By Kellen M. Quigley

The finals, field trips and end-of-year celebrations are almost complete, and now it’s time to embark on that wonderful summer vacation adventure.

After nine months of note taking, test taking, studying and homework, it’s time for some fun, and there’s plenty to do to keep everyone busy from now until September.

Now open daily throughout the summer, head to Holiday Valley’s Sky High Adventure Park, which includes the Aerial Park, the Climbing Forest and the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster.

While in Ellicottville, cool off this summer at Holiday Valley’s three-pool complex, open daily through Labor Day. Splash into a kiddie pool, a lap pool and an activity pool, featuring a diving board and slide, play a variety of poolside games like giant Jenga or Cornhole or grab a frozen mocktail from the Cabana Bar.

Looking for some unique entertainment? The Ellicottville Championship Rodeo returns July 4-7, featuring a jam-packed show with nine exciting rodeo events, along with with Hardway Buckout Junior Bull Riding, contract acts and clowns. A kids’ stick horse race and a variety of great food round out the event. For more info, visit

If you like the great outdoors in Western New York, state parks offer everything you look for in an outdoor experience.

Allegany State Park offers hundreds of campsites, cabins and full-service cottages, miles of hiking and biking trails, two beaches and plenty of rentals to keep you busy on and off the lake. The park also hosts numerous daily programs and special events all summer long, most of which are free. For more info, visit

If you like waterfalls and gorges, check out Letchworth State Park, which also boasts cabins and campsites, weekly programming, scenic trails, shady picnic areas and opportunities for whitewater rafting.

Lake Erie beaches are plentiful, and for a flat entry fee, you can check out Lake Erie State Park, Evangola State Park, Woodlawn Beach State Park and more along the shores.

Head to Griffis Sculpture Park to meander through the woods while checking out a variety of unique 3D artwork, some of which you can even climb on.

If climbing is your thing, check out Rock City Park in Olean, Little Rock City in Little Valley or Thunder Rocks at Allegany State Park for giant rock formations you can go on and in.

Get the kids in on the area’s live music scene this summer.

Ellicottville’s Summer Music Festival is coming to Holiday Valley July 5-7. On Friday, July 5, take part in Brews & Bags for Roswell as the Kick-Off to the weekend.

The following night, on July 6, see Caitlin Koch perform at Holiday Valley at 7 p.m., followed by Don Felder, former guitarist for Eagles, at 9 p.m.

On Sunday, July 7, the Buffalo Philharmonic will be back for their 26th engagement at the Summer Music Festival. An exciting list of musical greatness is in the works. The evening will conclude with everyone’s favorite “1812 Overture” and “Stars and Stripes Forever” to an incredible fireworks display. This is an all age’s event, so pack up your picnic basket and bring the whole family. As always, 12 and under are free to both concerts.

For tickets and information, visit

Through the sponsorship of CCSE Federal Credit Union in Ellicottville, the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce will make sure the air is full of music and fun with the annual Gazebo Series, happening Thursday evenings, July 11 through Aug. 8. The schedule is as follows:

July 11: Second Act

July 18: Dozo My Lady

July 25: Enchante’ Cabaret

Aug. 1: The Boomers

Aug. 8: High Horse

Other area venues offering outdoor entertainment include Canalside, Allegany State Park, Darien Lake and ArtPark, just to name a few.

Of course, shopping local is our favorite thing to do! Stroll the streets of Ellicottville find unique gifts, grab frozen treat or cupcake and be sure to say hi to all of your neighbors and the local business owners.