This past August we drove up to Duluth Minnesota to attend the Tall Ship Festival. This is a huge event in Duluth and it is the second time we have attended.There were nine ships at this year’s festival.
As we drove into town we noticed that the Pride of Baltimore II was tied up at the docks in Superior, Wisconsin so we drove over to take a look.
We were a bit disappointed with this years festival. The crowds were so large that it was almost impossible to get on the ships. This year they sold special passes that allowed you to go to the head of the line but even those lines were long. the last time it was held it was relatively easy to get on the ships but not this year. We had friends come up to visit the ships but they decided it wasn’t worth standing in line. They weren’t the only ones that gave up. We decided to skip the ship festival and drive up to Gooseberry Falls State Park. Turns out a lot of other folks had the same idea and there were no places to park at Gooseberry.
In addition to the problem of getting on the ships it was very difficult to move around the waterfront. The famous Blue Bridge was a huge bottleneck with long lines waiting to get across the bridge. It was even worse when the bridge had to open to let ships through. There was another bottleneck in back of the aquarium. There was an art show taking place at Bayfront Park and several times we just gave up and went back to the condo because the crowds were so large. I suppose the event was a success for the city but it was a very negative experience for the visitor.
My wife was particularly disappointed that the Norwegian Viking Ship Draken Harald Hårfagre was not able to make it to the festival. We had followed their five weeks from sail from the North Sea, across the Atlantic. We just missed seeing it in Iceland. As it turned out the ship couldn’t couldn’t navigate Lake Superior’s pilot laws. Apparently they were unaware that they had to have a pilot on board and didn’t have the funds to pay for one.
The El Galeón Andalucía was my favorite ship. Unfortunately it didn’t give rides and were weren’t able to get on it this year because of the crowds.
El Galeón Andalucía
The Zeeto was docked behind the Mist of Avalon in this shot.
The When and If was giving rides and is shown here entering the Duluth Ship Canal with the North Breakwater Light and Duluth in the background.
When and If
The US Brig Niagara is showing entering the harbor during the Parade of Tall Ships. We watched the event from the War Memorial Park. The festival did offer an opportunity to sail on one of the Tall Ships during the parade and that is something I would seriously consider doing during the next event.
US Brig Niagara
I happened to catch the Mist of Avalon sailing out of the harbor, early in the morning, as it was leaving Duluth for it’s next destination.
Mist of Avalon
The Denis Sullivan was heading for the docks in Duluth Harbor.
Appledore V under sail in Duluth Harbor.
The Abby Road was a late entry into the festival. I happened to catch it entering the harbor right behind a large ship.