By Deb Everts

The holiday tradition of “Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas” continues Friday at the Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC).

Presented by the Rotary Club of Ellicottville, the event is open to the public beginning at 6 p.m. at EBC, 28 Monroe St. Featuring local restaurants serving a variety of Irish dishes, guests will have the opportunity to explore the “Taste of Ireland” taking them on an amazing culinary tour of the Emerald Isle. The event is complete with Irish music provided by Seanache.

Participating restaurants and their dishes include Katy’s Fly-In Restaurant, Irish Stew; Madigan’s, Guinness Mac & Cheese; The Silver Fox, Bangers & Mash; Villaggio, Rueban Pasta; Dina’s, Irish Cream Bread Pudding; Cupcaked, Christmas Cookies; and Ellicottville Brewing Company, Irish Coffee.

Upon entering EBC, the first thing guests will see is a table full of cakes and pies baked by McCarthy’s friends who have taken their favorite recipe and created a mouthwatering masterpiece. With a small donation, people can take home one of these pies and/or cakes.

Along with fabulous food, attendees will have the opportunity to bid on a variety of auction items including homemade pies, pie boxes, birdhouses and other handcrafted items.

Doug Anderson, spokesperson for the Rotary, said local craftsmen Ed Frederickson and Hughey Dunn have volunteered to create unique pie boxes and special furniture. He said some of McCarthy’s creations will be auctioned off as well. 

The Rotary asks the community to help Santa’s Workshop by making a monetary donation or by bringing an unwrapped gift for those less fortunate. Santa’s Workshop provides gifts and Christmas dinner for families in the Ellicottville area. 

“In his honor, Bob’s big wagon will be out in front of Ellicottville Brewing first thing Friday morning at 9 a.m. People can drop off unwrapped gifts all day long,” Anderson said. “As much as we appreciate the gifts, we’re focusing more on monetary donations because, in the past, it’s been tough to physically match those unwrapped gifts with people for a good fit.”

According to Anderson, they have more flexibility with monetary donations, so they can get the proper items and sizes needed. He said any gifts they don’t use as part of their program will be donated to the Sheriff’s Santa Program, which has worked out well in the past.

Someone once asked McCarthy how this event began, to which he would answer, “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.”

His spirit and generosity live on through this unique fundraiser. Anderson said McCarthy was passionate about taking care of less fortunate people, especially youth.

“The event was Bob’s brainchild and he suggested they auction off pies. From what I’ve heard, everyone said he was crazy and it would never work, but here we are 14 years later,” he said. “It’s such a wonderful fundraiser for the Rotary Club’s Ellicottville Foundation for Youth to benefit the greater community.”

The Rotary Club’s Ellicottville Foundation for Youth helps fund Santa’s Workshop and family support for Ellicottville. Adults and children living in the Ellicottville area will benefit from Santa’s Workshop, which is funded by the Irish Christmas started by McCarthy who passed away in 2016. The Rotary Club of Ellicottville keeps the fundraiser going.

There’s no admission charge to the event. Tickets are $5 to sample each dish. For more details, call Anderson at 989-7169, or visit online at or Facebook.