ELY – Following the festival-canceling coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and an epic storm in 2021 that left Whiteside Park in shambles, the 41st annual Blueberry/Art Festival here last weekend …
ELY – Following the festival-canceling coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and an epic storm in 2021 that left Whiteside Park in shambles, the 41st annual Blueberry/Art Festival here last weekend signaled a return to normal.
More than 200 art, craft and food vendors and thousands of visitors descended on this community at the end of the road last weekend for Ely’s premier summer festival.
“We had great weather all weekend and record crowds in the park,” said Ely Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eva Sebesta.
The weekend wasn’t without wary eyes to the sky as storms passed through northeast Minnesota late in the day on Sunday.
Organizer and Chamber Event Coordinator Ellen Cashman announced at the festival that this year it would be her final summer event.
“I’ve been at it for many years, and it is time to do something else,” she said Friday.
The Ely festival is a juried show and new applicants are reviewed by a panel of area artists and crafters. Those same jurors judge all the vendors on Friday morning and award the top three winners in both the art and craft categories.
Ely artist Leah Reusch, a first-time participant this year, took first place in the art category. She was featured in the July 29 issue of the Timberjay. Second place art category honors went to Watercolors by Bonnie Dufresne, of Virginia, and third place went to Shelby Bork’s Botanical Creations, of Port Clinton, Ohio.
In the craft category, first place went to Morning Glory Creations by Annette Mattingly, Ely, followed by Origami by Kannika Brueske, Hudson, Wis., in second, and Collin Clough Wooden Bird Art, Grand Rapids, Minn., in third.
“We were excited to have such a diverse group of artists this year,” Cashman said.
The Ely Kiwanis Club made 600 blueberry pies during the weekend and sold every one of them by mid-day on Sunday.
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