Terry Mattson: Summer may be over, but visitors will still find much to do in the areaIf visitor behavior remains somewhat consistent with past years, we can still expect significant amounts of visitors through mid-October.
By: Terry Mattson, Budgeteer News
It’s that time of year, once again, when most of us ask ourselves where summer went. With Labor Day on Monday, and most kids going back to school next week, it seems like the next logical stop on the calendar is autumn.
Don’t be fooled, though: Duluth’s tourism industry is providing visitors with a full calendar of events in September.
Although 2009 has been far different from any of the past 20 years, summer indicators show that Duluth continues to be at the top of Minnesota’s premier destinations. If visitor behavior remains somewhat consistent with past years, we can still expect significant amounts of visitors through mid-October.
This weekend kicks off with Pride Fest. Thousands will celebrate a fabulous summer of Pride in the Twin Ports this Labor Day weekend. The 23rd year of Pride will be commemorated all weekend at Bayfront Festival Park.
Hawk Weekend begins Friday, Sept. 11, bringing thousands of impassioned birders from around the country to the Hawk Ridge nature reserve. It is one of North America’s best places to experience the spectacle of the fall raptor migration. Some birds travel from as far away as the Arctic and pass through Duluth on their way to their wintering areas to the south. On a good day, visitors may see hundreds — even thousands — of birds flying by!
If that wasn’t enough, that same weekend marks the first-ever Duluth Lakewalk Festival. From Sept. 11-13, visitors and residents alike are invited to hit the Lakewalk and enjoy all that it has to offer during this celebration, and also experience the neighboring downtown and waterfront businesses.
Next, the 25th annual Duluth Parks & Recreation Fall Festival will take place at beautiful Chester Bowl Park Sept. 19. There will be more than 100 booths featuring crafts, fresh local produce and tasty fall foods. One of the most popular attractions is the farmers’ market.
That Saturday, Sept. 19, thousands of skaters roll through Duluth for the 14th annual NorthShore Inline Marathon. It’s the largest inline event in North America with a half marathon, full marathon, corporate challenge, expo, spaghetti feed, awards ceremony and kids’ sprint.
September events culminate with the Lester River Rendezvous Saturday, Sept. 26. Travel back in time along the autumn banks of the Lester River, to rendezvous with voyageurs of the fur trading days. Park your car and ride the free Rendezvous Express Train Shuttle with stops at 26th Avenue East, 46th Avenue East and 61st Avenue East. Experience the traditions of long ago and our tradition of strong community.
It’s hard to believe, but there are even more September events throughout the month — too many to list here! So you can be sure that, although Labor Day weekend is upon us, Visit Duluth and the entire tourism industry is planning for a very eventful month.
For more information on any of these events, call Visit Duluth at 722-4011.
Terry Mattson is the president and CEO of Visit Duluth, the city’s convention and visitor’ bureau. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.