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Published May 11, 2010, 12:59 PM

101 Ways to Have Fun Under the Sun

Jump into summer with Living North’s fifth annual guide to celebrating the season. In no particular order, because each could be your “number one,” we offer you 101 ideas to embrace the glory days of summer. So get out there and grab all fun the Northland has to offer!

1. Grab your family and book it to the Karpeles Manuscript Library. See important documents and manuscripts from a private collection featuring history, music and art. Open daily from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Visit for more information.

2. Step it up and go for a walk along Dylan’s Way. Created in celebration of Bob Dylan’s 65th birthday, the 1.8 mile Bob Dylan Way winds through Duluth’s downtown, extending from Michigan Street at 5th Avenue

West to 15th Avenue East and London Road. Be sure to walk by Dylan’s early childhood residence located at 519 3rd Avenue West.

3. Tanning beds? Who needs them? Take a dip in Lake Superior then sun yourself at the beach on Park Point. Finding a better way to enjoy the

summer’s golden rays is hard to do. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

4. Be one of the first to race down the Timber Twister Alpine Coaster,

Spirit Mountain’s newest attraction. The coaster features a 3,200-foot track through a forest and down the mountain in individual coaster cars. Riders can travel solo or in pairs and have complete control of their

speed. The ride is set to open July 1. Visit to plan

your downhill dive.

5. Head to Gordy’s Hi-Hat in Cloquet to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Join the action as Guy Fieri, food critic for the Food Network Channel, films an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” from May 13-20. Be sure to guzzle one of their delicious milkshakes to cool off the summer heat- it’s worth the brain freeze.

6. Tour the last whaleback ship in the world. Launched from Superior in 1896, The S.S. Meteor is the last of these innovative ships, called whalebacks for their rounded hulls. To learn more, visit

7. Jam on it and take the kids to Anchor Point Church for some free guitar

lessons. Don’t have a guitar? No problem. The folks at Anchor Point will lend you one for the evening. Children ages 10 to 18 can learn popular classic rock songs while their parents sip on free coffee. Lessons are held the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. Visit to learn more.

8. Can you make music out of cardboard? Can you make a tin can sing? Well, a fabulous group of musicians and bands can, and they’re competing for

you! Check out the 14th Annual Battle of the Jugbands at Amazing Grace Bakery in Canal Park. On Sunday, May 30th from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., be a part of the crowd cheering on these unique performers. Call (218)722-6895 or visit to find out more.

9. Bands, floats and candy- oh my! Take in a parade, Northland style, on May 31. Grab a lawn chair and set up shop between 59th Avenue West and Grand Avenue in West Duluth to honor our nation’s heroes. 10. Get appraised. Are you dying to know the value of that painting Great Uncle

Harry left to you? Take a drive to the Moose Lake Community Center on June 1st and, for a $2 fee, a local auctioneer will be happy to appraise the item in question. The auctioneer will be available starting at 7 p.m. Call (218)485-4159 with questions.

11. Watch the sailboat races from the historic Fitger’s complex. Starting at 6 p.m. on June 6, see which vessels catch some wind and which are left flagging behind.

12. Start training now and you could compete in one of Duluth’s many 5K races. Not the competitive sort? Try walking the track to the finish line; it’s great exercise. Or, take the whole family along and cheer on the

runners from the sidelines.

13. Bargain hunters, listen up. Grab some great deals in the 29th Annual Park Point Rummage Sale. On June 11 and 12, put on your walking shoes for four miles of great sales and deals. There’s always plenty of food from roadside vendors, and free parking, too. For details, call (218) 722-


14. Hear ye! Hear ye! The Olde World Renaissance Faire will take place two

miles west of Twig, Minn. Bring the whole family to admire the jousters, jesters and ladies-in-waiting. Events will take place June 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Go in costume and receive a three dollar discount. For

more information, call (218) 729-8974 or visit

15. Get all keyed up for the Three Bridges International Chamber Music Festival going on June 6-17. This fabulous concert series features faculty and staff of the University of Minnesota Duluth as well as community members. Works by Schumann, Mahler, Mozart and more will be featured. To reserve tickets, go to

16. Grab a book and relax in a hammock. There’s nothing like the warmth of

the sun, a good book and a swinging bed.

17. The kilts will be flying in the Duluth Scottish Heritage Association’s Annual Scottish Highland Dance Competition. Beginning at 9:30 a.m. on

June 26, bagpipes, tartan and bonnie lasses will abound at the Fitger’s complex. After the competition, enjoy a nice afternoon tea. Visit to learn more.

18. A fruit or a vegetable? That is the question. Featuring rhubarb baked goods, a stage show and a children’s activity area, there’s nothing better for a day of wholesome family entertainment than the Rhubarb Festival. This year, get your fill of the tart veggie on June 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Festivities will be held on the 1100 block of London Road. Call (218) 720-6521.

19. Bring on the worms! June 12-13 is the United Northern Sportsmen

Fishing Contest. Hosted at Island Lake, there’s room for fishermen (or women) of all ages. To learn how to enter the contest, call (218) 721-4843 or visit

20. Step back in time July 2-4 and enter St. Louis River Historical

Encampment. Experience living history with traders, craftsmen, music and entertainment for the whole family. This event will be held at Dunlap Island in Cloquet. Call (218)879-9151 or visit for


21. Forget the bridge over troubled water, enjoy a bridge over sparkling water instead. Grab your family and head to the nearest beach on the Fourth of July and enjoy the gorgeous fireworks over Lake Superior.

22. Frolic in Park Point Recreation Area at the Park Point Art Fair. June 26-27. Head down to the Point to speak with local artists, enjoy original artwork, see demonstrations or make children’s art. All of the proceeds from the volunteer-led event are used to support charitable causes. Call (218)428-1916 for details, or visit

23. Rev your engines and drive on over to Downtown Duluth on July 7 for the

Classic Car Show and Harley Revue. Featuring six blocks of classic cars

and motorcycles, this event also offers free music on every block. To learn more, call (218) 727-8549 or visit

24. Every guy grab a girl, everywhere around Duluth. Well, at least on the 100 block of WestSuperior Street on July 10th. Join fellow revelers for a street dance from 8 p.m. to midnight.

25. Duluth Playhouse presents Mel Brooks’s classic “The Producers.” For ticket information and show times, Call (218) 733-7555 or visit

26. Get out the muscle pain cream. You’re going to need it after craning your neck to watch the high-flying action at the Duluth Airshow. The largest airshow in Minnesota will return to the Duluth International Airport with flying colors. The gates will open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. daily on July 17 and 18.

27. I scream, you scream, we all scream for an ice cream social. Make your way to the Fairlawn Mansion on July 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and enjoy a big bowl of the frozen stuff. Plus, take a free tour of the gorgeous, historic mansion. For other event information, visit

28. Hunt for agates at Brighton Beach or enjoy a lazy summer day with smooth skipping rocks. Located at 61st Avenue East, Brighton Beach is a great place for a day of cavorting along the shores of Lake Superior.

29. Learn about poop decks. Visit the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor

Center and fill your mind with knowledge about the shipping industry. Open every day during the summer, the center offers films, model ships and exhibits. (218)727-2497

30. Watch a movie. Grab your best friend or a date and relax in Leif Erickson Park with a fun flick. Every Friday, beginning at dusk, a feature film is projected onto the big screen. Bring a blanket and munchies.

31. Who doesn’t like homegrown things? Check out the Homegrown Music

Festival May 2 through May 9th. Duluth is turned into a hotbed of original, live music. Culminating on May 7-8, the event features everything from grunge bands to nationally known musicians. To learn more,

head to

32. Grab a canoe and a friend and paddle your way along the shores of Lake

Superior. Be sure to pack a picnic and stop along a secluded stretch of shoreline for lunch or dinner.

33. Tie a fly or build a birdhouse. Both skills are taught at the Youth Outdoor Expo held at the Hartley Nature Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 1. For kids ages 7-15; Free to the first 200 kids and parents registered. This

event is geared toward getting families outdoors and offers free lessons in canoeing and bird banding. Call (218) 724-6735 or visit

34. Take the dare. Can you conquer the Enger Tower burger at Gronk’s?

Featuring delicious burgers and brews, Gronk’s delights your taste buds with each bite. And if you do try to conquer the Tower, you’re sure to earn something for you efforts either a T-shirt or a tummy ache. (715)398-0333

35. Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Duluth-Superior Symphony

Orchestra. Their grand celebration will take place May 15th at 8 p.m. and will be held at the DECC auditorium. For more information about this event, or to learn about other concerts, visit or call (218) 623-3776.

36. Strap on the kneepads, grab some rollerblades and head to the nearest scenic trail. For the trail nearest you, check out

37. Head on over to the Proctor Hoghead Festival, August 16-22. No, folks, we’re not talking about pigs. The festival celebrates Proctor’s railroad heritage. Enjoy music, a car show, fireworks, tournaments, food vendors, street dances and a pet parade. (218) 624-0187

38. Got the blues? If not, Duluth will help you out. Check out the Blues Festival August 13-15, held at Bayfront Festival Park. Get swept away in the luscious tones of the saxophone and step right up to the front row.

39. Walk around the Carlton County Fair and visit with the animals. With all your favorite gourmet dishes - cotton candy, corn dogs and mini doughnuts - the sugar and the bright lights will keep you awake long into the night. August 19-22. Gates open at 8 a.m.

40. Get fresh. If you love organic, wholesome food, then this one’s for you. The Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth is having a Midsummer Organic Food Fest. Meet the farmers, enjoy some music and enter some drawings. Whether you love red delicious or blueberries, this event is sure to serve up some tasty treats. Aug. 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

41. Fly a kite. Even if you can’t sing like Mary Poppins, it’s still fun to let out the strings and watch the colorful contraptions soar.

42. Make your thighs ache. Climb to the top of Enger Tower and enjoy the amazing view. The 80-foot tower was dedicated in 1939 by Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha of Norway. The surrounding gardens bloom with life during the summer and are a spectacular treat for locals and tourists alike.

43. Take your hunny on a romantic night out. Pamper yourselves in luxurious style at one of seven bed and breakfasts in Duluth. Enjoy a wonderful evening in a beautiful city and have someone else serve you breakfast for a change. From the modern style of Solglimt on the Lake to the historic Cotton Mansion, there’s something for everyone.

44. Paddle on up to the Two Harbors Kayak Festival. Featuring an 18 mile kayak and canoe marathon, this event will be held August 6-8. To enter the race long on to

45. Spook yourself by touring the Fairlawn Mansion this August, on Friday the 13th. Bring a flashlight and learn about the superstitious lives of the Victorians. Enjoy the historic mansion in a whole different light. Tours start at 8:30 p.m. and leave every half-hour. Call (715) 394-5712 or visit to get in on the freaky fun.

46. Don’t miss the Land of the Loon Festival in Virginia, June 19-20. This festival is everything a small-town festival should be. Take the family and go a little loony with parades, vendors and even a giant loon named Ginny.

47. Lions and tigers and bears - they’re all ready for you at the Lake Superior Zoo. Enjoy a stroll around the beautiful gardens or play ape with the monkeys; either way, the zoo makes for a wild time. Open daily, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit for more information.

48. Nestled between a Great Lake and held at a majestic mansion, it would be hard to find a more picturesque location to hold a Festival of Fine Art and Craft. Held on Aug. 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the region’s finest artists participate in the colorful show. And the best part? It’s free. Glensheen Mansion, (218)726-8910

49. How big CAN a bubble be? If you’re dying to find out, join the festivities from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. during the Bubble Festival, August 29. Put on by the Duluth Boys and Girls Club, you’ll find free rock climbing and skating.

50. Take a walk, bike ride or skateboard tour of the Lakewalk. Step off the path to see the Rose Garden, Viking Ship, Sculpture Garden, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials, or take in the view from a park bench.

51. Gear up for all of your outdoor needs at the Duluth Outdoor Sports Expo. This event features equipment for hunting, boating, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, archery and shooting sports. The expo provides entertainment, samples, giveaways and demonstrations. Located at the great outdoor venue of Spirit Mountain.

52. Learn to scuba dive. Innerspace Scuba Center’s certified PADI instructors will teach you the basics of diving, including dive theory and safe diving techniques. With classes tailored for the beginning diver, Innerspace provides a safe and comfortable experience for all divers. Advanced and wreck dives are also planned throughout the summer. Visit

53. Grab a team of friends and head to Superior Paintball for a day of fun. Play through eight fields offering a variety of terrain, including a castle, ambush trail and a junkyard field. For rates, field, and season pass information visit

54. Find a spot away from the city and look up for nature’s showy night lights, the northern lights. Park Point or Wisconsin Point are ideal spots for viewing.

55. Strap on a pair of rollerskates and bring the whole family to Superior’s World of Wheels Family Roller Skating Center, a throwback in time for good old-fashioned indoor fun on a rainy summer day. For more information visit

56. Celebrate the Minnesota state gemstone at Agate Days at the Minnesota Agate and Geological Interpretive Center in Moose Lake July 17 and 18. Everyone will enjoy the agate stampede when a truck spreads 350 pounds of agates and $300 in quarters mixed in gravel across a street for a game of finders-keepers. For more information visit

57. Take the scenic drive to Bayfield and take in an old-time tent show at the Big Top Chautauqua. This 900-seat canvas tent is a great venue for concerts, plays, lectures and musicals throughout the summer. For more information visit

58. Take a trip to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. These 22 Jewels of Lake Superior” make up this national lakeshore park and are home to cultural and natural resources, caves, great beaches, lighthouses and wilderness areas. You can hike, paddle, sail or cruise to these famous islands. For more information visit or stop in at the Apostle Island National Lake Shore headquarters in Bayfield.

59. Pick your own produce this year at some of the area’s pick-your-own farms. Many regional farms allow visitors to come and reap the harvest when berry picking season starts. Ripe, juicy raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, pumpkins and squash are all available for the picking. To find a pick-your-own-farm near you, visit

60. Let out your inner child and kick up your heels in PlayFront Park. Frolic on a children’s playground built by Duluth citizens. This park is located inside Bayfront Festival Park at the base of 5th Avenue West.

61. Root for the Duluth Huskies. The baseball season runs from June through August, so head to Wade Stadium, grab a ticket and a hot dog and root for the home team. For a schedule and ticket information visit

62. Surf’s up! Yes, on Lake Superior. Join the growing Northland community of surfing enthusiasts who brave the big waves on the big lake. For gear, a surf forecast, and photos of local surfers, visit

63. If it’s too hot to walk, take a bus or the Port Town Trolley for an easy way to tour the city. The DTA provides a convenient and reliable system of buses that travel almost anywhere in the Twin Ports. All DTA buses are wheelchair accessible and are seasonally equipped with bike racks.

64. Reach for the stars this summer at UMD’s Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium. Free presentations are offered every Wednesday and Friday nights to keep you gazing toward the heavens all summer long. Visit

65. Have you ever watched a movie in a barn? Make your way to the Free Range Film Festival, July 30 and 31. This annual event celebrates independent films and country living. The films are projected onto a screen in a barn just south of Wrenshall. Visit

66. Visit the Thompson Hill Travel Information Center at I-35 and Highway

2. Enjoy a spectacular view of Lake Superior and learn a little about the area with free information at the tourism counter. It is also a great spot for a picnic. (218)723-4938

67. Climb aboard one of the Vista Fleet boats and explore the scenic

Twin Ports area from the water on a variety of sightseeing cruises. Sail under the Aerial Lift Bridge, around a visiting saltie or up the St. Louis River. For more information visit

68. Take a ride on the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad. The 1.5-hour-long trip winds its way through the St. Louis River estuary, Spirit Lake and Mud Lake. This route gives passengers a scenic view of the river as well as rare views of wildlife in their natural habitat.

69. If all you think about is air conditioning, get yourself to the Miller Hill Mall. Visit

70. Travel over to Carlton and take in the Carlton Daze Celebration, July 23-25. With all-day celebrations including a steak fry, golf tournament, parades, bingo and live music, it’s bound to be lots of entertainment.

71. Set sail for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure as Duluth brings in the Tall Ships. It’s a rare chance to catch a glimpse, step aboard and even set sail on some of the grandest ships of yore. This year’s festival, held July 28 to August 3, boasts a ship directly from the set of “Pirates of the Carribean.” To learn how you can become a pirate too (or at least feel like one for a day) call (800) 438-5884

72. Don’t stay inside this summer. Let Positive Energy Outdoor (ed)Ventures get your family up and moving. The guided experiences explore

people- and animal-powered outdoor adventure while emphasizing fun, teamwork, healthy risk-taking and positive attitudes.

73. Visiting the International Wolf Center in Ely will have you howling with laughter and fun. Learn about wolves, their relationship to wild lands and our human roles in their lives. Educational programs and activities take place year-round.

74. Who doesn’t want a beer and a movie? Head over to the Zeitgeist Arts and grab a beer, take a seat and enjoy an independent film at Zinema 2, Duluth’s only independent movie theater. If you’re hungry after the show, have a bite to eat at the Zeitgeist Arts Café. For showtimes and operating

hours visit

75. Go snorkeling in Lake Superior. Dress up in your favorite bathing suit and hit the cool waters of the Great Lake. Collect shells, watch fish or just enjoy the brisk water on a hot summer day.

76. Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors. Completed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1910, Split Rock Light Station is one of Minnesota's best known landmarks. The lighthouse is open May 15 to October 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (218)226-6372

77. Yeeeeeehaw! Put on your chaps and head over to Superior for the Great

Northern Classic Rodeo, September 3-5. With a watermelon crawl, mutton bustin’ and good old fashioned bull riding, the rodeo is sure to

rustle up some smiles.

78. Watch along the shores of the Great Lake as paddlers battle it out head-to-head in the Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival, August 27-28. This

amazing spectacle features teams of boaters racing toward the finish line.

Enjoy food, festivities and a host of great entertainment.

79. Get a bird’s-eye view of the Northland. Bring your aviator sunglasses

and let Lake Superior Helicopters take you for the ride of your life. Encompassing between 30 to 60 miles, these tours fly over Duluth, Superior and the north shore of Lake Superior.

80. Be sure to remind yourself to take a jaunt to the 3M Museum in Two Harbors. The building was the first headquarters for the now world-wide corporation. Learn about the invention, history and making of Post-it and Scotch tape. Open daily May through October. (218) 834-4898.

81. Bring out your inner adrenaline junkie and take a whitewater rafting tour of Jay Cooke State Park. For the biggest adrenaline high, catch

the river in early spring when the rapids are at peak performance. For milder rides, paddle the river later in the year. To schedule your own whitewater rush, call (218) 384-4637 or visit

82. For all the history buffs out there, this one’s for you. Visit a memorial like the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, the Korean Veterans

Memorial or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Celebrate heroes of the Northland.

83. Show your pride and join the festivities for the annual Duluth-

Superior Pride Festival. September 2-5. Various events will be held over Labor Day weekend. Performers of all different types are set to entertain the masses.

84. Enjoy a romantic Ferris wheel ride with your sweetheart during the Head

of the Lakes Fair, July 14-18. An entire day of distraction is at hand with the many exhibits, carnival rides, games and live entertainment.

Held at the Head of the Lakes Fairground in Superior. Call (715) 394-7848 or visit

85. The Silver-Beaver Bay Days provide the perfect opportunity to bloat your stomach with pancakes. Amusements offered during the festivities include a pancake breakfast, street dance, parade, race and more. July 23-25.

86. Join the fun by participating in a series of special programs and

activities celebrating five lighthouses in the Duluth-Superior harbor

and around Lake Superior. The Twin Port Lighthouse Days will be held August 2-7 at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center. To learn more, call (218) 727-2497 or go to

87. Take pleasure in authentic Scandinavian food at Takk for Maten, located on Superior Street in downtown Duluth. Now serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the grilled lefse wraps, salmon delicacies and scrumptious desserts will make your mouth say “thank you.” Open Monday through Saturday. (218)464-1260

88. Pet a stingray at the Great Lakes Aquarium. With great exhibits of fish

indigenous to the local lakes, the aquarium is a great way to learn about the wildlife of the Northland and to check out other marine life as well. Located in Canal Park, the aquarium is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

89. The gloves are off at Grandma’s Sports Garden in Canal Park. Relish a boxing match, ringside, and soak up all the fist-flying action during Golden Gloves Boxing. Matches take place once a month. For a schedule of events, visit

90. Rent a surrey, moped, scooter or fun car for the day and tool around

the Northland in style. Take the Lakewalk by storm or travel on a nature trail. For rental information visit or call (715) 392-7152.

91. Explore a State Park. The Northland offers a great variety for nature

lovers including Amnicon Falls State Park, Jay Cooke State Park and Pattison State Park. Take in a rushing waterfall, watch the local

wildlife or admire beautiful plants.

92. Pitch a tent at a campground (or in your own backyard.) Melt chocolate and marshmallows over a campfire and squeeze them between graham cracker goodness for an all-American summer treat.

93. Slap on a number and compete in one of the great races going on at Grandma’s Marathon, June 17-19. If you’re not up to running the 26.2 mile trek, enjoy live music, great food, breathtaking scenery and community spirit.

94. Visit the Accordion Museum in the Harrington Arts Center in Superior for an insider’s view into the history of the accordion. Open Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the museum is home to hundreds of beautiful accordions, figurines and related articles. For more information call (715) 395-2787 or log on to

95. Take in a production of “The Who’s Tommy” at the Renegade Theatre in

Duluth. With over 10 Tony Awards, this original Broadway production is sure to keep your attention. For showtime information, or to find other productions, visit or call (218) 722-6775.

96. Laugh your head off every Friday and Saturday night at comedy night at

Dubh Linn Irish Pub. Drink some great brew and enjoy the comedy force with your friends. Think you have what it takes to make people crack a smile? Step up to the mike and try out jokes yourself during Amateur Comedy Night.

97. Discover whodunnit aboard a murder mystery train ride on the North

Shore Scenic Railroad. Filled with intrigue, adventure and mind-boggling clues, see if you have what it takes to solve the case. The Railroad offers other fabulous excursions as well. To learn how to book your own

mystery-filled ride, visit

98. Grab yourself a cup of coffee, indulge in homemade bread or enjoy local artwork at the Trade and Commerce Marketplace in Superior. Located at 916 Hammond Avenue, the historic building holds everything from pottery to jewelry to fantastic food.

99. Stroll down Main Street in Ashland and stop to take in the gorgeous

murals adorning the outer walls of the buildings. The murals feature historic people and places and were hand-painted by local artists.

100. Grab a pledge sheet and your furry best friend and participate in Animal Allies’ Walk for Animals on June 5. Help to support the shelter that helps to support animals in need of a good home. To find out how you can make a difference, go to

101. Take a nap! Head to the nearest lawn chair or grab a beach towel and soak up summer’s rays. After all that work having fun, you deserve it.

Our thanks to our friends at Visit Duluth, who graciously helped us compile a fantastic list of places and events.