Storm rips through Blueberry Art Festival, forces cancellation of remainder of event

A photo from the Blueberry Art Festival Facebook page shows some of the damage from a storm that hit the event Friday night.

ELY -- The Ely Blueberry Art Festival was devastated Friday by a fast-moving storm with 60-70 mph winds roared through Whiteside Park, according to published media reports.

Duluth television station WDIO is also reporting the remainder of the festival was canceled due to the damage suffered by numerous vendors.

Around 9:15 p.m. Friday night, Ely Police Chief Chad Houde confirmed the event was being canceled. “Due to the severe storm damage in the Ely area and destruction of many of the Blueberry Arts vendors booths, the Ely Chamber of Commerce has made the decision to cancel the remainder of the Blueberry Festival.’’

“Due to the severe thunderstorm and damage caused around the Ely area,’’ the Ely Police Department said on its Facebook page, “we (are) asking the public use caution as there are power lines and trees down. Please avoid these areas. The City of Ely Public Works and Fire Department are out responding to lines and trees down. Please avoid the Whiteside Park area as Blueberry Arts vendors attempt to clean up their booths.’’

The Ely Echo first reported the news on Twitter saying, “Ely’s Blueberry Art Festival a shambles after fast moving storm with 60-70 mph winds blows through Whiteside Park.’

Ely Police also weren’t reporting any injuries from the storm, the Ely Echo reported.

Between 30,000 and 50,000 people were expected to attend the three-day event, which had about 200 vendors, an Ely Chamber of Commerce official said before the city’s signature summer event.


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