Entertainment, Parades, Contests and Lots of Beads!

By Alicia Dziak

Step right up for the annual Winter Carnival and Mardi Gras weekend, on the slopes and in the village, March 14-15. It’s sure to be a rip-roarin’ good time, and you’re invited!

Holiday Valley is transformed into all things fun during this last festival weekend of the season.

Enjoy a tasty pancake breakfast Sunday at the Champagne Warming Hut and cookouts at the base of Yodeler both days and slopeside by Holiday Valley Lodge on Sunday.

For an extra cool (so cool it’s cold!) experience, stop by the Snowbar at the base of Yodeler. It’s literally just what it sounds like—a giant bar made out of snow. Hang with friends and people-watch while listening to some party tunes.

The kids will enjoy checking out the snow sculptures throughout the resort, as well as face-painting at Tannenbaum and Customer Service both days, plus a special kids’ event on Saturday.

Of course, one of the highlights of the carnival is Sunday’s Dummy Downhill, a fierce and funny competition where contestants send dummies (non-human only) down Yodeler. See story on page 1.

Regulars to Winter Carnival know there’s always something new, and this year is no different. On Sunday, following the Dummy Downhill, the Mercy Flight Ducky Drop will take place, in which guests can purchase one of only 500 numbered ducks.

“The ducks will be dropped out of the helicopter and if your duck lands in the duck pond you get half of the money raised. The other half goes to Mercy Flight,” explained Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley’s marketing director.

For more details, visit

Parade Times Two

Of course, you can’t have a Mardi Gras celebration without a parade — or two.

On Saturday, the Village of Ellicottville hosts its annual Mardi Gras parade beginning at 6:30 p.m. It travels through the streets of downtown, where you can watch from the sidewalks or get in on the act and join the parading crowd. Parade entry forms can be found at

According to Chris Chapman, media and communication manager for the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, the parade includes, “Fun, interesting floats and people taking part in the annual tradition. It’s Ellicottville’s version of what takes place in New Orleans.”

We dare you to keep a straight face as you watch creativity at its finest in the form of wacky floats and costumes as the parade passes by.

On Sunday, the costume parade at Holiday Valley will head down—where else—Mardi Gras. Line up at the top of Edelweiss at 11:45 a.m., and join other skiers and snowboarders decked out in their finest, over-the-top attire. At 12:15, do your part to impress the judges for a chance to win a 2015-16 season’s pass and bragging rights for best costume.

Don’t miss the Winter Carnival and Mardi Gras festivities— there are laughs to be had and beads to be thrown! Gather up your friends and family (yes, this is a family-friendly weekend) and take to the streets of Ellicottville and to the slopes of Holiday Valley for this annual tradition that would make New Orleans proud!