While the West Coast ArtWalks continue with perfect weather this winter… Ely Minnesota ArtWalk cold “fronts” their creative talent.
Ely’s Winter Festival and ArtWalk opens Thursday, February 4 and continues through Sunday, February 14, 2016. This annual celebration of winter in the north offers outdoor activities, both muscle- and engine-powered; indoor cultural and social events; and the ArtWalk, which combines the best of indoor and outdoor.
A highlight and centerpiece of the Festival is the International Snow Sculptors’ Symposium in Whiteside Park. Professional snow carvers attend from all over North America, transforming huge blocks of snow into castles, Buddhas, octopi, dancers and other fanciful figures. This year, we have 45 carvers including a team of sand carvers from Mexico!
The park will be busy all week. An ice-skating rink will be open to the public, except when the hockey teams and figure skaters are demonstrating their skills. Fat-tired bikes, winter campers, dog-sledding demonstrations, and a Kubb (Swedish lawn-bowling) tournament can all be expected. Offerings away from the park include an ice-fishing contest, broomball tournament, guided snowshoe hikes, and candlelit cross-country skiing.
If you prefer central heating with your winter, you’re in luck. You’ll find live music, a spaghetti feed, a Carvers’ Jam, a Valentine’s Day concert, and a crafts fair. A talent show, the second annual Beard Fest, and classes at the new Ely Folk School are also on the schedule.
The Festival’s companion event, the Ely ArtWalk, turns the whole town into an art gallery and market. Over 100 local artists display over 400 pieces of their work in the windows of Ely’s merchants. Expect to see paintings, photographs, fabric art, metalwork, glasswork, pottery, sculpture, and more. It gives new meaning to the term “window shopping.”
Winter Festival coordinator Shauna Vega comments, “We love winter up here, and you will, too. With so many new sponsors and new activities, Ely is the place to be. There is truly something for everybody.”
The Ely Winter Festival and Ely ArtWalk are funded in part by grants from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund), the Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, the Ely Chamber of Commerce, local merchants, organizations and individuals. Thanks to the City of Ely for its support and contribution to this event.
The Ely Winter Festival and Ely ArtWalk are nonprofit, volunteer-driven events that celebrate life and culture in the north. The Festival is a 501(c)3 nonprofit org.