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Best Bets: Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra season kickoff

Find something to do this weekend in the Northland.

Woman with brown curly hair and black v-neck blouse playing violin in front of out-of-focus green outdoor background.
Violinist Erin Aldridge.
Contributed / DSSO
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DULUTH — The epic, three-festival North Star Story Summit begins on Thursday. Here are six additional picks for this week.

DSSO season kickoff

The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra should be in high spirits for their season kickoff on Saturday at the DECC. They just ran their first annual surplus in years, their subscriptions have bounced back from pandemic losses, and they're closing in on a lease with St. Louis County to move into the Depot. They've picked a perfectly apt piece to open the evening: Adolphus Hailstork’s "American Port of Call." The program will also include Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 1 and Erich Korngold's Violin Concerto, with concertmaster Erin Aldridge soloing. For tickets and information, see dsso.com.

The DSSO has proposed to rent the Family Theatre space long occupied by the Duluth Playhouse.

Cirque Italia

Costumed woman leans backward in aerial hoop as water fountains spurt all around her in a purple-lit circus act.
What a feeling! Cirque Italia's Water Circus (Silver Unit) will be in Duluth Sept. 22-25.
Contributed / Cirque Italia

"SILVER unit?" wrote a commenter in the Rumors and News in Duluth Facebook group. "Last year was GOLD. What gives???" It can be hard to keep track of all the Water Circus action Cirque Italia brings to our humble city: specifically, to the Miller Hill Mall parking lot. Not to be confused with Cirque du Soleil or Cirque Dreams, Cirque Italia is a 10-year-old Italian company that sets up under a tall tent and over a 35,000-gallon water stage. Don't expect any animal tricks: In fact, producers promise an "animal free" show that emphasizes acrobatic human tricks, with a piratical theme. Cirque Italia will be in Duluth from Thursday through Sunday, before packing up the tent and setting sail for St. Cloud. For tickets and information, see cirqueitalia.com.

Happy birthday to the Bong

A P-38 airplane restored with Richard Bong’s “Marge” markings is the hallmark exhibit at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center, seen here in 2019.
Beverly Godfrey / File / Duluth News Tribune

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center isn't 21 yet, but nonetheless, they'll offer a cash bar this weekend during their birthday party: a multi-day celebration. "Bikes, Betties, bags, barks and beers" are promised at the center's 20th anniversary. Highlights include Friday's "Pint Full of History" program with author Mike O'Conner and documentarian John Anderson; and a full day of Saturday events ranging from a puppy parade to an "Ace of Aces" Warrior Brewing Patriot IPA roll-out. Will the "Maverick and Goose Top Gun Shootout" bag-throwing competition look anything like the beach volleyball game from the movie? See bongcenter.org for details.


Now, voyageur

092819.N.DNT.LesterParkRendezvous c04.JPG
Making butter at the Lester River Rendezvous, 2019.
Tyler Schank / File / Duluth News Tribune

"A fall tradition with cannons, muskets, and hatchets!" It could only be the Lester River Rendezvous, which takes place on Saturday after two days of lead-up during which schoolchildren will learn to tan hides, throw hatchets and generally behave like little fur traders. At Saturday's event, the reenactors will be joined by dozens of craft vendors as well as a petting zoo of animals, alongside other family-friendly offerings. An entire Voyageur Village will spring up at Lester Park for the occasion. For details, see lesterriverrendezvous.com.

Depot does the java jive

Man making coffee.
Portage Coffee, seen here in June 2022, is among the Duluth businesses participating in the Depot's Bienvenue festival.
Steve Kuchera / File / Duluth News Tribune

The Depot's most caffeinated day of the year is coming up on Saturday: a coffee festival called Bienvenue. Dozens of coffee, food and craft vendors will fill the historic venue for an event celebrating coffee culture in all its forms. There will be expert presentations, live music, and a head-to-head (as in heads of froth) latte art throwdown. Last year's inaugural Bienvenue was the Depot's first full-scale event since COVID closures, attracting a large crowd to the only annual celebration dedicated to Duluth's burgeoning coffee scene. Check out experiencethedepot.org to get all perked up.

AICHO art show

Moira Villiard, photographed at a mural site in 2019, is among the artists featured in AICHO's new group exhibit.
Ellen Schmidt / File / Duluth News Tribune

The American Indian Community Housing Organization Galleries are hosting a new group exhibition that incorporates both writing and visual art. "Our galleries will feature visual artwork from 26 local and regional artists along with written works by 13 local and regional Indigenous writers," notes AICHO's website. The theme, from White Earth Ojibwe artist Kathleen Westcott, is "those that have gone before us and all those yet unborn." Saturday evening's opening reception will feature live jazz by guitarist Briand Morrison. For more information, see aicho.org.

Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in February 2022. His previous experience includes eight years as a digital producer at The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), four years as theater critic at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages, and six years as arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He's a co-founder of pop culture and creative writing blog The Tangential; and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can reach him at jgabler@duluthnews.com or 218-279-5536.
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Find something to do this weekend in the Northland.