Ely, MN (NNCNOW.com)
Cabin fever starts to hit us all this time of year.
Take one part beautiful sunny day and blend it with one part Ely's 20th Annual Winter Festival and you get a shutterbug's dream.
The photo ops were surely flying this weekend at the snow carver's symposium in the town's downtown Whiteside Park.
Carver Nancy Scheibe prepared her piece well ahead of time with a scale model.
"I chose Old Mother Hubbard so I'm going to build a giant shoe and I hope the kids will be able to go inside of it when done depending on the weather." said Scheibe.
The weather is much more compliant this year than last when snow had to be trucked in from nearby Shagawa Lake.
"That's nice. The snow is good. It's nice and white and there aren't a lot of ice chunks in it." said Scheibe.
The Winter Festival was developed 20 years ago by Bill and Gloria Miller.
Every year since then, the event has been promoted by Linda Fryer of the Ely Chamber of Commerce.
"It benefits the lodging, restaurants and it benefits the retail businesses. All of us know you can use a bump in the winter time." said Linda Fryer of the Ely Chamber of Commerce.
That bump also boosts the morale of the visitors who take part in the festival.
This year, at least one participant is from as far away as Russia.
This year will also be the last one that Linda Fryer promotes.
She's retiring in May after 25 years with the chamber.
"I plan to do some of the things that I've been so fortunate to promote around here and have some time to spend fishing, hiking and relaxing." said Fryer.
According to shoe carver Nancy Scheibe, that's the lifestyle many in Ely subscribe to.
"People who live in Ely love the winter. They like to be outside in the winter or summer. It doesn't matter." said Scheibe.
In Ely, Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.
The Ely Winter Festival will continue until February, 10th.