Tall ships festival on pace to be biggest yetTickets for this summer’s tall ships festival in Duluth go on sale today, and organizers of the popular event are urging would-be visitors to plan ahead and book early.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
Tickets for this summer’s tall ships festival in Duluth go on sale today, and organizers of the popular event are urging would-be visitors to plan ahead and book early.
So far, eight vessels have officially confirmed their intentions to participate in Tall Ships Duluth 2013, to be held July 25-29, but you can expect at least a couple more announcements in the coming weeks, said Terry Mattson, CEO and president of Visit Duluth, which is putting together the event. He said the festival is close to signing a contract with another tall ship operator, and there is room for up to 11 vessels to participate.
“At the end of the day, we will no doubt have more ships than we did in 2010,” said Mattson, referring to the nine-ship roster the event featured three years ago.
At least three ships — the Privateer Lynx, the S/V Denis Sullivan and the Schooner Hindu — will offer daytime sailing excursions during their visit to Duluth. The tickets sell for $95 each, and they probably will disappear swiftly, Mattson said.
“In past years those have sold out in a matter of weeks,” he said. “If your heart is set on sailing aboard one of these magnificent vessels, I’d make your purchase immediately.”
Mattson said this year’s event has generated “unparalleled interest” and predicted the festival will be “the hottest ticket in town.”
The event is attracting national interest. Mattson noted that on Friday, CNN aired a feature story on the Tall Ships Challenge, which will include a race on Lake Superior from Duluth to Sault Ste. Marie.
“With fair sailing and clear skies, I think we can expect at least a quarter of a million tall ship fans to visit our waterfront during the festival,” Mattson said. He predicts weekend attendance could rival that of the Minnesota State Fair.
Mattson said booking the popular tall ships requires a great deal of advance work, and the Duluth event has been about two years in the making.
Beginning at 10 a.m. today, people can purchase tickets online, or by phone at (877) 4FLY-TIX (435-9849).
A four-day ship tour pass sells for $17 and also provides access to the festival grounds and activities. A single-day ship tour pass will cost $6. Children ages 4 and younger will be offered free admission.
Tickets for the opening Parade of Sail event on July 25 — ticket-holders will be able to sail into the harbor aboard a tall ship, passing beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge — will sell for $150 apiece.
Tickets for daytime sailing excursions are $95 apiece.
Information about the availability of lodging in Duluth during the event is available on Visit Duluth’s website.