Fall events keep Ely rolling

The calendar has turned to late-September and October will be here within days.
A hectic summer in Ely has come to a close - one in which visitors yet again came to town by the thousands to enjoy what our area has to offer.
But it’s not over yet..
Summer is clearly not the only time to enjoy Ely and not the only time that the community serves as a venue for a major event.
Take this weekend and next as Exhibits A and B.
First is this weekend’s Ely Marathon followed up by one of the community’s most unique happenings - the Jake Forsman Memorial Car Show and Burnout Competition.
Both have carved their own niche and attract their own followings, but make no mistake - both are major happenings in our town.
In its brief history, the Ely Marathon has taken off.
What started as a concept has turned into a weekend of late-September fun.
There’s really something for everybody, starting with the 5K Glow Run which serves as a warm-up for those looking to run greater distances in Saturday morning’s 26.2-mile full marathon and the 13.1-mile half marathon.
And we wouldn’t be Ely if we didn’t add something Elyesque to the mix, and that’s what organizers have done by launching the canoe portage division to the races. Where else but Ely might one see a marathon runner coming down Sheridan Street with a canoe atop his or her head?
The marathon isn’t only for those who participate. Whiteside Park serves as a hub with food trucks, music, events for kids, beverages and an all-around festive atmosphere.
Marathon participants, their friends and family and even curious onlookers will find something to do at the park this weekend.
The marathon comes with some issues, most notably the road closures and traffic detours associated with such an event, but it’s a small price to pay for what Marathon weekend means to the town. And by mid-afternoon Saturday, any traffic issues will be gone.
That leads us to another “only in Ely” happening on Saturday, Oct. 1, the car show and burnout competition.
Started by Al Forsman in tribute to and in memory of his late son Jake, this event also has taken on a life of its own in just a handful of years.
The area around City Hall is sure to be packed with people next Saturday, looking at the classic cars on display and taking in the sights and sounds of the burnout competition.
For a few hours, there’s noise and squealing tires and burned rubber.
It’s a different sort of fun than what the marathon brings the week before but it’s fun just the same. And obviously unique.
The Forsman event spurs the local economy on an otherwise quiet weekend, bringing folks to town and getting locals out of their homes and downtown.
And it’s for a good cause, with better than $35,000 raised for college scholarships for students pursuing careers in building and mechanical trades. That includes $12,000 raised last year alone.
Neither of these events - the marathon and the car show/burnout competition - happen on their own.
Both take months of planning and organization, and a bevy of volunteers who are devoting their valuable time for the benefit of our community.
Hats off to those who are working behind the scenes to bring these events to town and make them happen. They both make an impact.
In many ways, Ely has become an event-driven town, and the Ely Marathon and the Jake Forsman Memorial Car Show and Burnout Competition prove that summer isn’t the only time things happen here.