywide. Overall, collections countywide increased 18 percent, mainly because Airbnb began collecting and reporting our counties 5 percent occupancy tax.

Although planning is not complete for 2019, changes to Girls Getaway Weekend are being planned to attract an even more massive crowd in early June. Summer Festival will see the Friday night party brought into the village.

Other events for the Chamber Sports fields are being evaluated as we look for more weekday programming. We are always looking for ways to make our festivals even better than the last.