By Deb Everts

Plans for the Town of Ellicottville Bicentennial are moving along but, with 2020 less than a year away, there is still much to do. The planning committee met March 27 and welcomes anyone who would like to help out.

Dawn Westfall, president of the Ellicottville Historical Society, said they had a good crowd of 10 at their last meeting, and there are a few other people who are helping out but can’t get to all the meetings.

Westfall said they established a firmer timeline and schedule of events during this meeting, but it’s still tentative. She said the committee is hoping to coordinate a few of their bicentennial events with some of Ellicottville’s annual activities in 2020.

“Winter Carnival/Mardi Gras Weekend is March 14 and 15 next year and Holiday Valley plans to do something to promote the bicentennial during that event,” she said. “A couple of people representing Holiday Valley, Bonnie Koschir and Steve Crowley who is also on the town board, have said they are taking care of organizing our 2020 Bicentennial kick-off event at the Winter Carnival in March. They’re all set and are going to plan events for the Winter Carnival to highlight the bicentennial.”

According to Westfall, April 20 is the actual birthday of the town, so the plans are to have something at the town hall on that day at 4 p.m. She said if it’s nice enough, they’ll do something at the gazebo or inside where there will be refreshments and maybe a birthday cake. 

“I think that could be the time when we might have a Day of Proclamation from county officials, so we could have some speakers like the town supervisor and other town officials,” she said. “It might be similar to what was done for the Great Valley Bicentennial when we had a birthday party for the town and presented Pioneer Certificates. It’s a possibility, but we haven’t gotten it off the ground yet.”

Westfall said they may do something in conjunction with Ellicottville’s annual Memorial Day celebration and parade. She said people were not in favor of the idea of having another parade, at some point, but they might piggyback off of the Memorial Day Parade. 

July 17 to 19 is Alumni Weekend at Ellicottville Central School, so the committee has picked that time to have an Old Home Weekend. Westfall said the tentative schedule for that event is possibly having a dance Friday night at the park square, near the town hall, and a band at the gazebo. For Saturday, they are talking about possibly having some kind of Civil War demos like blacksmithing. A chicken barbecue at the fire hall on Sunday is another possibility. 

“We were talking about having Mark Dunkleman come, but it’s not 100-percent,” she said. “At one point, we had kicked around the idea of having a Civil War reenactment, but apparently that’s too big to try to establish something like that, so maybe something on a smaller scale. We also talked about lawn games and different things like that for Saturday.” 

According to Westfall, Old Home Weekend would be the big event of the bicentennial. She said there would be people in town for the Alumni Weekend and she thinks they have an event Saturday night.

Consequently, the bicentennial committee has been talking about having something Friday night and Saturday during the day; then a barbecue Sunday. That way, people can attend what they would like to.

Westfall said she would like to see people who either have ties or had ties to the town of Ellicottville come to Old Home Weekend. She said they would like to have the old registers out at the historical society that include everybody’s name who attended years ago in the 1920s and 30s.

“I don’t know when the last Old Home Days or Week was held. That’s a good question to ask and I’d like to hear from old-timers or anyone who has information on it,” she said. “It’s something that might create some reminiscing and discussion, which is always nice.”

Planning meetings are held on a monthly basis. The next meeting will be May 15 at 6 p.m. at the Ellicottville Memorial Library, 6499 Maples Road.

For further information, contact Westfall at 699-6201 or email her at