• Amanda Vanderbeek

    Amanda Vanderbeek

    Class of 2012
    Ely, MN
    Elementary education

    Amanda's Bio:
    I grew up in the Twin Cities, but now live up in Ely, MN near the BWCA, where my family has been for the last 7 years. I have three brothers, who I adore, and I enjoy fishing, playing basketball, and rough housing with them whenever I can. My mom has been a daycare provider since I was born, which served as inspiration for me to pursue a degree in Elementary education. I also love to paint, draw, and DANCE! I have been dancing for twenty years and am a dance instructor in Superior, WI....I can't imagine a life without it!

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    Gweru, Zimbabwe
    Health Information Management, CIS minor

    Daniela Moreno Gomez

    San Salvador, El Salvador
    Computer Information Systems and Finance

    Shauney Moen

    Graduate Student
    Oak Grove, MN
    Doctorate of Physical Therapy

    Laila Zemar

    Casablanca, Morocco
    Biochemistry, Biology and Pre-med

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    M.S. Health Information Management

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    Accounting Major; Finance minor

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    Elementary Education

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    Mora, MN

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    Biology and Chemistry (Pre-Med)

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    Apple Valley, MN

    Jason Chavez

    Minneapolis, MN
    Psychology, Organizational Behavior, and Social Work

    Conrado Eiroa Solans

    Madrid, Spain
    Psychology Major, Biology minor

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    Bogotá, Colombia
    Marketing and Business Management

Blueberry. Arts. Blueberry Arts!

This weekend marks a very important time for the small town of Ely. Hundreds of tourists flock up here for the well-known Blueberry Arts Festival, which takes place right in Whiteside Park in town. There are two primary focuses for celebration, which are (you guessed it!), succulent wild blueberries and art/crafts from locals and out-of-towners alike. In this post, we will focus on the first part of the festival: blueberries. The main idea behind blueberries in the festival is how they can be incorporated into delicious recipes and can be picked in the area. There is rampant blueberry picking, blueberry dishes from food vendors, and blueberry dishes that are featured in the local restaurants. Here are some of my favorite blueberry dishes (and recipes!) for the festival:

Blueberry CinnaMuffins (Sooooo easy!)


  • Blueberry Muffin Mix
  • Blueberry Muffin Tops cereal
  • Cinnamon sugar


Prepare blueberry muffin mix as directed.  Stir in 2 cups of crushed Muffin Tops cereal.  Ladle into a lined or greased muffin pan, 2/3 of the way full.  Bake as directed.  When muffins come out, sprinkle each with cinnamon and sugar and allow them to cool completely.

Blueberry Ice Tea

  • 1 (16-oz.) package frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tea bags
  • 3/4 cup sugar


  1. Cook blueberries and lemon juice in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, strain the mixture, and discard the solid fruit.
  2. Bring 4 cups water to a boil and add 3 tea bags.  Let stand 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir in sugar and blueberry juice mixture. Pour into a pitcher and serve over ice.  Garnish with fresh blueberries. Yummy!!


What other sorts of blueberry concoctions are featured by local restaurants and Elyites in honor of the festival? 

  • Blueberry Pancakes: These are made by literally EVERYONE during arts.  Whether homemade from scratch at a restaurant and paired with fresh drawn honey butter or stirred into pancake mix and cooked over a bonfire, these are a necessity.
  • Blueberry Scones: Up in Ely, scones are a very popular eat.  Here, we mix them with sour cream to make them extra soft and stir in frozen blueberries.  After baking, we top them with a sugary glaze and enjoy. Yummmy!
  • Blueberry Cocktails: Whether you go to the Ely Steakhouse, Dee’s Bar, or any other lounge up in Ely during Blueberry Arts, everyone will be featuring some sort of blueberry-themed libation.  Margaritas, daiquiris, and mojitos are common.
  • Blueberry Ice Cream: Many restaurants order ice cream to sell specifically for the festival during this time of the year.  Blueberry Cheesecake, Wild Blueberry, and Wildberry are all common best sellers. 
  • Blueberry Pie: Made from fresh picked blueberry bushes in town or purchased from the store, you can’t go wrong with fresh blueberry pie!  We top ours with fresh whipped cream and fresh wild blueberries to make this dessert extra special.

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