March (parade) on the 4th

Flyover, procession on parade route, fireworks on Independence Day

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s first Patriotic March highlights an unconventional Independence Day celebration town.
Both the official July 4 parade and festivities in Whiteside Park were casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, but the march, set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, has the look of a traditional parade.
It will use the traditional parade route as well as an additional five blocks to allow people to spread out.
Earlier in the day, people should look to the sky as another Ely Fourth staple - a military plane flyover - is in the works.
Retired Air Force pilot and Ely American Legion post commander Steve Saari announced Wednesday that “the 148th Fighter Wing from Duluth will salute the celebration of our independence on the Fourth of July with a 2 ship Block 50 F-16 flyover from east to west down Sheridan Street.”
The flyover is scheduled to take place some time between 11:15 and 11:25 a.m. on Saturday.
Saari said that Ely is one of two cities selected, along with St. Cloud, for the flyover.
“Get out on the street and cheer the sound of freedom,” said Saari.
The flyover leads up to an event that was put together in the last several weeks, after the city of Ely joined numerous other communities in Minnesota in cancelling the annual parade.
The march was planned in its place by the newly-formed Ely Patriotic Club, and neither city nor state approval was required because it is being called a march rather than a parade.
City officials gave their blessing June 16 and plans have quickly come together.
The march will be led by the Ely Area Honor Guard and will include fire trucks, floats, bikes and a plethora of groceries and goodies distributed by Zup’s Food Market.
Because of the pandemic, some adjustments to Ely’s usual parade festivities are in order.
Most notably, people will not be allowed to set out chairs overnight to reserve viewing spots. Any chairs set out in advance may be confiscated.
To allow for more social distancing, the route will also be longer than usual.
The lineup will begin on Stukel Way (Seventh Avenue East) next to Veterans Memorial Field, and participants will travel on Harvey Street to Second Avenue East, turning right to Sheridan Street, and venturing east down Sheridan to finish on Eighth Avenue East.
Organizers say floats are welcome, and participants will include the Ely Klown Band, an Ely parade staple.
Commanders of Ely VFW Post 2717 and Ely American Legion Post 248 have shown their support for the march and indicated that veterans from both groups will take part.
Other July 4 events, including the post-parade festivities at Whiteside Park and various races won’t take place this year, but the annual fireworks show is set for dusk, with fireworks being set off over Miners Lake, but from a location further east from the traditional spot.
Miners Drive will be closed to traffic from Seventh Avenue East to 17th Avenue East, with barricades in place.