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In celebration of a Great Lake

Shon S. Schooler (left), research coordinator with the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, talks about the anatomy of dragonfly nymph with Joe Mattila, Mary Cox, Jessica Campbell and Jay Hecht at the “What’s that bug?!” display on Barker’s Island in Superior on Sunday afternoon. The macroinvertebrates display was part of Lake Superior Day events. (Steve Kuchera / / 4
Shon S. Schooler, research coordinator with the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserveholds a dragonfly nymph in a plastic spoon during Lake Superior Day events on Barker's Island in Superior on Sunday. (Steve Kuchera / / 4
Keith Turner, 5, of Superior builds a bridge in the learning center building at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve. Turner and his dad attended the Lake Superior Day events on Sunday. (Steve Kuchera / / 4
With a sailboat passing in the distance, the Rev. Dave Carlson of Duluth’s Gloria Dei Lutheran Church reads a passage during Sunday’s Blessing of the Fleet ceremony during Lake Superior Day events on Barker’s Island. (Steve Kuchera / / 4

Superior YMCA co-workers Kelsey Hansen and Kenny Lopez quietly stared at Lake Superior on Sunday, in awe — as if they had never seen it before.

“It (Lake Superior) is just so naturally beautiful,” Hansen said. “I absolutely love looking at it.”

She wasn’t the only one. This year’s Lake Superior Day celebration drew hundreds to Barker’s Island in Superior, on the shore of Superior Bay with a view of the lake.

People talked about what they love best about the lake.

“I really love how the lake looks in the wintertime when it’s frozen and covered in snow,” Lopez said.

Guests were able visit a variety of information booths, go paddle-boarding, listen to musical performances and watch a “Blessing of the Fleet” ceremony.

The Rev. Leon Flaherty, who led the ceremony, said he loves being able to offer prayers for the ships.

“It’s a tradition in other countries to bless the fishing ports and ships, so why not do it here?” Flaherty said.

A blessing ceremony also was held at last year’s event. Flaherty said he hopes to get more people involved and make the blessing a bigger tradition.

“We decided it’s time to start blessing the ships, and we hope to make more people aware about this in the future,” he said.

Bobbie Allen-Beal of Superior, a piping plover monitor for the St. Louis River Alliance, has lived in the Northland for a majority of her life and said she will never get tired of Lake Superior.

“I celebrate Lake Superior every year for many reasons such as the clean water, its beauty and watching ships pass through,” Beal said. “It will never get old to me. I love it.”

Beal was at the St. Louis River Alliance booth on Sunday, teaching people about the river and Lake Superior while passing out educational brochures.

“There are a lot of good venues for people to learn about Lake Superior,” Beal said. “I think people will leave here today really informed.”

Sarah Walker brought her family to Sunday’s event. She said they love swimming and boating on Lake Superior.

“We love being in the water and there are so many things you can do in and on it,” Walker said.

It was the Walker family’s first time attending, but Sarah Walker said they are planning to come back again next year.

“It’s very laid-back and a lot of fun,” she said. “Plus, there are great volunteers, amazing music and tons of educational activities for children.”