By Deb Everts
One of Ellicottville’s favorite summer events is back again.
“Stroll the Streets Ellicottville” will kick-off Friday, July 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. and will continue every Friday until Aug. 30.
Presented by the Rotary Club of Ellicottville, at least a dozen retail stores in the downtown area will be open every Friday night until 8 p.m. during this special summer event. Activities will vary from week to week and some are weather dependent, but the event will happen rain or shine.
Committee member Jessica Maynard-Gilbert, owner of Ava Grace Fashions, said the event has been very well received. She said this is the fourth year of the Stroll and the second year for the Farmers’ Market, which everybody loved last year.
“The ‘Passport’ program is a fun concept because shoppers get a deal at each participating store,” she said. “I’m excited about the event because it gives people a chance to go into the stores, see what’s new and what’s going on. It gives the shop owners a chance to give people a nice special.”
Gilbert said shoppers get a “Passport,” which is a paper where they check off all the participating places they have visited. At the end, they can get a prize. She said they’ve added more prizes this year.
“We didn’t do the event last year, and people missed it,” she said. “The year before, it was always the same prize, so if you came every week it wasn’t as much fun after two or three weeks. This year, you can choose your own prize.”
Gilbert said some of the specials include a discount on ice cream at The Tee Bar; Dina’s is giving diners a free glass of wine with their dinner; and Ava Grace, Gilbert’s store, is doing $5 off a $30 purchase. She said shoppers have to fill out their Passport first, and those deals are for Friday night only.
“Come early and fill up your Passport. Go into each participating store and decide which one you want to take advantage of that week on Friday,” she said. “That’s the thing — it’s always the same deal each week at each store, but the shopper can do a deal at a different store each week.”
In addition to passport shopping and dining specials, there will be free, fun activities for kids and adults to enjoy along Washington Street including face painting, balloon twisting, magicians, jugglers, stilt walkers, outdoor movies at the Gazebo, a fire hula hooper, kids’ fitness, chalk art, a fun photo booth, live music and more.
According to Gilbert, each place can do their own thing on the sidewalk in front of their store, and they can do any activity they want.
For example, in the past, some shop owners have put out hula hoops, sidewalk chalks or bubbles. She said some weeks it’ll be a stilt walker, a magician or a juggler; other weeks it’ll be a balloon twister or a face painter.
Gilbert said the Stroll the Streets committee hires entertainers as well, and they have music booked for every single week. She said the music will be set up on Washington Street and will be located on alternating sides each week.
“We find that the music attracts a lot of attention,” she said. “People will be just driving through town and they stop because they want to know what’s going on. They hear the music and see the people kind of wandering around, so they say, ‘We need to stop here and have dinner here, instead of someplace else.’”
In August, visitors can also have fun at the Farmers’ Market on the front lawn of the 1887 Building and at the Gazebo in the park across the street where crafters and artisans will be set up.
Gilbert said the Farmers’ Market started last year in August because of the harvest season. She said it’s possible that the Farmers’ Market will be extended past the end of August and into September, but she doesn’t have any confirmation yet.
“I love ‘Stroll the Streets,’” she said. “We’re trying to attract families to come down on Friday nights and start their weekend. Maybe, if they are coming for the whole weekend, they can come a little early and take part in all the activities that we have going on Friday nights.”
Gilbert said the entire event is funded by sponsors, with the Rotary of Ellicottville their main sponsor. She said they appreciate all their sponsors, big and small.
“We are really appreciative of the support. There are a lot of businesses in town that look forward to the event and they set aside part of their advertising dollars so they can support this.
If anyone would like to donate to benefit the Stroll the Streets event, they may do so through the event’s website, strollthestreetsellicottville.com.
For the latest updates, find Stroll the Streets Ellicottville on Facebook, call Gilbert at 699-1105 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also on July 5, ERA Team VP realty will present the “Bags and Brews for Roswell” fundraiser on Monroe Street. The event will include a Cornhole Tournament, live music, and tastings from Ellicottville’s local breweries, winery and distillery.