ELY- The 39th annual Blueberry/Art Festival here was bigger and better than ever, with close to 300 vendors and tens of thousands of visitors descending on the city at the end of the road last …
ELY- The 39th annual Blueberry/Art Festival here was bigger and better than ever, with close to 300 vendors and tens of thousands of visitors descending on the city at the end of the road last weekend.
“We started this whole thing in the early 1980s on a side street off Sheridan,” said organizer Ellen Cashman, of the Ely Chamber of Commerce, as she sat beside a flower garden under a shade tree in Whiteside Park early Sunday morning. “Now just look around. We have hundreds of artists and crafters here and thousands and thousands of visitors to our wonderful town over the course of three days.”
“We had lots of new vendors again this year, and it seems like the turnover of artists and crafts people was bigger than ever, Cashman said. “That keeps our festival fresh and new for everyone— those who make the trek up north every year and those who are here for the first time.” She noted there were about 85 new vendors this year.
Crowds were ready to hit the park right away Friday morning when the festival opened. “It was constant all day,” she said. “We did close an hour early on Friday afternoon because of the rain and wind that hit Ely. We opened up the school as a shelter from the storm, but no problems were reported.”
Other than the end-of-the day rain, the weekend turned out to be “perfect festival weather,” Cashman said. “We had 600 homemade blueberry pies this year, and we had some with fresh wild blueberries that were just picked last week. Visitors to the Ely area could enjoy another bumper crop of berry-picking opportunities this year during the festival.” As usual, the pies were sold out on Sunday.
Cashman revealed the winners in the art and crafts categories:
Art - first place, A to Z Creative Art, second place, Ryan Tischer Photography, third place, Watercolors by Bonnie;
Craft – first place, Cyrus the Potter, second place, Close Quarters Studio, third place, Weagel Works.
“We have a fantastic variety of art and craft from so many professional people,” Cashman said. “I am impressed by the work of all our vendors.Overall, I am pleased with the results again this year, and I have to thank the city of Ely and the Ely Police Department for their fabulous job. We could not do this without their help.”