If you mention Ellicottville to someone, the first words out of their mouth are probably in the range of “I love that place in the wintertime!” While the vibe of the winter months certainly paces the town’s heartbeat, locals and repeat visitors know that the best kept secret is 14731 in the summer.
Starting Friday, June 30 and running every Friday until mid-September, the Village is thrilled to host the 2nd summer of “Stroll the Streets” - an activity-laden weekly mini-festival. After seeing the success of last summer’s inaugural, the committee, local businesses, and our Chamber of Commerce will again partner to provide free, family-friendly entertainment.
“It’s getting better by the week,” said committee member Christy Rounds, co-owner of Adventure Bound onthefly located in downtown Ellicottville. “When our family lived in N. Michigan, the village had something similar to what we’re doing here. It started as an attempt to expand tourism by getting a jumpstart on the weekend. But it ended up having a huge appeal among locals too. Kids came into town to see their friends during summer break. It was wildly popular and I think Ellicottville is the type of community that can emulate that success.”
Last summer, activities and entertainment included live music, face painting, stilt walkers and demonstrators. By the third week, the buzz was so palpable the committee knew they were onto something.
“It’s a really great way for the community to come together,” Rounds said. “From locals to visitors to merchants, it’s incredible to see how everyone is embracing this. While we’ve got a ton of things lined up, we’re always looking to add more. We encourage those who want to participate to let us know and we’ll get them on the schedule.”
Activities start every Friday at 5:00 and run until 8:00, with music typically going from 5:30-7:30. Participating merchants will stay open until 8:00, so folks will be able to enjoy the event and also continue to shop.
“We've already got some awesome musical acts lined up,” Rounds said. “We’ve got Zach & Jonah (of N. Tonawanda), who recently performed at our Paddle Festival. We’ve got everything from local recording artists to regional performance teams, balloon tying, henna tattoos, face painting, a circusy act ever week … the list goes on.”
Brian McFadden, Executive Director of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, said it’s great to not only have this type of event in the village, but also to have it spearheaded by local business owners. “It’s another way to bring people into town and see what we’ve got to offer,” he said. “At the beginning, some merchants were skeptical - but now, they can’t wait for Friday nights. We think the ultimate goal is something like this: have a more engaged, family-friendly Friday night and also to get folks to come a day early if they’re coming for a Saturday wedding or event. If we can provide some entertainment, they can make a weekend out of it.”
Near the end of the summer, there’s going to be a few movie nights at the Gazebo and a Shakespeare in the Park production. It’s pretty incredible to see an event that started so small last summer blossom into something significant. It benefits all parties involved.
Stroll the Streets begins Friday, June 30 and runs every Friday through Sept. 15. For more information, stop into any participating local shop or search “Stroll the Streets in Ellicottville” on Facebook. Activities will be changing each week, so check back often. If you’d like to perform and help out, contact Christy Rounds at Adventure Bound onthefly, or send a message to the event’s FB page.