Nobody does Winter better!
The slogan for the Ely Winter Festival seems to be thrumming through the veins of everyone who lives up here in the Northwoods. The thermometer outside my home was awfully close to -40 degrees for several mornings – that one magical temperature where Fahrenheit and Celsius align, and where we’ve agreed that 40° below is just cold, no labels necessary. And yet, despite the frigid temperatures, locals and visitors alike spent their days wandering downtown Ely’s outdoor Art Walk, sculpting pictures out of snow, and learning to play the indigenous game Snow Snakes with EFS in Whiteside Park. We left our warm houses even after the sun had gone down to play a Mystery Animal Tracks game and listen to Bois Forte elder, Char Lewis share Anishinaabe stories. We helped our neighbors shovel their sidewalks and haul birch to the wood stove. I, for one, made it through the cold with help from hand-sewn outdoor gear and freshly roasted coffee, all made right here in Ely. I even saw a few people wearing their beaver hats, which they had sewn at EFS with instructors Bert Hyde and Mark Olson! 

As much as we embrace the cold, most of my time has actually been spent inside cozying up with my mending and my dog. I enjoy time learning from elders, like through our Anishinaabe Storytelling program which is now available both at EFS and via Zoom. On days when the thermometer rises above 0℉, perhaps I’ll check out who wandered through my front yard, using skills learned from Steve’s animal tracking classes and tracking game night or stare up at the sky and wonder at the stars. And, on the coldest of those days when my toes simply refuse to enjoy any more time outside,  I’ll instead celebrate Spring early, with Lacey’s Brazilian Happy Hour class or Laura’sNeedle Felted Hummingbird class.

So, whether you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor adventure, I think we can agree that Ely Winter Festival is right – Nobody does Winter better. 

Lucy Soderstrom, Program Coordinator

March Class List

Anishinaabe Storytelling with Char Lewis
 March 2 at 7:00 pm – $10/person; $15/family; Free for Band Members

Anishinaabe Storytelling: Live Online with Char Lewis

  March 2 at 7:00 pm – $15

Hammer & Tongs & More: Making Basic Tools with the Forging Community
  March 4 at 5:00 pm & March 5 at 9:00 am – $140

Happy Hour in Rio: Coxinhas & Caipirinhas: Live Online with Lacey Squier 
  March 10 at 6:30 pm & March 11 at 5:00 pm  *Sliding Scale Tuition

Writing With Your Child, For Your Child with John Kopp
  Thursdays, March 10, 17, 24, 31, April 7 & 14 at 6:30 pm – $80

Irish Tatted Lace with Nora Rickey 
  March 17 at 4:00 pm – $51

Stained Glass Studio with Betty Firth
  Mondays, March 21, 28 & April 4 at 2:00 pm – $148

Anishinaabe Storytelling Potluck
  March 23 at 5:30 pm – FREE

Anishinaabe Storytelling with Char Lewis
  March 23 at 7:00 pm –  $10/person; $15/family; Free for Band Members

Anishinaabe Storytelling: Live Online with Char Lewis
  March 23 at 7:00 pm – $15

Needle Felt a Hummingbird: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  March 24 at 1:00 pm – $76

Unlocking the Night Sky with Bob King

  March 25 at 7:30pm – $30

The Maasepän Puukko with Paige May 
  March 26 & 27 at 9:00 am – $300

April Class List

Need Felt an Easter Egg: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  April 7 at 1:00 pm – $81

Slovenian Walnut Potica with Lacey Squier
  April 10 at 1:00 pm *Sliding Scale Tuition

Slovenian Walnut Potica: Live Online with Lacey Squier
  April 10 at 1:00 pm – $42

May Class List

Woodblock Carving 101 with Jessie Merriam

  May 7 at 1:00 pm – $56

Looking for a meaningful and casual way to volunteer?

Every single Ely Folk School class benefits from the volunteerism of a class host.

Hosts serve as an Ely Folk School representative present in both virtual and in-person classes; they welcome students, execute some basic tasks (such as securing signed liability waivers and photo releases), as well as monitor and track questions. Hosts answer basic questions about the Ely Folk School, and ensure all participants feel welcome.

Contact Nora Rickey at to volunteer!

Buy a gift certificate for friends and family to take a class at Ely Folk School 
Gift Certificate
The Ely Folk School is made possible by: Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, Lake Country Power, Minnesota State Arts Board, Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment, and Rotary International.