By Alicia Dziak

The finals, field trips and end-of-year celebrations have come to an end, 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 5-8, featuring a jam packed show with nine exciting rodeo events, along 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 ellicottvillerodeo.com.

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

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.

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 facebook.com/alleganystatepark.

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 or Little Rock City in Little Valley and 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.

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, June 28 through Aug. 2, plus a special Friday concert during Jazz and Blues Weekend. The schedule is as follows:

• June 28: The Wazmopolitans

• July 5: ST3

• July 12: Trio Far

• July 19: The Party Squad

• July 26: Rabbit Hole Trio

• July 27: Black Rock Zydeco

• Aug. 2: Max Muscato Duo

Ellicottville’s Summer Music Festival is coming to Holiday Valley June 29-July 1.

On Friday, June 29, Michael Glabicki, the lead singer of Rusted Root, and his new band, Uprooted, will take to the stage performing Rusted Root classics as well as new tracks. Opener in Funktional Flow.

The following night, on June 30, check out Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx, celebrating the 40th Anniversary Grand Illusion Album Tour.

DeYoung is a founding member of Styx and the lead singer and writer on seven of the band’s eight top 10 hits. His live concert with his six-piece band showcases all the Styx Greatest Hits spanning the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

On Sunday, July 1, the Buffalo Philharmonic will be back for their 25th engagement at the Summer Music Festival. The show, Vinyl Fever, will feature songs from the Beatles, Billy Joel, Abba, The Beach Boys, Motown and more. The evening will conclude with everyone’s favorite 1812 Overture and Stars and Stripes forever to an incredible fireworks display. This is an all ages 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 ellicottvilleny.com.

Other area venues offering outdoor entertainment include Canalside, Allegany State Park, Darien Lake and ArtPark, just to name a few. Check out the Outdoor Summer Concert Guide at ellicottvilletimes.com.

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.

September will be here before you know it, so get going on your plans to make this summer the best one yet!