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Downtown summer events kick into high gear

Streets have been cleaned, flowers have been planted and downtown construction projects have been humming along, showing signs of progress and growth. These are all great ways to prepare for the summer season as we showcase our downtown waterfron...

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Streets have been cleaned, flowers have been planted and downtown construction projects have been humming along, showing signs of progress and growth. These are all great ways to prepare for the summer season as we showcase our downtown waterfront district.

We are pleased that our downtown waterfront continues to host the thousands of runners and spectators of Grandma's Marathon this weekend. What a great way to kick off our summer and provide a strong boost to the local economy. The crew at Grandma's Marathon assembles a top-notch team of staff and volunteers to put on a world-class event. Good luck to all of the runners!

As we look ahead to Greater Downtown Council events, the Annual Sidewalk Days Festival will converge on Superior Street in just under three weeks. Plan to hit the bricks on July 8, 9 and 10 where you'll find great shopping, mouth-watering food, toe-tapping entertainment and talented artists. While we block off Superior Street between Fifth Avenue West and Lake Avenue, the excitement is not limited to those boundaries. From Fitger's to First Street and many areas in between, there will be businesses participating in the celebration.

During this celebration, you can also get in on the entertainment at night. On opening night, July 8, the Annual Classic Car Show and Harley Revue will feature eight blocks loaded with local bands, classic cars and Harley-Davidson motorcycles along Superior Street. We're also excited that Over the Edge will be back. This year, the YMCA will be utilizing this off-the-wall event to raise funds for youth programs and services. Rappellers will be going off the rooftop of the Sellwood Building, starting with some VIPs on opening night, followed by many additional supporters of the Y on July 9. And to close out the festival, we wrap up with three street dances. Ace's and Roscoe's Pioneer Bar host the popular First Street dances on Friday night and Dubh Linn Pub brings the street dance to Superior Street on Saturday night.

July 10 also marks the start of the outdoor movie season. Grab your lawn chair or a blanket and head to Leif Erikson Park each Friday night this summer for Movies in the Park. This year's summer lineup is made possible thanks to our title sponsor, National Bank of Commerce, with support from 95 KQDS, the City of Duluth, AVR, Twin Ports Nightlife.com, AAR, Lake Superior College, FOX 21 and the American Lung Association. Check out our website, www.downtownduluth.com , for the full season schedule of movies.

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Also mark your calendar for the Downtown Farmers' Market each Tuesday from July 14 to Sept. 29 at Lake Superior Plaza.

This is just a taste of upcoming GDC events. There are so many additional events, races, concerts and programs that allow our community spirit to come alive. I encourage you to see what's happening in the heart of your community.

Kristi Stokes is the president of the Greater Downtown Council in Duluth. Contact her at 727-8549 or by email at kstokes@downtownduluth.com .

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