ABC's of Summer Fun
The Northland region offers so much in the way of summer entertainment, we had a tough time scaling our list back to just 26 things. But after many second thoughts and much nail biting, here they are. We hope you'll get the chance to experience each letter of our summer alphabet.
A is for Architecture.
On July 20, the Duluth Women's Club will once again offer a tour of unique houses. For $27 the curious can visit five area residences, gambol in three
gardens and consume a luncheon hosted at the clubhouse. The self-guided tour includes a home constructed by well-know Duluth architect, David Salmela, and a newly-built modern masterpiece. (218) 724-3168
B is for Bubbles.
How big of a bubble can you blow? How long can you stand inside a bubble before it pops? These and other life-altering questions will be answered at the Duluth Children's Museum's Bubble Festival held at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center, Aug. 28, 1-4 p.m. This event is free and the first
200 guests will receive a t-shirt. In addition to bubble blowing, a rock
climbing wall and ice skating rink will be at participants' disposal. www.duluthchildrensmuseum.org
C is for Chester Creek Concerts at Chester Bowl.
If you can find a summer event that has more words that begin with "c", we applaud you. Grab a lawn chair and set up at 1801 East Skyline Parkway before 7 p.m. on any given Tuesday, June through August, to catch the first notes of a free concert. The music usually continues until 8:30 p.m. at Chester Bowl. www.chesterbowl.org
D is for Dragon Boats.
1 drummer, 1 steerperson, 1 manager and 20 paddlers will race side-by-side with other participants of this 10-year-old tradition. Guests will enjoy live entertainment, great food and, of course, the nail-biting suspense of
the dragon boat races held at Barker's Island. Free admission. www.lakesuperiordragons.com
E is for Enger Tower.
The view from one of Duluth's most popular landmarks cannot be rivaled; according to its official facebook page, you can see 31.4 miles
of the city on a clear day. Plan a picnic in the gardens surrounding the
building, walk the winding paths through the park and ring the Peace Bell. Be certain to bring your camera.
F is for Fairlawn.
The historic Fairlawn Mansion offers a glimpse into the past. Located in Superior, the 42-room mansion and former orphanage has been restored to its original splendor. For $8 (free to children under 5) visitors can tour the estate as guides expound on its rich history. www.superiorpublicmuseums.org
G is for Grandma's Marathon.
How could we make a list of fun things to do during the summer and not mention one of the Northland's biggest a ttractions? Whether you will be one of the anticipated 9,000 runners or a cheerleader along the 26.2-mile track, head down to Canal Park on the weekend of June 16-18 to participate in some good, old-fashioned fun. Registration for the race is $100.
H is for Horse.
Nothing is quite as romantic as a horse-drawn carriage ride along the shores of Lake Superior at sunset. If you're feeling amorous, this is the perfect way to spend a balmy summer evening with your significant other.
I is for Independent Films.
30 minutes south of Duluth in the rural community of Wrenshall stands a bright red barn beckoning to passersby. On July 29-30, this barn will
host the Free Range Film Festival. Independent filmmakers submit their work yearly in hopes of being played on the 24-foot-wide screen in the
hayloft. Admission to the two day festival will only run you $10. www.freerangefilm.com
Or, for an independent film played right in Duluth, visit Zinema 2. Moviegoers can enjoy wine or beer as they watch their chosen flick. For showtimes and ticket information visit www.zinema2.com
J is for Jugbands.
On May 29th at 1 p.m. the 15th annual Battle of the Jugbands will
commence. Audience members will cram themselves into Amazing Grace
Bakery and Cafe and spill onto the sidewalks of Canal Park to listen to the clamoring sounds of homemade instruments. Everything (including the kitchen sink) is used to make music. At stake is the Battle's coveted trophy, a krumkake iron. www.elliotbrothers.com
K is for Kite.
In the words of Mary Poppins, "Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height, and send it soaring." Playing with toys isn't just for kids anymore. On a day when the wind is just right, grab a colorful kite from
Explorations in downtown Duluth or J Skylark in Canal Park and head to the
nearest beach. We guarantee your legs will ache after a day of
running in the sand.
L is for Lighthouse.
Do you feel like walking up a few hundred stairs? Visit the five lighthouses in the Duluth-Superior area during the Twin Ports Lighthouse Days, Aug. 4-7. Child-friendly activities, films about lighthouses and special programs are all part of this free event. www.lsmma.com
M is for Madeline Island.
Hop aboard the ferry to visit the picturesque beaches of Madeline Island. Become a tourist for the day and explore the island's many gift shops, art galleries and restaurants. For longer bed-and-breakfasts in the area.
N is for Nature.
The Northland boasts some breathtaking natural beauties. Drive up the North Shore to visit Gooseberry Falls or head over to Wisconsin and explore the Superior Hiking Trail. We're sure you'd be
busy for the rest of the summer hiking the 205 miles of designated trails.
O is for Owls.
Birder's World (now BirdWatching) magazine named Hawk's Ridge as
number eight in their list of the top 25 places in the United States and
Canada to owl watch. Duluth Harbor came in at number 12. If you give
a hoot, grab a pair of binoculars and try to spot the wise bird.
P is for Park Point Rummage Sale.
For 30 years, this annual sale has remained just as faithful as your postman. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night shall stay this "junky's" delight from proceeding on the scheduled dates of June
10-11. With four miles of treasures just waiting to be discovered, it's no wonder Park Point is flooded with rummage sale seekers each year. (218) 722-6828
Q is for Quintet.
Trampled by Turtles, Duluth's very own acoustic quintet will be busy touring the country this summer to promote their new album, "Palamino." But not too busy to return to the place where it all began on Aug. 6, when they will open the show for Willie Nelson in Bayfront Festival Park. Tickets are on sale now for $75. www.trampledbyturtles.com
R is for Rhubarb Festival.
Pies and jams and breads - oh, my! Get your tastebuds ready to tackle the tangy tartness of every rhubarb delicacy known to mankind. Held at the 1100 block of London Road, this festival is sprinkled with tasty morsels for the entire family. There will be games, crafts, music, auctions,
stage shows and - did we mention? - food. Booths will open for visitors at 9 a.m. on June 25 and admission is free. www.chumduluth.org
S is for Stargazing.
On the first clear, warm night of summer, find a blanket and a friend and spread out on the beach. Figure out which one of you can spot and name the most constellations in the star-filled sky. For an up-close look at the galaxy's secrets, ditch the blanket and drive to the University of Minnesota Duluth's Marshall W. Allworth Planetarium. They offer free public showings on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout May. www.d.umn.edu/planet/
T is for Timber Twister.
Spirit Mountain's newest attraction will have you hurtling down 3,400 feet of rollercoaster track. Riders can reach cheek-crackling speeds of up to 26 miles per hour. If you'd rather take a leisurely ride down the forested mountain, the unique coaster cars have rider-controlled speed options. www.spiritmt.com
U is for University Classes.
Perhaps you'd like to finally earn a college degree. Maybe you've always
wanted to master the art of photography. Most universities in the area offer summer courses, so register for a class and start on the path to achieving that maybe-someday dream.
V is for Volunteer.
Get involved and give back to your community by becoming a volunteer.
There are many organizations in the Northland area who could use a hand.
Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank could use volunteers to help with
food distribution and office work. CHOICE, unlimited needs friendly,
reliable folks to work with adults with disabilities. Animal Allies wants people to help walk dogs or play with cats. For more volunteer possibilities, visit United Way of Greater Duluth's Web site at www.volunteerduluth.org
W is for Whitewater Rafting.
For just $40, you could be risking your life. (We might be a little dramatic.) Strap on a life vest and hop in a raft to barrel down the St. Louis River. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, the professionally-guided rafts offer a safe way to take on the challenge of the rapids. Trips begin in Carlton and take approximately two-and-a-half hours to complete. (218) 384-4637
X is for Xavier Bell.
Xavier Bell will be one of the speakers at the Twin Ports Bridge Festival. (Ok, ok. Our entry for "x" is more about the Bridge Festival than Mr. Bell. Can you blame us for trying?) Celebrating respect, individuality and diversity will be the main focus of this event. Show up July 9 between 11 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. to enjoy a yoga demonstration, live music from local artists, the climbing wall or one of the many other entertainment options. Tickets are $29 (free to children below age 11. laughingstockdesign.biz/company.aspx
Y is for Youth Outdoor Expo.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to tie a fly? Build a birdhouse? Band a bird? If you answered yes to one (or all) of these questions and have a child between the ages of seven and 15, this expo is the perfect way to learn. Free for both parents and children, the day will be dedicated to a variety of outdoor activities. Pre-registration is required and space is limited to 125 children. A lunch will be provided for participating youth. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 21. www.hartleynature.org
Z is for Zoo.
Ride the zoo train, feed a llama or simply walk the designated paths and
visit the animals. Lake Superior Zoo is roaring with fun for the entire family. The facility opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. www.lszoo.org/