17 Exciting Events, Destinations and Activities

By Jann Wiswall

With fall foliage at or near peak in mid-October, the Ellicottville area simply cannot be beat as a sightseeing destination. This, of course, is one reason the annual Fall Festival (Oct. 11-12) attracts tens of thousands of people from far and wide every year to enjoy a cornucopia of art, crafts, rides, live entertainment, boutique shopping, great food and an enthusiastic celebration of the season.

While most of the festival action takes place in the village, you would be well advised to head to nearby Griffis Sculpture Park for a one-of-a-kind sculptural and natural adventure that is being cast in a whole new light. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 10-11, is the last opportunity to see the park’s sculptures and fall landscapes illuminated by colorful, theatrical lighting during “NIGHT LIGHTS at Griffis Sculpture Park.” Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 7-12, and free for kids under 7. Night Lights is subject to cancellation due to heavy rain. Visit www.griffispark.org.

To fill out your memorable weekend with arts and culture, you’ll also want to take a stroll over to 11 Rockwell Ave. on Saturday, Oct. 11, where Canadian artist and part-time resident Darlene Allen transforms her breathtakingly landscaped garden into a backyard art gallery. Art in the Garden has been growing in popularity since its inception eight years ago. Visitors are invited to see and purchase the work of some of the best local and regional fine artists and artisans while listening to the relaxing harp music of Ellen Paquette. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. Just head up Mill Street and turn right on Rockwell Ave.

More Fall Fun 

Fall Festival may be the biggest single event of the season, but Ellicottville and the entire region hosts numerous events and activities throughout October and November.

If you’re new to Ellicottville, a great way to get an unbeatable view is with a chairlift ride at Holiday Valley. For just $5, you can ride to the top of the mountain, admire the sweeping vistas and then hike or ride back down weekends through Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visit www.holidayvalley.com.

For a more physical adventure in the mountains, be sure to explore the thrills, chills and family fun at Holiday Valley’s Sky High Adventure Park, weekends through Nov. 2. The Aerial Park features 13 challenge courses from easy to commando, with bridges, obstacles, ladders, zip lines and more. The Climbing Forest offers 10 trees with color-coded handholds to guide harnessed climbers from beginner to expert. And the Mountain Coaster is a gravity-defying, squeal-inducing ride with 15 curves, a jump and a spiral. Call 1-800-699-HIGH for reservations.

And, whether you’re here for Fall Festival or are visiting any time in October, Pumpkinville just has to be part of your agenda. The entire family will love the rides and games; great eats and treats; a bountiful produce barn; locally made fruit, maple and honey products; and, of course, the biggest selection of all shapes, sizes and colors of pumpkins you can imagine. Pumpkinville is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Oct. 31. Visit www.pumpkinville.com.

You can also enjoy some Halloween thrills when you “jump on the scariest hayride in Western New York” Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through Nov. 2. Nightmare Hayrides on Sommerville Street 2014 features haunted barns with a vortex tunnel and gothic chamber, a haunted maze, and the ever-popular haunted hayride. Admission is $17; children 5 and under are free. Group rates are available. Visit www.nightmarehayride.com.

And, be sure to add all of the following weekend events to your calendar today!

October 17-18

Holiday Valley is hosting a very special Sky High Night Climb at Sky High Adventure Park. Let your headlamp be your guide for this exciting 2.5 hour climb. Start times begin at 6 p.m. Reservations are required. $39 per person with headlamp included. Visit www.holidayvalley.com.

October 25-26

On Oct.25, from 1-3 p.m., you’re invited to partake in the 2014 Annual Indian Foods Dinner, where you’ll enjoy authentic pre-Colonial Iroquois dining. The dinner will be held at the Seneca Allegany Administration Building at 90 Ohiyo Way in Salamanca. Reservations are required by Oct. 23. Visit www.enchantedmountains.com.

Afterwards, spend the evening tasting the Winery of Ellicottville’s wonderful selections and support your canine and feline friends at the Wine and Wags Wine Tasting to Benefit the Cattaraugus County SPCA. The 6–9 p.m. event includes winery tours, a silent art auction and delicious treats provided by the EVL Cheese Company. For tickets and information, visit www.spcacattco.webstarts.com.

Plus, all weekend long you can spend some time supporting businesses and artisans in the community by attending the second annual W.I.L.M.A. (We Invite Local Manufacturers & Artisans) event. WILMA will be held at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds in Little Valley Oct. 25-26 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily. Visit www.enchantedmountains.com.

November 1–2

The EVL Halloween Half Marathon is a fun-filled, Halloween-themed event on Saturday, Nov. 1, that features a Half Marathon, a 5K and a Kids’ Race. Participants are invited to run in costume (or not) and enjoy other Halloween-related activities. Age group and costume prizes will be awarded! The event begins at 11 a.m. on Monroe Street in the village. Register at www.evlhalf.com.

Then, get a jump on holiday shopping during the East Otto Country Associates 2014 Holiday Open House, Nov. 1-2, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. East Otto Country Associates has been offering quality handmade and homegrown treasures to the public for more than two decades. Thousands of customers have found adventures along the scenic back roads of rural Cattaraugus County through the years, traveling from one East Otto Country business to another. Take advantage of this opportunity to stock up on gifts not only made in the USA, but made in Cattaraugus County by local artisans. Visit www.eastotto.com.

November 8

Holiday Valley Resort, the Ellicottville Brewing Company and Southern Tier Brewery will host the 11th annual Beer and Wine Festival at Holiday Valley’s Yodeler Lodge on Saturday, Nov. 8 from 3:30-7:30 p.m. You’ll be able to sample a variety of hand-crafted beers from more than 30 of the best New York State and American craft breweries as well as wines from New York, Southern Ontario and Ellicottville vintners. For tickets and package pricing, visit www.holidayvalley.com.

November 16

Cattaraugus County Arts Council once again will hold its 2014 Routes to Art Holiday Sale at Holiday Valley. This year, up to 28 of the region’s finest artists and artisans will be selling their work at the resort’s main lodge overlooking the slopes. The holiday sale is your best opportunity all year to purchase unique, personal and artistic gifts, including cards, books, prints, jewelry, pottery, ornaments and more! The event runs from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Visit www.routestoart.com.