By Deb Everts

As a whole new decade arrives, the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce looks back on 2019 and looks ahead to 2020.

Barb Pump, project development manager at the chamber, said some of the events have changed over the years and they are always looking at different ways to make each event better than the year before. That’s something they focus on each year.

Pump said many of the local establishments were very happy with the turnout for the 2019 event season.

As far as crowd attendance goes, she said the chamber believes that the numbers of attendees to their events in 2019 have increased from years past. Of course, the weather is a major factor and influences those numbers with all of the events.

“If the weather is bad, many people do not come out, but we feel this year was somewhat of an exception as the numbers were much greater in 2019,” she said.

Ellicottville’s Fall Festival, held every October, is the chamber’s oldest and biggest event of the year. According to a press release from the chamber, the event is a huge economic engine for the village and provides a major trickle-down effect.

Along with local businesses in the community and its residents, it also benefits many not-for-profits. Over $70,000 is generated in various donations from the festival events. 

“The popularity provides an opportunity to showcase our area and its attractions converting many to become repeat visitors and second homeowners. We strive to provide a better-quality experience that will attract a demographic that truly wants to enjoy all the area has to offer,” said Executive Director Brian McFadden.

Although it was not a chamber event, HoliMont Ski Resort joined the festivities at Ellicottville’s Fall Festival 2019 by hosting the first annual HoliCX Cyclocross race. Marketing Director Greg Culver said plans are in the works for another similar event this year that is expected to be bigger and better than ever.

The last chamber event of each year is “A Christmas Stroll.” Held in early December, the event gives visitors a chance to celebrate the holiday season with a living nativity, complete with a camel. Created in 1987, the tradition has continued for the past 28 years. It takes place at the Village gazebo where children dressed as angels and shepherds meet to honor Baby Jesus as carolers sing.

Pump said adding more events varies. She said the chamber looks at different options that will be beneficial to Ellicottville’s merchants, as well as the community as a whole.

 “All of the local businesses try to get involved with what we are doing here at the chamber as much as possible,” she said. “This past year, it has definitely been proven with each event that the individual businesses have created themselves and we help to promote.”

Repeat events throughout the year include Winter Blues Weekend, January; Winter Music Jam, February; Mardi Gras, March; Happy Half Marathon, 5K & Beer Mile and Girls Getaway, May; Summer Music Festival, Theater in the Square, Jazz and Blues Weekend, July; Taste of Ellicottville and Rock Autism Concert, August; Rock ‘N’ Roll Weekend and Ellicottville’s Lacrosse Festival, September; Fall Festival and EVL Halloween Half & 5K, October; Beer and Wine Festival, Christmas in Ellicottville, November; A Christmas Stroll, December.

Will there be any new events introduced this year?

Pump said the chamber is always looking at what they can bring to Ellicottville to have the ability to attract more visitors to the great village, so who knows what 2020 will bring.

The Ellicottville Chamber would like to recognize its new members that came onboard in 2019. They include 1st Response Protection & Security Corp., Anjanette Nicolazzo Realtor, Aldrich Painting, Alpine Dog Kennels, Brochures Unlimited, Damon Newpher Fly Fishing, Eden Heights, Ellicottville Dental Group, Ellicottville Greens, Hidden Valley Animal Adventure, Invenergy LLC, McGee’s Books & Curiosities, National Comedy Center, Rafi’s Platter, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Southern Tier Transportation Services, Stormer Mechanical Service LLC, The Ratchet Hatchet, West Rose, Wink Haus Rental and WNY Southtowns Scenic Byway.