The second weekend in August brings Canoe Country Traditions, a three-day celebration of classes featuring the importance of canoes in our region’s history as well as traditional crafts such as caning, carving and cooking. Canoes have been a primary form of transport throughout the region’s history. You can even participate in helping to build the traditional birch bark canoe on site (Tuesday and Wednesday, August 8-9 and 15-16).

Soak up some history and take a walking tour of Ely’s famous canoes located in town. The tours are a fundraiser for the Minnesota Canoe Museum. Tickets are $10 and available at the Ely Folk School where the tours will start start at the at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM on Saturday, August 12.

Carve Your Own Paddle is a two-day class, Friday, Aug. 11 and Sat., Aug. 12. Join us for a Paddle to the Pictographs on Hegman Lake on Fri., Aug. 11. You’ll learn some history and enjoy lunch in this exquisite setting. Saturday’s classes include Whitewater Canoeing Techniques, Steam Bending Wood, and learning to make Slovene Walnut Potica. The caning techniques you’ll learn on in the Caned Foot Stool class can be used to repair your canoe seats or dining room chairs.

Saturday night at 7:00 PM, some local paddlers will share their stories about their long-distance canoe adventures. This event is co-sponsored by the MN Canoe Museum, which currently features a display of nine canoes at the Ely Folk School, each with a unique story,

Sunday brings opportunities to learn Emergency Canoe Rescue techniques and how to make an Antler Basket Tray or  traditional Pasties. It is a full weekend packed with opportunities to learn some traditional skills and make some new friends. Most classes are open to ages 12 and up, but call ahead to check the age requirements.