By Deb Everts

Plans are progressing well for the Town of Ellicottville’s Bicentennial next year. The planning committee last met Oct. 8 with a good turn out and lots of preparation ahead of them.

Organizer Dawn Westfall said there are lots of things in the works and there might be more to come as they roll in 2020. 

Westfall said Holiday Valley’s Winter Carnival, March 14-15, is going to be part of the kick-off celebration and the first event of the year. She said it will include the Mardi Gras parade in the village, on Saturday evening, and the costume parade on the slopes of Holiday Valley, on Sunday, along with other weekend activities. 

Heritage Town Photos and Ski Heritage Photos are planned to be on display in the Main Lodge. Edna Northrup, Ellicottville’s well-known adventurer and skier, will be available both Saturday and Sunday to present a 30-minute talk about the start of skiing in Ellicottville. Westfall and Mary Elizabeth Dunbar plan to be there as well to talk more about the heritage.

According to Westfall, the town’s birthday party is still planned for Monday, April 13, and will be at the Town Hall. She said the celebration will be in the late afternoon or early evening when Pioneer Certificates will be presented. The deadline to apply for a Pioneer Certificate is Feb. 13, 2020. Applications are available on the Ellicottville Historical Society’s Facebook page. 

Old Home Weekend is solidly set for July 17-19. Westfall said a parade is being planned for Saturday morning, July 18, in the village, and it will start near the Town Center. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is going to sponsor a carnival and have activities for kids that day. 

“We’re bouncing around some ideas for some kind of barbecue or dinner,” she said. “Ellicottville has so many great restaurants, a winery, breweries and distilleries, so we should tap into it. We want as much participation as possible in the name of ‘celebration’ to celebrate our heritage.” 

That same weekend, Mark Dunkelman will be holding the Reunion of the 154th at the Town Center on July 18 from 1 to 4 p.m.

House tours and cemetery tours are also in the works. Carolyn Bauer and Ellen Frank have said they are interested in helping with a cemetery tour.

AS A TRIBUTE to 200 years of history in the town of Ellicottville, a 14-month historical calendar has been created, starting with November 2019 and ending December 2020. The cost is $15 with all proceeds funding the 2020 Bicentennial celebrations, and the Ellicottville Historical Society and Museum. Calendars will be available at a number of retail establishments throughout the town and village.

Westfall said local distiller Bryan Scharf and his crew at the Ellicottville Distillery are working on a commemorative bicentennial whiskey. She said the idea for the whiskey started from an old whiskey bottle that came from the Dineen family, in Ellicottville. The spirit will be ready for the bicentennial next year and available for purchase.

A 13-star American Flag is planned to be featured at the bicentennial celebration next year. Donated to the historical society by Earl Lounsbury in 1963, the Civil War Recruitment Flag is 8-feet, 8-inches long and 39-inches wide. Westfall said it’s been enclosed in a glass case all these years and the historical society finally received a grant to have it restored.

Of special interest is a Commemorative Postal Cancellation Stamp designed by well-known local artist Barbara Fox. Westfall said the artwork is finished and the post office has sent it out for final approval. She said Fox has also given the historical society permission to use the stamp for possible merchandise in the future.

“Any mail that goes through Ellicottville on Monday, April 13, will get this special cancellation stamp,” she said. “It will be a one-of-a-kind, which is a big thing in stamp collection circles.”

The historical society is hoping to get a grant for a Pioneer Plaque to recognize Grove Hurlbert, the first person to settle in Ellicottville in 1815. Westfall said the plaque will be posted along Route 219, near the lot once owned by Hurlburt. She said St. Paul’s Lutheran Church owns the land and has agreed to allow the plaque to be erected on their property. The hope is to have some sort of celebration or unveiling to make it more memorable.

Sponsorship is a big item on the agenda. Westfall said they have sent information out to area businesses about becoming a sponsor. She said there are seven different levels of business sponsorship, all the way down to individual sponsorships. The levels are Founders, Victorian, Colonial, Pioneer, Frontier, Settlers and Family levels. 

“Each sponsor will get recognition at all the events we are doing,” she said. “We are talking about having a sponsors’ dinner toward the end of next year or at some time during the year.”  

To manage donations, a Bicentennial Fund has been set up with the Cattaraugus Community Foundation. Westfall said the funds they raise will go toward the bicentennial events they’re planning for the year.

Westfall said they have a good group, but the planning committee is still open to anyone who wants to come and participate. She said people do not have to attend all the meetings, but they need their participation.

The next planning meeting will be held Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Memorial Library of Ellicottville, 6499 Maples Road. For updated information or any questions, contact Westfall at 699-6201 or Also, visit the Ellicottville Historical Society’s Facebook page.