Some magic for Harvest Moon; 24th festival features arts, crafts, food and unique entertainment acts

by Tom Coombe
Visitors to Ely’s second major festival of the year are in for a bit of magic.
Magician Kelvin Saline and his Magic Village Show will entertain those who come to Whiteside Park for the 24th annual Harvest Moon Festvial, slated for Sept. 8-10.
The spinoff and much smaller version of Ely’s Blueberry/Art Festival has carved its own unique niche in its nearly quarter-century of existence, with entertainment acts serving as a major attraction.
The magic show is new to this year’s lineup, with Saline on tap for four performances over the weekend, two each on Saturday and Sunday of festival weekend.
According to a news release, Saline “is sure to be entertaining with demonstrations of magic blended with clean comedy and conversations with his ventriloquist dummy about why he was fired from his job.”
The magic show is just part of a full weekend of festivities at the city park for the Harvest Moon Festival, which is sponsored by the Ely Chamber of Commerce.
While the Chamber fills the park during Blueberry weekend with roughly 300 vendors, Harvest Moon offers more breathing room with about 125 vendors taking part this year.
Original artisans and crafters will sell photos, paintings, pottery and more. The park will also include an assortment of food booths and the Ely Jaycees’ beer garden.
Started in the 1990s as an offshoot of the Blueberry/Art Festival, Harvest Moon has become an event all its own.
While there are similarities, particularly with the arts and craft vendors, food court and musical acts, Harvest Moon has its own identity with a focus on entertainment.
That will continue in 2017 with the magic show, and much more.
Friday features the music of Timmy Haus at the park bandshell.
Haus, who has performed at previous festivals, sings a variety of genres from Paul Simon to Johnny Cash to the Counting Crows.
On Saturday, the feature act is a group of men who perform music from the 1800s, first appearing on stage as The Sons of Voyageur and performing songs from the fur trade era. Their second show of the day comes as The Pinery Boys, as the men dress as lumberjacks and sing songs that reflect the everyday life of logging camps.
One of Ely’s favorite singing groups, The Singing Slovenes, have two shows on the final day of the festival. Gospher Krek, a button box player from Slovenia, is back for another year.
The festival will also include a demonstration area, put on by the Ely Folk School.
Among the skills being demonstrated are bent willow chair making, flint knapping, copper smithing and pulling strudel.
Kids get in on the fun with pony rides, which have become a popular part of the festival.
A one-day Farmer’s Market is part of the festivities on Saturday, while the Ely Jaycees will operate their popular beer garden on all three days of the event.
The festival food court is back with the usual wide assortment of food items, including pizza, brats, hamburgers, barbecue beef, fries, cheese curds, mini donuts, frozen yogurt, chocolate chip cookies, and the Ely Kiwanis Club’s blueberry pie.

HARVEST HAPPENINGS

What: 24th Annual
Harvest Moon Festival

Where: Whiteside Park

When: Festival Hours
Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission: Free

Exhibitors: Approximately 125, including arts, handicrafts and food, plus musical
entertainment and a one-day Farmer’s Market

Festival Facts: The spinoff of the Blueberry/Art Festival has become an attraction in its own right. The event usually draws between 8,000 and 10,000 people.