Ely's 40th annual Blueberry/Art Festival was canceled Friday after a severe storm ripped through the area, toppling trees, destroying vendor booths and downing power lines.
The festival, which typically draws 30,000 to 40,000 attendees each year, was set to run this weekend through Sunday. Event organizers had expected some 200 artists and crafters to participate.
"Tonight Ely, Minnesota was hit with high winds and severe weather. There were a number of Blueberry/Art Festival vendor booths that were destroyed or severely damaged. We have canceled the remainder of the festival," organizers wrote on Facebook.
Winds close to 70 mph battered the area. Photos and videos posted to social media show fallen trees, overturned tents and scattered goods dotting the festival site.
The Ely Echo reported the fire department was "flooded with calls" about trees that had fallen on houses and power lines in the area.
The severe thunderstorms knocked out power for thousands of Minnesotans.
Lake Country Power reported Saturday that about 3,800 customers were affected. Roughly 1,100 households — mostly in the area around Ely, Lake Vermilion and Cloquet — were still waiting for their power to be restored.
Minnesota Power said Saturday that its crews were working to quickly restore power to some 2,000 customers.
Storm gusts flipped multiple canoers on Trout Lake, just north of Lake Vermilion in St. Louis County, but all people were accounted for, said Jonathan Wolfe, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Duluth.
Blueberry/Art Festival organizers asked the public to avoid Whiteside Park, the site of the event, as they worked to clean up the wreckage.
"Thank you to the entire community for your support following the storm and as we continue the work today," organizers said.
Ryan Faircloth • 612-673-4234