Terry Mattson: Eight magnificent tall ships will sail into DuluthThis summer, I’d like to invite you to join us for Tall Ships Duluth 2010, a once-in-a-lifetime experience on Duluth’s shores.
By: Terry Mattson, Budgeteer News
I’d like to ask every reader for a favor. Think back to what seems like a very long time ago: the summer of 2008 — a time when the tenor of the world was much different. I’d also like to think that one of the reasons it was a little better was the grand parade of tall ships that passed under the Aerial Lift Bridge one July afternoon in front of thousands of cheering fans.
This summer, I’d like to invite you to join us for Tall Ships Duluth 2010, a once-in-a-lifetime experience on Duluth’s shores. Beginning July 28, Duluth welcomes eight tall ships for a full week of spectacle and events, giving residents and visitors alike a singular opportunity to catch a glimpse, or set foot aboard, some of the most heralded ships of yore. We anticipate it will be the biggest week ever in Duluth.
In preparation, we have enhanced our plans significantly compared to the 2008 event. To begin with, Visit Duluth and UMD’s School of Fine Arts, along with Rotary Club 25, have partnered to create a full-blown festival that encompasses all eight ships and Bayfront Festival Park.
The weeklong festivities begin with ships arriving July 28. But the real fun starts on July 29 with the official Parade of Sail, where all eight ships will pass under the Aerial Lift Bridge surrounded by an armada of local boaters.
Beginning July 30, the Tall Ships Duluth 2010 festival opens with ship tours and day sails aboard the ships. This year, we’re offering significantly more opportunities for the public to experience the magic of sail aboard a tall ship through daily excursions on Lake Superior. Watch www.visitduluth.com for our announcement of the fleet, advance tickets, multi-day sail training experiences and detailed schedules all coming soon.
July 29 also ushers in a completely new experience at Bayfront Park. UMD’s School of Fine Arts will present nightly performances of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance.” This rousing musical is a wonderful way to crown a beautiful summer evening along the harbor.
With the tall ships as our stars, Bayfront Festival Park will host a series of musical performances, food and refreshment vendors, Tall Ships Duluth 2010 merchandise and many other family-oriented activities and attractions.
The partnership with UMD and the enhanced festival is critical to the success of this year’s event. One of the biggest lessons learned from 2008 was managing tens of thousands more visitors than expected.
This year, visitors will be able to get refreshed at the park, or simply have more fun there.
Either way, adding the festival will help alleviate the congestion visitors experienced in 2008.
One more way Visit Duluth has addressed some of the concerns from 2008 is by bringing in more ships. While we plan to sell the same number of tours as 2008, we are more than doubling the daily capacity aboard six of the ships.
Other festivals around the world have used similar strategies to provide a terrific festival, and we are thrilled to be able to create an equally wonderful visitor experience.
While 2009 proved to be a challenging year for Duluth’s hospitality industry, Visit Duluth expects a marked rebound in 2010.
One of the reasons for these high expectations is Tall Ships Duluth 2010, and seven incredible days of summer in Duluth.
For more information about Tall Ships Duluth 2010, please go to www.visitduluth.com or contact Visit Duluth at 722-4011.
Terry Mattson is the president and CEO of Visit Duluth, the city’s convention and visitors’ bureau, and writes monthly in the Budgeteer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.