Northeast Minnesota festivals bring music, art – Duluth News Tribune

While the arrival of August may seem to signal the approaching end of summer, in some places along the North Coast and Northland, festival season is just getting underway. There is much more art to see, music to listen to and food to eat in the North.

Here’s a look at what’s still to come:

Blueberry everything in Ely

The Blueberry Art Festival returns to Ely on Friday.

Ellen Schmidt / File 2019 / Duluth News Tribune

ELY – After a storm ended the festivities early at the 2021 Blueberry Arts Festival, the festival will return Friday at 10 a.m. to Whiteside Park.

Organizer Ellen Cashman has spent hundreds of hours planning the event’s layout with 200 art, craft and food vendors. “We are excited to have such a diverse group of artists and crafters, including some fantastic ones from the Ely area,” said Cashman. “There’s something for everyone.”

Artists will display jewelry, mixed media paintings, embroidered textiles, printed floral artwork, woodwork, ceramics and more. The festival is also a juried show and each applicant is selected by a panel of area artists and craftspeople, with winners selected in the arts and crafts categories on Friday morning.

And of course, there will be a variety of blueberry treats available for purchase from Ely Kiwanis, including pies, ice cream and sandwiches. Pengal’s Basswood Trading Co. will be selling Art Festival cranberry t-shirts, sweatshirts and t-shirts. There is also a “blueberry list” curated by the Ely Chamber of Commerce that features blueberry art, crafts and other items for sale for those looking for all things blueberry.

Festival ends Sunday at 4 p.m. For details, visit

Catch a traveling opera in a field, park or folk school

Truck Opera with Mixed Rain

Pickup Truck Opera Volume 2: The Magic Flute is Mixed Precipitation’s 2022 summer road trip opera.

Contributed / Mixed precipitation

NORTHERN MINNESOTA – For 14 years, Mixed Precipitation, a Twin Cities-based opera production company, has been touring Minnesota communities in late summer with its outdoor performances of popular operas told in new ways. This year’s show, “The Pickup Truck Opera–Volume Two: The Magic Flute,” will travel to several locations, including Cook, Ely, Embarrass, Hovland, Grand Marais and Finland, from Aug. 4-14, according to a release for press. from the organization.

The play features Mozart’s 1791 opera The Magic Flute, but brought to modern day and the near future. It retains Mozart’s fiery arias and choruses, but adds the boisterous rhythms of the 1990s. The show’s story follows young professionals as they enter professions with a high risk of burnout, such as teaching and health care.

The public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and beverages. Shows are free, but with a suggested donation of $10-$25 per person. Check the Mixed Precipitation website and social media for weather information on performance days.

To find a performance near you, visit

Celebrate Finnish Heritage in Finland (Minnesota)

T11.02.2017 -- Steve Kuchera -- 110417.F.DNT.ArtistSpacesC4 -- Kate and Bill Isles outside their cabin in Carlton County, which contains a small recording studio.  Steve Kuchera /

Kate and Bill Isles outside their cabin in Carlton County, which contains a small recording studio. They will perform at Tori Finland Marketplace and Music Fest.

Steve Kuchera / 2017 File / Duluth News Tribune

FINLAND – Looking for a place to celebrate all things Finnish? Look no further than the Finnish Historical Society’s 21st annual Finnish Tori Market and Music Festival at the Finnish Historic Site, 5653 Little Marais Road, on August 13.

Music will begin at 10 a.m. with Two Harbors Ukulele Group, Gene LaFond and Amy Grillo, Lindula Brothers, Bill and Kate Isles and Josh Agacki.

“This is truly a musical event with something for everyone,” said a release from the Finnish Historical Society.

Visitors can also immerse themselves in Finnish culture with tours of the Historic Site museum, which features a sauna, forest building, log cabin, and a school. There will be artist and blacksmith demonstrations and a variety of arts and crafts vendors. Try your hand at traditional outdoor games like molkky, a Finnish lawn game.

The festival is free; however, free will donations will be accepted for on-site parking. Proceeds will benefit the Minnesota Historical Society of Finland.

Learn more at

Strum along with ukulele players from around the world

About 100 ukulele players hold their instruments in the air.

Ukulele players hold their ukuleles in the air and cheer after a long performance as part of the 2018 Silver Creek International Ukulele Carnival.

File / Lake County News-Chronicle

SILVER CREEK – If you’ve had a taste of Tori fest ukulele music but want exponentially more, Silver Creek has you covered August 18-21.

Organized by Two Harbors Ukulele Group, the Silver Creek International Ukulele Festival is a four-day uke festival held annually since 2011. Players of all skill levels, from extreme beginners to professionals, gather at the Silver Creek Music Pavilion to dance along to “MUGs” (mass ukulele band songs).

The carnival includes performances by players from around the world, workshops on ukulele-related topics and a free performance where over 200 players perform songs they’ve worked on over the weekend.

This year’s carnival begins a day earlier than usual, on August 18, with a concert at Thomas Owens Memorial Park in Two Harbors at 7 p.m. Then the festival starts in earnest on Friday in the music pavilion with workshops, MUG rehearsals and strum hours.

For more information on the festival, visit Participants are encouraged to register online before August 8, or in person at the festival.

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