Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas Thank You!

The Virtual Auction held on-line this past Friday night was certainly a great time for all that participated.  Bob’s presence was obvious to all for Bob McCarthy’s 16th annual Irish Christmas.    The auction started promptly at 7:00 PM hosted by Brooks LeFeber of along with Jill Dunn and Greg Cappelli from The Rotary Club of Ellicottville.

At a frantic pace the bids started to climb and on all accounts was just a plain fun way to conduct an auction.  Current limitations did not hold back some, who arranged friends bubble party so they could bid against each other in traditional fashion.  A small group even gathered at Silver Fox Steakhouse to ensure that they did not miss out on the great wines donated by Mike & Sally and paired with a McCarthy original birdhouse donated by Edna Northrup.  Wouldn’t you know it Brooke Szpaicher won it at $325.00!  The hit of the auction was the “Dine EVL Basket”, that sold for $650 to Doug & Carolyn while a new Charles Dickens book “A Christmas Carol”, did not reach the heights of last year’s antique that sold for $525.00 but Victor Arena mad an $80.00 donation to buy it..  Hugh Dunn’s Live Edge Table sold for a bargain price to a dealer from Portville who knew it’s true value.  The Great Wooden Bow Pie Boxes created by Ed Frederickson, once again were a hot item with both selling to locals.  The Traditional Irish Whiskey Basket donated by Cynthia & Mike, sold for $350.00 to a very thirsty family.

It was obvious that many of our benefactors opened up their hearts and wallets to support Rotary’s Santa’s workshop & the Sheriff Santa program.  The auction brought in just shy of $4,500.00 surpassing expectations.  Additionally, a number of generous people chose to donate directly to the Rotary for Santa’s Workshop   These donations normally continue through the end of the year, so we anticipate being very close to reaching our goal.  In this crazy year, that is truly amazing.

This year’s event could not have happened without Ed Frederickson, who once again used his creative genius and woodworking skills to put together an array of hand-made gems in the Bob tradition for the auction.  PandaGoat Media, that is Brenda Perks and Meghan Lucarelli did a great job on bringing the concept to life with great artwork and promotional material.  Heather Sullivan of Heather J Sullivan Consulting worked her magic with the Website and Facebook and kept the event and the rest of us on track.  Brooks LeFeber hosting the auction, made the event a lot of fun doing his impression of Dan Aykroyd in his Trading Places Santa suit.  We hope we can go back to EBC for a live auction next year, so Brooks can show his stuff live.

As is always the case our great local publications, The Villager and Ellicottville NOW went above and beyond promoting the event, we appreciate their unquestioned support, year after year.

A special thanks to Katy Arena of Katy’s Café & Katy’s Fly-In who worked with Ellicottville’s local bakers (too many to thank but you know who you are) whose special desserts are done as a tribute to their friend Bob and this tradition.  We do have to mention Chef Tom Kneeland, Katy Arena and Annie Cole of Cupcaked who created some outstanding desserts.  We thank the many local businesses who hosted the auction items and the promoted the event on our behalf. Thank you to our great Restaurant partners who donated a gift card for the Dine Ellicottville Basket.

When asked how this started, McCarthy would answer “It started with a little magic”.  To be sure the magic came in the form of Ellicottville’s residents, both permanent and part timers who bid or donated to the cause.  The real magic is that this event is helping a number of local families have a better Christmas through Santa’s Workshop who this year helped 31 Families/81 individuals.  Rotary also makes a donation to help the Sheriff’s Santa program.  If you want to donate send a check to Rotary @ PO Box 101, Ellicottville, NY 14731 or online

Bob, we all miss you but we will continue your tradition of giving.  The Rotary Club of Ellicottville wishes all of you a great holiday season – Thank you Ellicottville!!




The Rotary Club of Ellicottville, NY

The Rotary Club of Ellicottville provides help & service to many local groups and has the  designated  501(c)(3) charity  organization The Foundation for Youth providing Youth programming for the Ellicottville area.
Rotary International is the world’s first service club organization. Its more than 1.2 million members volunteer their time and talent to further the Rotary motto, Service Above Self.

Click here to DONATE NOW!


The Rotary Club of Ellicottville meets most Wednesdays at 5:30 PM at the American Legion
6500 Maples Road, Ellicottville NY
All are welcome but call to confirm (716) 989-7169 if you would like to attend.


How Do We Help?

The Rotary Club of Ellicottville is dedicated to the local community providing help and assistance to benefit all in Ellicottville. Many visiting Rotarians have commented that they are impressed with the extent our engagement in our local community compared to clubs with a larger number of members.  With Rotary’s two affiliates “The Foundation for Youth” and “Family Support for Ellicottville” Rotary drives many projects and programs in Ellicottville. With a core of volunteers 100% of funds raised go to support local projects.  Rotary has two major fundraisers that support their many projects “Tuscan Moon” – the Saturday before Labor Day and “Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas” – the first Friday in December.  Please see our events page for more information.

Since our formation in 1999 the Rotary Club has helped the Ellicottville Memorial Library with a $50,000.00 building grant which created the Rotary Center in the Library.  We continue our support yearly through funding the Library’s summer intern; the summer reading program; purchases of IPAD, Kindle & computers; a speed router for WiFI as well as numerous “Kid friendly programs”. In recent years we have upgraded computers and provided drones and robotic building kits to bring new technology discovery for kids of all ages.

Other youth programs at the Library are funded by the Foundation for Youth as requested and in 2013 we established the Young Writers & Illustrators Club that provides a fun & educational environment for a number of students via workshops throughout the year. During the summer months we support the park program and an after park reading program complimented with student workshops and activities.  The Rotary Tree funded by a few donors stands in the Library Foyer and drove the Arts in Education project at Essex Arts Center creating leaves for the tree by an ECS class every year for a number of years

We provide school supplies to students at the start of the school year and support lunch programs, travel and special projects for those in need at ECS. Every year we award several $500 scholarships for outstanding graduates of ECS or BOCES. Special requests for eye glasses, hearing aids or clothing are fulfilled as needed. We also fund the Rotary “Slapshot – Leadership Program” which provides a unique experience for two or more students every year.

We provide funding for many local organizations including The Ellicottville Historical Society, The Alley Katz, the Ellicottville Food Bank and many other specific donations supporting the local Women’s Shelter, Meals on Wheels, etc.
Our annual Rotary Halloween Party at the American Legion provides a safe fun environment for more than 200 kids.

We have established the Rotary Auditorium at the Ellicottville Town Center a space to enhance the Nannen Arboretum by providing an auditorium and patio for the entire community to enjoy.

Through “Family Support for Ellicottville” we provide a “quiet helping hand” to those less fortunate in the community by providing funds for unexpected medical expenses like transportation to treatment locations We also provide Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner every year to help make these holidays special for all.
Santa’s Workshop also aided by “Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas” brings Christmas joy to many families in the community at special times of the year.