ELY – Following a severe storm that altered the 2021 Blueberry/Art Festival, planning for this year’s edition of Ely’s premier community summer festival began in January and will begin next Friday, July 29.
With the cooperation of Mother Nature, more than 200 arts, crafts and food vendors will fill Whiteside Park starting at 10 a.m. next Friday and will stay until Sunday, July 31 at 4 p.m. “They will be joined by thousands of visitors to our wonderful community,” said Ellen Cashman, events director for the Ely Chamber of Commerce, who spent hundreds of hours planning the event layout. featuring many favorite vendors, plus at least 30 new ones.
“Our festival is a juried show, so each new entrant is vetted by a panel of local artists and artisans,” Cashman explained. These same jurors judge all vendors on Friday morning and award the top three winners in the arts and crafts categories.
“We are delighted to have a very diverse group of artists and craftspeople, including some fantastic artists from around Ely,” she said. “We have Tom McDonald from Bear Island Art Factory who does recycled metal art, Dafne Caruso who does both jewelry and mixed media paintings, Ginny Stage who does embroidered textiles, Annette Mattingly who does pressed floral art, Ben Pawlak which features wooden crafts, and much more.”
Several of the new artists are also from Ely, including Brian and Jill Siegel who work with mixed media and Nina Wray who creates beautiful pottery.
“Our food court is filled with many popular vendors offering delicious treats including turkey croissants, fresh seafood, corn dogs, brats, cheese curds, authentic Mexican cuisine, barbecues , waffles, funnel cakes, oriental food and frozen yogurt,” Cashman said.
The Ely Kiwanis are again in the pavilion this year with their delicious blueberry pies, ice cream and sandwiches. The beer tent is also back this year with proceeds going to support the Ely Fire Department and its activities.
Pengal’s Basswood Trading will carry Blueberry/Art Festival blueberry t-shirts, sweatshirts and pop. “There really is something for everyone,” she added.
Visit the Ely Chamber of Commerce booth for their first annual Blueberry Button/Art Festival. The macaroons are only $5 each and the funds go to support the festival. Macarons are also available at the chamber office at 1600 E Sheridan St. in Ely.
The third annual Operation Blueberry event kicks off on Thursday, July 28. A map and list of participating businesses will be available on Friday July 22. Some companies offer sales and promotions on blueberries, while others organize special events. Cards will be available on the Ely.org website, at the chamber office, and at the chamber festival booth. The chamber booth will also showcase the coveted “Blueberry List” featuring arts, crafts, food and many other blueberry items donated by festival vendors.