Ellicottville Paddle Festival

A photo from a past PaddleFest at Spruce Lake

For diehard enthusiasts, creating an outdoor scene is easy. They don’t think twice about waking up and heading outside, whether it’s to bike, camp or kayak. In a town like Ellicottville, where winter activities are so prevalent, the ‘I want to be outside’ attitude permeates pretty rapidly throughout the community.

During the summer months, maintaining that outdoor scene in the area becomes a little more difficult. When the kids are off school, people think parks, beaches and golf courses - all outdoor activities, but maybe not in the adventurous sense.

When John Rounds and his family moved to Ellicottville in the summer of 2015 and opened Adventure Bound onthefly, he saw a niche to fill. Specializing in standup paddleboards, kayaks and fly fishing (amongst many others), Rounds worked to add additional activities to complement the already strong biking, hiking and outdoor scene.

Come June 22 & 23, Adventure Bound onthefly will present the 4th Annual Ellicottville Paddle Festival, a weekend of getting on the water, trying something new and celebrating the outdoors.

“The Ellicottville Paddle Festival was founded four years ago with the intention of providing a summer kick-off event,” Rounds said.  “It’s an incredible base camp for so many outdoor activities — most within an hour — and Spruce Lake at Holiday Valley is a hidden gem that provides a local water fix in a beautiful setting.”

Spruce Lake’s primary function is reservoir for Holiday Valley’s world-class snowmaking system. For a long time, it sat as the best-kept secret in the Ellicottville area. But a plot of land so beautiful, scenic and practical deserves to be utilized.

“Over the past few years, we’ve collaborated with Holiday Valley on the Spruce Lake Demo and Rental Venue,” he said. “We built a new log cabin headquarter and storage building, while the resort added parking, port-a-potties and an enhanced beach area. The entire area has really developed nicely.”

Typically a one-day event, Rounds added Sunday to this year’s Paddle Festival. During the event, they’ll run a kids SUP race, the SUP headstand challenge, paddle clinics, and the opportunity to rent specialty standup paddleboards and kayaks. Rounds says it’s not just a reason to practice your standup paddleboarding and kayaking, but a great way to get outside with the family.

“A local Boy Scout Troop will be there cooking food, and Spencer Murray will be DJing to provide an atmosphere,” Rounds continued. “Our rental SUPs and kayaks are top quality and include PFD’s and safety leashes. We’ll have certified SUP instructors at the Paddle Festival, so regardless of if you’re new to it or experienced, you’ll take something away from it.”

Adventure Bound has steadily grown the ancillary outdoor community here, offering Spruce Lake’s amenities to corporate outings, birthday parties and other large groups. In addition to SUP and kayaking, groups have the option to learn or practice fly fishing — a pretty diverse offering.

“This is an opportunity to get out on the water if you haven’t before,” he said. “The goal is to keep people coming back summer after summer, helping us continue to grow the great outdoor Ellicottville scene.” 

Ellicottville Paddle Festival runs on Saturday, June 22 from 10am-5pm and Sunday, June 23 from 10am-3pm. For more information, head to adventureboundonthefly.com or stop in the shop, located downtown on Ellicottville’s main drag. 

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