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Ellicottville gets into the holiday spirit

Winter sports aren't the only seasonal events taking place in Ellicottville. Here's a look at some festive happenings.

*Christmas in Ellicottville. Tangled Twigs owner and Christmas Stroll Committee member MJ Brown says the event is "very small town, and really makes you want to live here." It starts Nov. 23 and concludes Dec. 1 with the C h r i s t m a s Stroll to usher in the holiday season.

Among the festivities: decorations, lights, caroling, reindeer, Santa, buggy rides, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

The Christmas Stroll will include the traditional "Reindog" Parade, with this year's special guests, a Newfoundland dog club.

There are two nativity events worth taking in. At the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church, residents bring their personal nativity scenes to display. Brown says many are antiques and international sets. It's one of her favorite events of the celebration.

The living nativity is usually performed by a local family, who has recently welcomed a new baby. "Sometimes Baby Jesus is a boy, sometimes a girl," says Brown. The tradition has been going on for so long, some of the original Baby Jesus children are now parents themselves. Live animals, including a camel, join in the event.

As the story goes, the family stops at the inn (in this case the Ellicottville Inn), and are turned away. They seek refuge in the stable (town gazebo). Brown says it's truly a magical event.

*Robin Bissell, 19th annual Holiday Open House (7218 Irish Hill Road, Ellicottville), today, Saturday and next Sunday.

Artist Robin Bissell holds this once-a-year event of original folk art, antiques, one-of-akind St. Nicks, handpainted furniture and more from local artisans.

To get there from Ellicottville, follow Route 242 east to Irish Hill, turn left. Open house is on the right. Call (716) 699-8411 for event information.

*Ellicottville keeps the good times rolling Jan. 4-6 with the annual Blues Festival, and March 8-9, with the Mardi Gras Parade & Winter Carnival.

- Emeri Krawczyk

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