Festival weather warms

20th annual celebration continues this weekend

K. Vandervort
Ely visitors brave sub-zero weather last weekend during the ArtWalk. This weekend's temperatures are forecast to be much milder.
Keith Vandervort

ELY – Frigid temperatures and sunny skies greeted Winter Festival attendees during the first couple of days of the 20th annual event in Ely. Activities continue his weekend.

The cold temperatures were welcomed by the dozens of participants in the International Snow Sculpting Symposium at Whiteside Park as they made possible intricate and detailed sculpting work. This year’s theme is “Poetry and the Written Word.” The park is full of professional works of art.

The cold temperatures may have kept away some spectators in the mornings, but the Voyageur Encampment participants hada roaring bonfire going to add warmth to those who needed it. Several tepees and tents and hardy campers spent the weekend in Whiteside Park.

The second annual Boathouse Winter was postponed to this weekend because of the extreme cold Saturday morning. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and activities, including snowshoeing and Nordic skiing, start at 10 a.m. at the Miner’s Lake boat launch.

Brave souls walked up and down the streets of Ely to enjoy the ArtWalk, featuring the work of more than 135 visual artists.

Sara Strom, Michele Richards and Marlene Zorman, all of Ely, said the sunny side of the street was more bearable as they walked up the hill on Chapman Street near the WELY station. “The sun feels nice,” but the wind is a little too cold,” said Richards.

A reception was hosted by A Taste of Ely to meet the artists and talk about their work.

Nancy Haden-Meyer of Wisconsin was especially intrigued by the work of local photographer Ken Hupila. “I can’t believe how sharp and colorful his images are,” she said after talking to him.

St. Anthony Church Hall hosted many artists from the Northern Lakes Arts Association for their annual arts and crafts fair. Jean Gendreau and Kim McCluskey, both of Ely, welcomed the chance to warm up while at the same time enjoying looking at the many items for sale.

Twin Metals Minnesota held an open house at their Miner’s Drive office and many people took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the mine’s operations. Twin Metals Director of Geology Renan Argandona described the contents of many core samples to Judy Krish of Ely. “It is just fascinating that they can get these samples out from so far below the surface,” she said.

The Winter Festival continues this weekend with many events. The ArtWalk displays are still available for viewing. This week’s cold temperatures have preserved the snow sculptures in Whiteside Park.

An ice fishing contest will be held Feb. 9 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Shagawa Lake. A snowshoe hike on Hegman Lake begins at 11 a.m. and the Snowmobile Radar Run on White Iron Lake runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 9.

The International Wolf Center will have a presentation Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. The Dorothy Molter Museum Fundraising Dinner will be held at Grand Ely Lodge on Feb. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m.

The Mesabi Community Orchestra Concert will be held Feb. 10 at 2:30 p.m.


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