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Ellicottville plans month-long Fall Fest to keep businesses booming

What was once a weekend-long Fall Fest is now a month-long event to keep revenue flowing in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ELLICOTTVILLE, N.Y. — This time of year is a special time of year of the month, the long anticipated October Fall Fest in Ellicottville.

From October 9 to 11, individuals and families alike head up to see the fall foliage, enjoy shops, restaurants, music, lodging and activities at Holiday Valley Resort. But this year, Fall Fest 2020 is more like "faux fest" 2020.

COVID-19 effectively canceled the traditional weekend as it has been known for years. This year people weren't taking to the streets, bars and restaurants weren't packed, and music wasn't booming out of tents.

The weekend was fun-filled, but in a different way.

Frank Maduri, who owns Monroe St. Brick & Brew, says that while COVID has certainly made things challenging as a small business owner, he has taken advantage of every weekend that people come up to Ellicottville to enjoy the weather.

"We appreciate the people who are coming down and supporting us. The local community has been outstanding," Maduri says. 

Given mandated rules and regulations, business owners are doing their best to make every weekend this month count, even the larger businesses such as Holiday Valley Resort, which prides itself on being a four-season family destination. 

Jane Eshbaugh is the resort's long-time Marketing Director, and she says in some ways this pandemic has opened up new opportunities that otherwise may have taken a long time to come to fruition. 

"We've thought for many years of trying to spread fall festival out, not just for one weekend but for more weekends, and so this year was the actual incentive to do that, so that we wouldn't have too many people congregating, and it worked out really well."

The good weather hasn't hurt either. At Holiday Valley, Eshbaugh says business as actually been up because people are naturally looking to recreate outside, due to safety concerns. 

"Chair lift rides, the mountain coaster, the aerial park, the gem mining and the climbing forest, each one is pretty much naturally socially distanced."

To find out more about activities that are running through the end of the month in Ellicottville, visit here.