Bunches Out for Blueberries and Baubles

Ely Hosts Blueberry Art Festival

Ely, Minn- Ely was ripe for the picking as the 38th Annual Blueberry Arts Festival took place.

The small town became a bustling metropolis as the Blueberry Festival brought bunches of Minnesotans, other Americans, and even foreigners to Whiteside Park.

“Ely is a huge destination for people from all over the world. So we do have people from other countries at the festival also,” said Festival Coordinator Ellen Cashman.

Overall, she says attendance was grand.

“I think that when all is said and done we’re going to find that the numbers of people that attended were above what we’ve seen in the past.”

Perhaps that is why the blueberry goodies were harvested so quickly. By the afternoon the festival ran through 588 blueberry pies and slices, and 69 gallons of blueberry ice cream. No more left.

The pies started baking Wednesday, with bakers working four hours for the next two days cranking out the fresh and fruity goodness. All proceeds from the food benefited local and international children’s’ projects.

For the committed cooks of the Kiwanis organization, it was all worth it.

“It’s a no brainer,” said Kiwanis Ice Cream Philosopher Tom Kobierski. “You come and you work really hard for 3 days and every time you put your scoop in here you’re helping the kids in the community. And what better service is there in life, is to help people?”

Blueberries are the hot summer trend in Ely. Makeup, candles, honey, all branded with blueberries. You can even dress up your ears in, you guessed it, blueberries.

But the true blue blueberry buffs get here early for their favorite treat. Some might even turn blue from eating so much, happily.

“I love it so much that I can have like 15 lbs of it,” said young blueberry lover Gabe Petilia. According to his calculations, he picked even more than that.

“Like five thousand billion,” he said with glee.

No wonder they ran out so quickly.

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