BUFFALO, N.Y. — It may be the start of St. Patrick's Day celebrations elsewhere, but in Ellicottville, it's always Mardi Gras the second weekend of March, when they send the ski season off in style.
For the second year in a row, there won't be a Mardi Gras parade through town, but skiers will be dressed up on the slopes for a modified version of Holiday Valley's Winter Carnival.
In town, the shops are decorated, and the Chamber of Commerce is bringing in local artist Eric Jones, known for his larger-than-life Bills snow sculptures that went viral with fans this football season. He'll be carving an 8-foot tall ski boot in the middle of town for people to come and take photos with.
"I know they don't need any help drawing people in, but this will bring people there to see it," he told 2 On Your Side. "It helps the community, it lifts people's spirits, and it's good for my business as well, and the exposure of what I do, so I'm just excited all around."
"Our businesses that put the floats in, they put so much time and effort and they always look amazing," Barb Pump of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce said about the annual parade. "Obviously, that is the downfall to not being able to have it, but we're going to have the ski boot and that's going to bring more people down and it's going to be great."
The snow for the sculpture is coming from Holiday Valley. As long as the weather cooperates with cold enough temperatures, Eric will be carving through the night on Friday into Saturday. It will sit in front of the 1887 building on Washington Street.
Full details for the 2021 Ellicottville Winter Carnival are available here.
If you stop by to take a picture, be sure to tag @WGRZ on social media and use the hashtag #BeOn2!