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By Rick Miller

Bob McCarthy’s friends came together for the 13th annual Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas fundraiser last Friday night at Ellicottville Brewing Co.

Bob, who died in 2016, would have liked the party, everyone agreed.

The Christmas party raised $10,000 last year and supporters expected another good fundraiser. Officials reported the event brought in over $15,000 with more donations arriving daily, setting a new record. Peter Kreinheder and Dan Minner of EBC donated $2,419, including proceeds from their sales of Bob McCarthy’s Celtic Red at $1 from each pint sold.

A flatbed trailer out front of the Monroe Street restaurant during the day signaled the Irish Christmas. It contained a lighted Christmas tree and wrapped gifts dropped off by passersby.

Everyone comes for the special pies, cheesecakes and other desserts that are auctioned with other items. They sell for hundreds of dollars each.

Bill Bund has taken over for McCarthy as pie auctioneer.

The highest price ever was for an apple pie baked in a skillet that went for $900 at the first Irish Christmas held at the Gin Mill.

More than 20 less fortunate Ellicottville area families, about 100 adults and children, will benefit from Santa’s Workshop which is funded by the Irish Christmas started by McCarthy. The Ellicottville Rotary Club is also involved.

Officials said this year’s funds helped 23 families and a total of 89 children at Santa’s Workshop and more in the Sheriff’s Santa program, and that is the real magic.

Families are invited to pick out gifts which are then wrapped by volunteers. Children and adults in each family pick gifts to exchange. They each receive a gift of a family night out for bowling or a movie.

Bund said, “Nothing was more dear to Bob than children.”

Greg Cappelli, a friend of McCarthy’s, said Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas runs pretty much as it did before Bob died. The Rotary Club picked up Santa’s Workshop after it was discontinued by the school district.

Ed Frederick stepped up to produce the special pie boxes McCarthy used to be known for. Other artisans are filling in for other items McCarthy handcrafted including Irish chests, tables and birdhouses.

The pies that are not auctioned are placed in The Pie Store, where they can be purchased for $20.

The Rotary Club’s Ellicottville Foundation for Youth helps fund Santa’s Workshop and family support for Ellicottville.

“We saw a need and Bob figured out how to make it work,” Cappelli said.

Irish dancers performed at 6 p.m., followed at 6:30 by a bagpiper, Asa Moss of Ellicottville. The pie auction started just after 7 o’clock.

The desserts are made by Ellicottville women who donate their favorite desserts, said Deb Shay, who lived with McCarthy for 17 years. Many come with well-crafted pie boxes.

“There are some friendly bidding wars,” Shay said. “Robert always made it a lot of fun.”

Shay said the way McCarthy saw it, “People are going to give a donation anyway, so try to make it fun. This is a fun way to make a donation. It’s the spirit of giving. He’d say give me a pint and I will come up with an idea.”     

C    Christmas and more recent Ski trees.

On Friday, Nov. 30, the tradition begun 13 years ago by Ellicottville’s own Bob McCarthy returns to Ellicottville Brewing Company. It’s the annual Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas.

It was McCarthy who said, “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.”

The Irish Christmas fundraiser has become an event to remember and one that locals and weekenders alike love to see. McCarthy’s wagon will be parked outside EBC around 7 a.m. for new toys and unwrapped gifts to be collected for Santa’s Workshop and the Sheriff’s Santa Program.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, the Christmas Stroll returns to Ellicottville for its 31st year. From 4 to 5:30 p.m., Santa and his elves will be at Villaggio while Mrs. Claus will be baking some cookies at Katy’s Cafe.

From 4:15 to 5:30 p.m., enjoy wagon Rides around the village, and 4:30 watch the Rein Dog Parade down Washington Street The Ellicottville Central band at the gazebo at 5:30.

At 6 p.m., Living Nativity will be at the gazebo with jazz choir accompanying.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, come one, come all, to the Ellicottville Christmas Party, presented by the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, at Holiday Valley’s Tannenbaum Lodge.

The Ellicottville Christmas Party is the place to get together with all of your friends and family that live, work and play in Ellicottville.

The menu for the night will include some of the best food around and enjoy live music by XPRIME.

Opening Day at HoliMont is tentatively scheduled for Friday, Dec. 14. With 21 new snowmaking machines and plenty of project improvements over the summer, the slopes will be packed and ready for the season to begin.

On Saturday, Dec. 15, try before you buy with Demo day at Holiday Valley.

Free demos from Ellicottville’s specialty ski and snowboard shops will be slopeside of the Holiday Valley Lodge. Credit card required for deposit and parent signature if under 18.

This event is brought to you by local shops Mud Sweat ‘n Gears, The City Garage, Dekdebrun’s Apex Store and The Boardroom, where you’ll get the best service from the most knowledgeable technicians.

A New Year’s Eve Celebration will be held Monday, Dec. 31 at Holiday Valley.

Join in the fun beginning at 9 p.m. with a family-friendly event on the Holiday Valley Lodge main floor.

The lodge is the perfect location to view the Groomer Parade and the torchlight parade on Cindy’s Run at 11:15 and the fireworks at 11:45 with the Grand Finale at midnight.

Enjoy everything Ellicottville has to offer this holiday season as well as those freshly powdered slopes.