Organizers of the "Tribute to Our Northland Heroes" aren't exactly sure what will happen at Wade Stadium Friday evening.

Sure, they know the details: Four F-16s will fly over the event. Honor guards from area police, fire and military groups will be there. The Scottish Rite drum and bugle group will play.

It's the bigger picture that remains a mystery: how people will be affected by the event.

"People are electrified by this," said Charlie Bell, who is co-chair of the planning committee with Verne Wagner. "It's a really emotional feeling that is developing when we talk to people about what is happening that night and what we're trying to do."

Heroes of all kinds will be recognized during "A Tribute to Our Northland Heroes" starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at Duluth's Wade Stadium. Friday's event is free and open to the public.

Bell is hoping to see lots of families there, because there will be a lot of talk about what people do for their community and the contributions they make.

"Kids need mentors, and they need to emulate real heroes, not baseball and football stars. That's entertainment," he said. "The real heroes we have in our community, they're our neighbors."

The purpose of the weekend is to honor local heroes -- fire, police, search and rescue, first responders, volunteers, Neighborhood Watch participants, military members and their families, Blue Star Mothers and more -- and to remember those who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001.

The heroes are from all over the Northland: Members of fire and police departments from Eveleth, Virginia, Carlton, Silver Bay, Superior, Solon Springs, Duluth and more are planning to come, said Wagner, who is also board chair of the Northland Red Cross and has seen many such heroes in action.

The tribute is being spearheaded by the West Duluth Area Business & Civic Club.

"It's going to be an incredible event," Wagner said. "I think the community will walk away from Friday's ceremony feeling both patriotic and extremely inspired to get involved some way themselves."

In addition to Friday's big event, the "Heroes Weekend" will feature a 5K walk/run on the Western Waterfront Trail, a softball tournament at Wheeler Field (including a local-celebrity softball game) and a dinner Saturday night.

Proceeds from the tournaments and T-shirt sales will go to the Northland Red Cross.

There are volunteer opportunities still open throughout the weekend. To find out more, call Bell at 391-3069.