Best Bets: Duluth celebrates Independent Bookstore Day
Find something to do in the Northland this weekend.
Independent Bookstore Day
Independent bookstores, which thrive on in-person browsing and recommendations, struggled through pandemic shutdowns — but loyal customers stood by their favorites, and this year indies across the country are ready to celebrate on Independent Bookstore Day. On Saturday, events in Duluth include "giveaways, special deals, Zenith cupcakes and more" at Zenith Bookstore, which will also host signings by local authors Emily Vikre ("Family Camp Cookbook") and Linda LeGarde Grover ("Gichigami Hearts: Stories and Histories from Misaabekong"). The Bookstore at Fitger's will have balloons and book bingo, plus appearances by author Rob Jung ("The Sower") and Susan C. Richards ("Dead Write"), and a writing workshop led by Grover. Back Forty Books in Two Harbors and two Bayfield booksellers are also getting in on the fun. For information, see indiebound.org.
Duluth Junk Hunt
"Rusty, chippy, vintage goodness!" No, that's not a description of a veteran singer-songwriter playing Homegrown, it's a description of what you can expect from the vendors filling the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the biannual Duluth Junk Hunt. Now celebrating 10 junky years, the Duluth Junk Hunt promises over 100 booths slinging "vintage finds and repurposed treasures," plus a farmers market with flowers and treats. (Don't worry, the treats are fresh.) When the Duluth Junk Hunt launched in 2012, founder Emily Broman told the News Tribune the event was aimed at shoppers who eschew the generic: "Instead of going to a department store, you can take something antique or vintage and have something with more character to it." For more information, see duluthjunkhunt.com.
It's nearly impossible to overstate the impact of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on our nation's history. Nearly 3,000 died in the attacks, and tens of thousands more were directly affected — not to mention the military personnel, contractors and others who participated in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars stemming from the attacks. "Resolute: MN Stories of 9/11 and the War" is an exhibit that views the attacks and their aftermath through the eyes of the Minnesotans who had personal experiences with the attacks and ensuing conflicts. The free exhibit will be on display at the Depot's Great Hall in Duluth from Friday through Sunday, with an opening ceremony Thursday at 5 p.m. For details, see thehistorypeople.org.
The Garden reimagined
Many Duluthians, past and present, have memories of raucous times at Grandma's Sports Garden. The Canal Park venue was a major nightlife spot until the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in 2020. Now, the venue is reopening — but not as a nightclub. Still under Grandma's ownership, it's becoming The Garden Wedding and Event Center, advertised as "Duluth’s newest venue for everything from weddings, receptions, class reunions, to trade shows, business meetings, and fundraisers." If you want to take a peek inside the reimagined space, you can do so on Wednesday afternoon: The Garden is opening its doors to the public from 3-5 p.m., with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. For event details, see facebook.com/gardenduluth.
DSSO sings it out
For their concert programmed under the theme "To Sing," the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra aren't holding back on the hits. Saturday's concert at the DECC will include Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" (from "Carmina Burana") and George Frideric Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus (from "Messiah"). The show's centerpiece, though, is the "Negro Folk Symphony" by William Dawson, a Black composer whose work inspired a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall when Leopold Stokowski (later of "Fantasia" fame) led the Philadelphia Orchestra in the work's 1934 premiere. The concert will close the DSSO's 2021-22 season at Symphony Hall; they've just announced a new blockbuster season that will open Sept. 24. For information and tickets, see dsso.com.
North by North: Take one
There's a new film festival in town: the North by North International Film Festival, spotlighting independent voices from Duluth, the Upper Midwest and beyond. Zeitgeist is presenting and hosting the festival, which opens Wednesday and runs through Sunday with a mix of over 80 films including features and shorts — with many of the filmmakers present to participate in Q&A sessions after the screenings. Highlights include opening night film "Bad Axe," about a family restaurant in the turbulent time of 2020; Minnesota-made films including road trip comedy "Glob Lessons" and horror movie "Beyond the North Woods"; and "Freshwater," a documentary about Lake Superior's North Shore. See zeitgeistarts.com for details and ticketing information.