Winter events kick into high gear with the Fun Run on January 28

Twenty years ago there was a snowmobile parade right down Sheridan Street. The machines were lined up off Third Avenue and headed west, turning on Central Avenue. The Weather Channel even filmed what turned out to be the largest snowmobile parade at the time.
That parade was in celebration of the second year of the Arctic Blast, an event started by area leaders that continues today as the Fun Run.
Still snowmobile based but open to anyone who would like to participate, the Fun Run is the start of the winter event season. The Ely Winter Festival follows on its heels with events like the Snow Sculpture Symposium and Beard Fest. There’s also the WolfTrack Classic dog sled race.
For those who live here year round, winter isn’t a time to hibernate, it’s a time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. When the trout season outside the BWCA opened last Saturday there was a winter traffic jam on Miners Drive with 24 vehicles vying for a spot to park to get down to Miners Lake.
We’re very fortunate to have a great winter trail system up here including snowmobiling and cross country skiing. And if you would like to snowshoe, there’s plenty of places to do that as well. We have several sled dog operations in the area who can take you for a day trip or overnight if you’d like to experience winter camping.
Events like the Fun Run and the Winter Festival helped to showcase all that we have to offer up here in the winter months. And if you’re more of an inside person you can always stop in to one of the youth hockey tournaments being held at our local ice arena.
There won’t be a parade of snowmobiles this year on Sheridan Street for the Fun Run but there will be plenty of traffic on the Taconite and Tomahawk trails as well as the lake systems that connect Ely to Babbitt and Tower.
Monies raised from the Fun Run go right back into the trail systems through donations given to the snowmobile clubs in Ely, Babbitt and Tower.
Those trail systems help to bring much needed dollars into town. On Thursday the Northland 300 Snowmobile Ride came to Ely and started their trek down our trail system.
Be sure to check out the Fun Run event this weekend, you can register up until Wednesday for just $25 at www.snowmobilefunrun.com.