Taste of Duluth to fill Bayfront Festival Park

Two major regional event businesses have teamed up to present a new festival that they hope will become one of Duluth’s premier annual waterfront events for years to come.

Twin Ports Entertainment and Lundeen Productions will present Taste of Duluth on Saturday, July 1 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Bayfront Festival Park. The inaugural event is free and open to the public.

FYI: 2017 Bayfront Festival Park Events

Taste of Duluth, an event created to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the area, will feature great food, live music, products and services, crafts, beer and many other displays of interest that are home grown.

“It’s all about localism right now,” said Twin Ports Entertainment spokesman Walt Aplin. “Taste will bring localism front and center by really showing festival attendees a taste of everything we have to offer. It’s not just about food but our heritage, our culture, our industry, beer and many other things.”

Taste of Duluth also marks the return of Tracy Lundeen to Bayfront Festival Park. The longtime Duluth events visionary was called upon by former, legendary Duluth Mayor John Fedo in the early 1980’s to work with a group consisting of the City of Duluth and the Bayfront Park Development Association to create an event space on Duluth’s waterfront originally known as Bayfront Landing.

Lundeen worked with logistics of creating the park with the city’s Planning Department and the private ownership group the Bayfront Park Development Association to create what would become Duluth’s premier summer festival location. Lundeen was instrumental in creating Fourth-Fest, Bayfront Fridays, the Bayfront Blues Festival and ran the park until the early 90’s when he left to pursue his budding career producing festivals and concerts around the country.

Today, Lundeen owns and operates his own expo business (Duluth Wedding Show, Northland Senior Expo, Duluth Women’s Expo, WomenRock), a number of regional publications and hosts a Saturday morning radio show.

Lundeen is also the President of the Bluebird Foundation, a 501C3 that supports high school-aged kids in the performing arts through grants and scholarships. To date, the foundation has awarded nearly $20,000 to area kids.

“I’m excited to work with Twin Ports Entertainment on this event,” said Lundeen. “It’s really what both of our companies are all about, localism and supporting our region through events, the arts and culture. Going back to Bayfront is in many ways going back to my roots. This will be a special event for me.”

Twin Port Entertainment, LLC is an event & festival production company that has created such events as the annual Grand Minnesota Taste-Together Brewfest & Wine Tasting at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, the Howling Moon Music Festival and City On the Hill Music Festival at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth and several other single events throughout the Twin Ports.

From large arena indoor sales to Zombie Bar Crawls, Twin Ports Entertainment, LLC has clearly established itself as special event experts.

In addition to its own events, Twin Ports Entertainment, LLC assists others with their events from artist booking to social media & traditional marketing to ticketing and venue logistics. Clients include the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the Tribute Fest and several others.

Taste of Duluth is an event for the entire family, residents and tourists alike. Live music will be featured on the Hermantown Credit Union Main Stage by top local performers ranging from acoustic to bluegrass to rock. Some of the featured artists on the Hermantown Credit Union Stage will include Lake City Smokin’ Section, Showtime Band, the Fish Heads, Circuit Breaker, the Mackie Brothers, Rickey Lee, Sydney Hanson, Janie and the Spokes, Kylee Matusak, Greg Tiburzi, Bryan Gatten and more.

Taste of Duluth will feature a large hand-made craft area, locally crafted beer, leading area restaurants and many displays and activities. Fourth of July weekend is a bustling time in Duluth and it’s hoped that “Taste” will become a tremendous kick-off to a four day stretch of activities at the park that will also include a Hairball Concert and Fourth-Fest with the annual fireworks display.

Taste of Duluth is also sponsored by Hermantown Credit Union, Lake Superior College and The Bluebird Foundation.

On the Road to Grandma’s: Whipper Snapper Races for Kids Friday

Whipper Snapper Races for Kids. Howie / File
Whipper Snapper Races for Kids. Howie / File

Since 1991, the Whipper Snapper Races for Kids has been giving children an opportunity to experience the sport of running while getting into the spirit of Grandma’s Marathon weekend.

About 1,000 kids ages 14-and-under will participate in Whipper Snapper Races for Kids on Friday at Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park, while officially kicking off the 40th annual Grandma’s Marathon weekend festivities.

Registration begins at noon with races starting at 2 p.m. All participants receive an official race number, participation ribbon and goodie bag.

Children and their families will have a chance to get up close and personal with some of their favorite mascots, including Wells Fargo Bank’s ‘Jack the Dog’, ‘Champ’ from UMD, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, ‘Chester Cheetah’ from Cheetos, ‘Tiki Tom’ from The Edge, ‘Harley D. Huskie’ from the Duluth Huskies and ‘Viktor’ from the Minnesota Vikings. These and other mascots get the event started with their own race at 2 p.m.

Members of the Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders will be on hand for autographs and photos, and an Advantage Emblem merchandise booth also will be open.

Hockey Day Minnesota Notebook

Howie / The Howie Blog
A temporary outdoor rink has been set up at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth for Hockey Day Minnesota on Saturday. Howie / The Howie Blog

Volunteers were busy Wednesday afternoon clearing the ice surface of a few inches of snow having fallen since Tuesday afternoon at a temporary rink at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth, which will host Hockey Day Minnesota on Saturday featuring two high school boys hockey games, Duluth Denfeld vs. Eveleth-Gilbert at 10 a.m. and Duluth East vs. Lakeville North at 1 p.m., in a rematch of the 2015 Minnesota Class AA state championship game. Over 1,800 advance tickets had been sold as of late Tuesday, and over 4,000 spectators are expected for the daylong event, according to an event spokesperson on site Wednesday afternoon.