'Great Day Cloquet' event to be a walk through history

The race is on - but you'd better get moving if you don't want to get left at the starting line! "Great Day Cloquet '07" will be held Saturday, May 19 - a brand, new event based on the popular television series, "The Amazing Race." "I had done it...

The race is on - but you'd better get moving if you don't want to get left at the starting line!

"Great Day Cloquet '07" will be held Saturday, May 19 - a brand, new event based on the popular television series, "The Amazing Race."

"I had done it before with friends in Chicago," reported Carlton County Historical Society Director Anne Dugan. "I took part as a team with an old roommate of mine and had a fantastic time. When I moved to northern Minnesota, I thought it would be fun to do one in Duluth or Cloquet. I was starting to plan it on my own, but then I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to involve the historical society?'"

Dugan, who recently took over the reins of the CCHS from long-time director Marlene Wisuri, said the fun and adventure-filled event seemed the perfect fit for the role and mission of the organization.

"As a historical society, we're looking to expand our audience to young professionals, to families and to many others," she said. "Also, we're doing a lot of new things in the building itself, so we want to get people used to coming in and seeing our space. This is a way to hopefully engage with some of those people and with the town itself."


Dugan said she recently started serving on the tourism committee of the Cloquet Area Chamber of Commerce and thought this type of event would fit in with a lot of the things that group is trying to do as well.

"Even people from around here don't realize sometimes what their own town has to offer," Dugan said. "We thought it would be fun for people to engage with their own home town, and taking that a step further, the group decided it would be fun to utilize the history of Cloquet as a way for people to get around."

Teams participating in "Great Day Cloquet"will only be allowed to use public transportation and their own two feet during the competition. No bikes, scooters, Segways or cabs will be allowed.

"It's basically a matter of getting around on your own two feet rather than driving," explained Dugan. "That's the 'Amazing Race' part of it. It's not going to be a huge trek, and people who are not in shape can certainly participate. We'll start the teams off with their first clue, and there will be maybe about eight stops along the way. Each stop will have a clue telling you how to get to the next stop. Some may have a challenge to complete, or some trivia questions to answer, or some sort of detour or choice between two tasks. It's sort of like a treasure hunt, and the clues will lead you around to the end point, where we'll have our awards ceremony."

Dugan said the winner will be whoever comes in first, but there will also be a Spirit Award for the team that most embodies the spirit of Carlton County and Cloquet.

"We do give E's for effort!" she grinned.

Participants must take part in teams of two, and any number of teams can participate.

"We do encourage people to work together," said Dugan, "so if you have a couple teams of two you want to work with, you can - but we will only give the prize to the team of two that comes in first!" she cautioned. "That should create some interesting team dynamics."


Although Dugan said the challenges of the race won't be insurmountable, participants should have at least a basic working knowledge of Cloquet.

Dugan said the race will start at the Historical Society on Saturday at 11 a.m., at which time participants will go over the rules. Though the event is open to all ages, Dugan cautioned it would be a good idea to keep that in perspective.

"The clues will involve history, but we want to make sure everyone can complete them, so you can have a lifeline you can call for help. We'll also have history 'experts' on hand, and our phones here at the Historical Society will be open if you need a resource during the race. The clues are ones you'll be able to follow with a basic knowledge of Cloquet. There will be people along the way to help out as well."

Dugan added that members of the Cloquet Area Chamber of Commerce will be helping out at the final stop, "so we'll have a fun party atmosphere!" she said.

Dugan reported six teams have already signed up and that number is likely to grow in coming days.

"So far, it's just kind of a random group of people of all age ranges," she said. "We have some high school students, an older couple and even a team from Duluth. There's going to be a whole mix of people."

Dugan said the event is geared toward offering something new and different, and also toward making residents more cognizant of just what this area has to offer.

"It's fun for people to learn more about their town and engage with it in kind of a different way," she commented. "Most of us don't often walk or run through it all that much. So often we drive from one location to another. It will be a nice way to encourage people to get used to going down to old Cloquet in the west end, for example. There are a lot of really neat things going on there that not everyone knows about."


The cost to enter is just $5 - "but winning is priceless!" smiled Dugan.

Teams must register before Friday, May 4, by calling or e-mailing the Carlton County Historical Society at 218-879-1938 or .

Pine Journal Publisher/ reporter Wendy Johnson can be contacted at: .

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