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Storms bring destruction to Ely Blueberry/Arts Festival, forces cancellation

The event got underway on Friday, but has been canceled due to the storm damage.
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A thunderstorm brought winds at speeds of up to 70 mph to northern Minnesota Friday night, causing significant damage to the Ely Blueberry/Arts Festival.

Pictures and videos from the scene of the event in Ely's Whiteside Park shows numerous tents, booths, and trees were uprooted and strewn over the ground.

There are also reports of downed trees and power lines in other parts of the Northland, with Minnesota Power saying as of 7:30 a.m. it is dealing with outages affecting more than 2,700 properties.

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The festival started on Friday and was due to run until Sunday, but organizers have been forced to cancel it early as the cleanup commenced.

"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," an announcement came by Ely Police Department.

Among those impacted by the cancelation is Sarah Flicek, the owner of Felixery jewelry, who described in detail what she was as the storm hit about an hour after the festival had closed for the day.

"In a few moments I saw tents being taken over. I saw my own rise. But stay in place. Then a tree crashed behind me and I thought I need to get to where there are no trees," she wrote on Facebook.

She continued: "When I returned I found my four 50lb corner weights 50 ft away, I thought my tent was near them but it wasn’t my tent. Mine was a football field away, only stopped by another tent.

"Many vendors lost so much of their art. I only lost my tent, table and had a little damage to my display. All replaceable. I am thankful no one was hurt. There were some crazy people (you know who you are) who stayed out to try to save their tents. I am so thankful you were not injured."

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