Best Bets: Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald

Find something to do this week in the Northland.

Edmund Fitzgerald
The Edmund Fitzgerald on the St. Marys River near Sault Ste. Marie in May 1975.
Bob Campbell / File / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — It may seem a little early to hear words like "winter," "holidays" and "festive," but there's no getting around the fact that the Twin Ports are ramping up for Santa season.

Gales of November

Thursday marks 47 years since the Edmund Fitzgerald went down with 29 souls on board, becoming Lake Superior's most haunting shipwreck. On Thursday night, Split Rock Lighthouse will mark the somber occasion with the tolling of a bell as victims' names are read, after which the beacon will be lit in memory and hope. For details, see

As the night wore on bits and pieces were added and the press operators were left to scramble with each added detail.

Since the '80s, a Gales of November gathering has convened annually to commemorate the tragedy and to generally explore topics of interest to marine enthusiasts. This year's two-day conference kicks off Friday at The Garden, then moves to the DECC on Saturday. For details and registration, see

Eat Downtown Duluth Restaurant Week

Exterior view of restaurant bearing sign "The Boat Club." In the foreground is a red streetlamp and a brown bench, with landscaping in the middle ground.
The Boat Club is one of a dozen restaurants in Eat Downtown Duluth Restaurant Week.
Jay Gabler / Duluth News Tribune

"Flavors of fall" are on the menus at a dozen restaurants in and around Duluth's Central Business District as Downtown Duluth celebrates this season's Eat Downtown Restaurant Week. Specials include a surf or turf dinner at The Boat Club; broiled Great Lakes whitefish at Canal Park Brewing Co.; and a buy one, get one half off burger deal at Grandma's. For a full list of participating restaurants and their specials, see Eat Downtown Restaurant Week kicked off Monday, Nov. 7, and runs through Saturday, Nov. 12.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Black and white photo of three people posing in vintage garb indicating an 1940s setting. Two women smile and hold empty glasses on either side, while a man in the center puts his hands to his temples and half-smiles, half-grimaces.
Cheri Tesareck, from left, Rob Larson and Kathy Laakso are cast members in the new University of Wisconsin-Superior production of "Arsenic and Old Lace."
Contributed / UWS

Joseph Kesselring's 1939 play "Arsenic and Old Lace" is about as fresh as its name suggests, but Cathy Fank is confident her University of Wisconsin-Superior cast will show audiences a good time when their production of the dark comedy opens Friday. "It’s a good-old comedy that still reaches today’s audience because of the fast-paced mix-ups and crazy storyline," Fank said in a news release. "The stage play is somewhat different than the movie," she added, referring to the well-known 1944 adaptation starring Cary Grant. The UWS production runs through Nov. 20 at Manion Theatre. For details and tickets, see


Members Only
Two newly created positions will allow the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center to bring more shows of different sizes to the harborside complex.

Bert Kreischer

Hairy white man with bare torso grimaces playfully while flexing arms, wearing brown hat and metal necklace.
Comedian Bert Kreischer is performing in Duluth on Nov. 15.
Contributed / Todd Rosenberg Photography (Copyright Bert Kreischer 2020)

"We never thought comedy would be so popular, but everyone needs some happiness right now. Everyone needs some good laughs," said DECC entertainment curator Emma Deaner in a recent interview with the News Tribune, citing an "influx of comedy" at the harborside venue's Symphony Hall. The podcast explosion has also fueled the new standup renaissance, and Bert "The Machine" Kreischer is very much in that mix, co-hosting "2 Bears, 1 Cave" with Tom Segura. Following Segura's Sept. 28 appearance, Kreischer will be at the DECC on Nov. 15. For details and tickets, see

Winter is coming

On a snowy deck with a view of Duluth and Lake Superior, a sphere of ice sits in front of pine boughs on a wire-frame chair.
Ice globes will be in the making at the WinterFest Expo this weekend.
Contributed / WinterFun 101

Bring your calendar — real or virtual — to Fitger's mall this weekend for a WinterFest Expo. Spirit Mountain, John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and other organizations will be on hand to tell you about what they have planned for the snowy season. As you walk around, you can enjoy wine tasting at Fitger's Wine Cellar and Mike and Jen's Cocoa at the Duluth Kitchen Co. Outdoors, there will be ice globe making and a bonfire. If you have vintage winter gear to lend for your fellow Northlanders' enjoyment, you can add it to a temporary display to be entered into a drawing. For details, see

The jingle bells are jangling

The Bentleyville tree.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

If you're one of those people who's had your tree up since Nov. 1, you'll be more than ready holiday events coming up in Duluth. Ahead of its Nov. 19 opening, Bentleyville on Wednesday planned to host a Red Kettle Karnival: a free event with kids' activities. On Wednesday morning, however, Bentleyville announced that the Red Kettle Karnival was canceled due to expected inclement weather. For more information, see

On Saturday and Sunday, the DECC is hosting the Junior League of Duluth's annual Festival of Trees Arts, Crafts and Gifts show. The big guy himself, Santa Claus, will be on hand to pose for photos and take in the wide selection of vendors. The event will feature a mini-holiday tree display (since Bentleyville has the other end of the size spectrum covered), as well as choose-your-own-adventure comestibles: Will it be coffee, or cocktails? For more information, see

This story was updated at 10:47 a.m. Nov. 9 to incorporate information about the Red Kettle Karnival being canceled. It was originally posted at 8:04 a.m. Nov. 7.

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 or 218-279-5536.
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