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Ely Winter Festival Ready to Roll

Event date: 2/6/2020 - 2/16/2020 Export event

Event Location: Ely Winter Festival

Ely Winter Festival Ready to Roll

Thursday, Feb. 6th and runs through Sunday, Feb. 16th.

  ELY, MINNESOTA -  February 1, 2020  (LSN)  The Ely Winter Festival begins on Thursday, Feb. 6th and runs through Sunday, Feb. 16th. During those jam-packed ten days, visitors will have many events and activities to choose from.  The snow blocks are up in Whiteside Park, ArtWalk volunteers are filling Ely’s storefront windows with beautiful art, and event planners are finalizing their plans. The EWF Board of Directors and many volunteers have been working hard to offer new and traditional events that will enhance visitors’ enjoyment of winter. Use the beautiful EWF brochure, available at local businesses, as your guide, or go to and click on Events.

Of course, the most popular events, such as the International Snow Sculpting Symposium, the Ely Community Resource Spaghetti Feed, and the Ely ArtWalk, will be back. This year, 13 teams from Minnesota, the Upper Midwest, and Canada will transform their designs into amazing giant sculptures. Thousands of people walk through the park throughout the festival. The first weekend, visitors will be able to interact with the sculptors, who love talking about their designs.

Amateur individuals, families, and groups will carve smaller “amateur blocks” Feb. 1 – 8, with judging and prizes awarded on Saturday afternoon.

For the first time, professional sculptors are mentoring several high school and Vermilion Community College art students and VCC’s interim art instructor Abbey Blake on snow carving. They will work together on two large blocks in the park. VCC’s art instructor Chris Koivisto, who is on sabbatical, will be one of the mentors.

After a short hiatus, the Great Nordic Beardfest is back at the BoatHouse Brewpub, Friday the 7th , 6-9. Spectators will be amazed by the tonsorial talent on display. Registration in six categories can be done on the Beardfest’s website.

The Ely Folk School has again created dozens of classes to choose from throughout the ten-day festival. It will be hub of activity.

Other popular events are the KUBB Tournament in the park and NLAA’s Downtown Art Market at Amici’s Ceremony Hall on West Sheridan St. Live music includes the Valentine’s Day Concert with singer-songwriter Courtney Yasmineh joined by Tim Stouffer in the beautifully restored Society Hall upstairs of Northern Ground, and the Lumberjack and Lumberjill Party with Van and the Free Candies at Piragis Northwoods Company on Feb. 15. With so many things happening, everyone will find in the brochure just the events that suit them.

Festival Headquarters are at Northern Grounds Coffee and Wine Bar, 2 W. Sheridan St. Winter Festival pins, T-shirts, and other items will be available for sale. Tower’s Doug Petersen has signed on to carve Northern Grounds’s snow block next to the building. Nancy Scheibe and her team will again carve the Front Porch’s traditional rendition of the beautiful Wolf, Bear, Moose EWF pin, designed by Nancy herself. Check out the block at the Grand Ely Lodge, being carved by Emma Kari, a recent Ely graduate who designed the 2018 EWF pin.

The Ely Winter Festival and the Ely ArtWalk are funded in part by grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage find), the Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, the Ely Chamber of Commerce, the City of Ely, and local merchants, organizations, and individuals. Major sponsors are Ely Family Dental, Fortune Bay Resort and Casino, Grand Ely Lodge, Steger Mukluks, Twin Metals, and Zup's. Almost every restaurant in town donates a meal to every carver to be used during their stay in Ely. Thank You!


Event CityEly
Event AddressWhiteside Park,
  • 1 February 2020
  • Author: Robert McKenzie
  • Number of views: 4159
  • Comments: 0
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