“Rock the Park” on July 2

Concert at Whiteside will kick off Ely’s Fourth festivities

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s Fourth of July celebration will start a couple days early with a brand-new event.
Rock the Park is slated for Saturday, July 2, in Ely’s Whiteside Park, and organizers hope the first event will be come an annual one.
Two musical acts are set to perform in the city park, food and beverages will be on sale, and it’s shaping up to be the kickoff of a grand weekend celebration.
Ely’s Fourth of July committee is organizing and spearheading the event.
The group has been working for several years to expand the parade, which brings thousands downtown every year and has become known throughout northeastern Minnesota.
“We still are trying to make the parade bigger and better - attracting more visitors,” said Casey Velcheff, the city’s deputy clerk and a leader in the Fourth of July organizing efforts. “But, we also thought Ely could use even more independence day celebration by adding an annual music event in the park.”
The group has lined up two musical acts - The Northwoods Band and Steve Ernster - who figure to appeal to a broad audience.
“A few committee members have seen The Northwoods Band in the Duluth area and thought their cover music would be a hit with much of the Ely area,” said Velcheff.
The Northwoods Band has at least one familiar face - Hunter McCullough. Ely area residents may know McCullough through his “regular” job as a meteorologist for Duluth television station KBJR 6.
Ernster, meanwhile, lives and performs in the music capital of Nashville and is an occasional Ely summer visitor.
“He has played in Ely previously over the last summer or two,” said Velcheff.
The committee put those acts together to form a music event that will run from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Beverages will be sold by the Ely Fire Relief Association, while some regional food trucks are slated to set up in or around the park for the public event, with admission gained by purchase of an Ely Fourth of July button.
The committee has worked with numerous Ely area businesses who have contributed to the community’s July 4 events, which include the new concert, the parade and activities in Whiteside Park.
To make a contribution, please contact the Ely Events Committee at ElyEventsCommittee@gmail.com or mail a donation to Ely Events Committee, PO Box 231, Ely, MN 55731.