Sweet return: Ely Blueberry Arts Festival comes back after storm

Sweet return: Ely Blueberry Arts Festival comes back after storm
Published: Jul. 30, 2022 at 5:44 PM CDT
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ELY, MN. (KBJR) - The Ely Blueberry Arts Festival came back a year after it was canceled from a strong storm.

The Ely Blueberry Arts Festival welcomes people from all over the country, like Chiara Bowker, who bought Minnesota maple syrup.

“I liked the blueberry, I mean it’s what I ended up getting so,” they said.

Bowker is from the Big Apple and was shocked to see so many people in Ely.

“We’ve been coming into town pretty often on our off days,” Bowker said, “but like super small most of the time and this is like, oh wow, there’s a lot of people.”

But in 2021 there weren’t the crowds of thousands like there were Saturday.

A storm blew through Ely and wrecked several vendor booths forcing the festival to be canceled.

“Our booth was left standing, our neighbor’s was left standing,” Della Pleski said.

The Pleski’s have been vendors at the festival since 1992, and they keep coming back for the people and the park.

“The people here are just wonderful, they treat us so kindly, the park is a great place to have it, it’s a very safe environment,” she said.

Pleski has been hand weaving baskets for over four decades since her son Todd was born.

“And guess what? There’s still baskets I can hardly wait to make,” Pleski said “my favorite one is the next one I’m gonna make.”

And just like pieces of wood weaved together, Pleski said the Ely community came together to clean up after the storm.

“All the neighbors came into the park to help everybody, whatever they needed to do,” she said.

And now thousands turned out to support booths that were once debris.

“Just made me feel real good to see that support,” Pleski said.

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