Our view: Historically busy summer on deck
Are you ready? Memorial Day is in the books. It's summer, the season we cherish -- oh, those glorious few days.And this summer in Duluth promises to be like no other. Some years we have an air show. Other years a tall ships festival. This year we...
Are you ready? Memorial Day is in the books. It’s summer, the season we cherish - oh, those glorious few days.
And this summer in Duluth promises to be like no other. Some years we have an air show. Other years a tall ships festival. This year we have both. Plus the 40th anniversary of Grandma’s Marathon, the 50th anniversary celebration of the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, and the usual chaotic, every-weekend-jammed calendar of happenings and things to do.
Unless all you want to do is relax. You can do that, too, of course - oh, those glorious few days.
“We can’t pinpoint just one highlight, not this summer. We’re just so fortunate to have so many events and so much to market,” Anna Tanski, president and CEO of Visit Duluth, said in an interview late last week with the News Tribune Opinion page. “No one can ever come here and say, ‘There’s nothing going on.’ ”
Grandma’s is June 18. It’s now the 11th-largest marathon in the U.S. and would be larger if participation wasn’t capped. Who wouldn’t want to run along the shoreline of Lake Superior on a gorgeous early-summer morning? Last year, 6,077 runners finished Minnesota’s oldest marathon, moving Grandma’s ahead of the San Francisco Marathon (6,063) and Portland Marathon (5,716), according to Running USA. Close to 10,000 runners have signed up for this year, prompting Grandma’s officials to prep for a record field.
The Duluth Airshow is July 9-10, featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, a B-17 Flying Fortress, the Canadian Forces Sky Hawks and more at Duluth International Airport.
As many as 300,000 people are expected for Tall Ships Duluth Aug. 18-21. They’ll come not only to see massive white sails and Capt. Jack Sparrow impersonators but also a giant rubber ducky.
“Tall Ships Duluth 2016 promises to be the largest event in our region’s history featuring ship tours, day sails, (and) educational programming,” organizers claim at tallshipsduluth.com. “This year, we have partnered with Art in Bayfront Park to bring you an event within an event, … offering an opportunity to purchase gallery quality art work.”
Other summer highlights include the North Shore Inline Marathon, tribute fests, Big Top Chautauqua shows, Duluth-Superior Pride, the City on the Hill Music Fest, the annual Fairlawn Ice Cream Social, the Bayfront Reggae and World Music Festival, Movies in the Park on Friday evenings, Duluth Huskies baseball at the Wade all summer long, Wednesday evening sailboat races, the Chester Creek Concerts series, Bayfront Blues Festival and Spirit Valley Days.
Visit Duluth’s online calendar of events lists 266 happenings over the next four months, June through September. That’s 266 things to do in just 122 days. And it doesn’t even include fishing, hiking, mountain biking, going to the beach on Park Point, zipping down Spirit Mountain on the Timber Twister Alpine Coaster, taking leisurely drives along Skyline Parkway to enjoy the breathtaking vistas, or any of our many, many softball, baseball, T-ball, volleyball and soccer games.
“Summer is big,” Tanski said. “We have all of these events that not only enhance the visitor experience but give those of us who live here so much to do.”
Families and others account for 3.5 million visitors a year to Duluth. The annual jolt to our local economy is an eye-
popping, impossible-to-replace $800 million. Tourism is Duluth’s third-largest industry with more than 16,000 jobs - many of them good-paying.
Summer is Duluth’s season to shine. And to cash in, recognizing, like other tourist destinations, that this is the season when families travel. This is our make-it time. So strap in. The glorious chaos we crave - and need - begins now.