Ely Brings in Crowd of 40,000 for 39th Annual Blueberry Arts Festival

Ely celebrates with the 39th annual Blueberry Arts Festival

ELY, Minn.- It’s the biggest gathering of the year in Ely- the Blueberry Arts Festival.

“We don’t miss Blueberry Fest, and we don’t miss blueberry pie,” Catherine Farley said.

Ely’s premiere Summer event brings in about 300 vendors selling everything from blueberry themed art to clothes to syrups, but it’s no surprise which blueberry themed item is the crowd favorite.

“Topping the list is the Kiwanis fresh–baked blueberry pie,” Chamber of Commerce event director Ellen Cashman said.

A thousand pounds of wild picked blueberries are baked into 600 pies and sold at the festival for the Kiwanis organization’s biggest fundraiser raising almost $10 thousand for kids in the area.

“They’re made at the hospital kitchen. There’s two women there and they do this as volunteers. They mix together the blueberries and then we come in, after they’ve got all this made and then put on the tops,” Kiwanis volunteer Susan Smith said.

Catherine Farley has been going to the blueberry festival since she was 5 years old and says you just can’t find blueberries like this at the grocery store.

“Every time we come here, we try to get blueberry pie. If we come in the morning, we’ll have the blueberry pancakes and we’ll stay in the afternoon and have the pie. We don’t miss the pie with the blueberry cheesecake ice cream… It’s the bomb,” Farley said.

City officials think the pies are the perfect representation of what the festival is about.

“We’re fortunate to have such beauty, to be surrounded by such beauty. Not only the natural things, but the art, too,” Cashman said.

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