Summer is a Festival in Duluth

Summer is a Festival in Duluth!

Photo courtesy of the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center

During these precious, gorgeous days and nights of summer in Duluth and the surrounding area, tourists and residents alike can enjoy annual events to suit every taste and interest, with many geared towards families. Early summer events like the “Park Point Art Fair,’ the “Fourth Fest,” the Rhubarb Festival and the marquee Duluth event, Grandma’s Marathon, kick off a summer of celebrations and outdoor activities that make Duluth a festival of fun.

By the Bay

A must-stop venue for summer activity is Bayfront Festival Park, home to everything from rock concerts to fireworks, from art fairs to yoga classes. Enjoying events in the Park, with invigorating breezes off of the Bay and the beautiful Aerial Lift Bridge in the background, make Bayfront an important summer destination.

According to Lucie Amundsen, DECC Communications Director, "It's great to see people enjoying this beautiful location right by the water; Bayfront is special. Adding a second Bayfront Park gate on the Lakewalk near the Great Lakes Aquarium will only make it easier to enjoy."

Annual Bayfront events in July include the “Reggae and World Music Festival” (July 16), a celebration of world music whose artists spread the message of love, hope, and equality. “Festival By the Lake” (July 23) celebrates the rich history of Duluth and its surrounding areas with culture and cuisine. All Points North Summer Brewfest (July 30) serves up samples from 100+ Minnesota breweries and brew pubs.

Hairball at Bayfront Festival Park. Photo by Steve Mattson

Bayfront Festival Park is home to several August events as well. “City on the Hill Music Fest”(August 5-6) features top-tier Christian artists and fellowship. For over twenty-five years, the “Bayfront Blues Festival” has been a world leader showcasing a veritable who’s who in the blues and blues/rock music genre.

Over 100 artists show their wares at “Art in Bayfront Park” (August 20-21) with jewelry, painting, photography, ceramics, metalwork, glass and more. The Tribute Fest was set up to raise awareness and funds for homeless veterans in the state of Minnesota through music.

Yoga at Bayfront - Submitted photo

Yoga enthusiasts can even enjoy “Bayfront Flow” with Kyle Leia Heyesen at Bayfront (Tuesdays, from 5:15-6:15  June-October). Heyesen said, “It is such a great gift and a treasure to be able to be outside and practice yoga in such a beautiful place.” Sign-up for the yoga classes here.

For more info on other DECC and Bayfront events, click here.

On the Street, In the Park, and By the Water

Street fairs are always popular for shopping bargains, food, and entertainment.

“Sidewalk Days” is a city festival that takes place right in the heart of beautiful downtown Duluth. It encompasses three blocks of the newly reconstructed Superior Street. Sidewalk sales, kids’ obstacle courses, car shows, food, street dances, and more are all part of the activities for the entire family.

Celebrating West Duluth, “Spirit Valley Days” features the Northland’s largest classic car show, a street dance, parade, book sale, craft and rummage sale, 5K run/walk, Ms. West Duluth Pageant, garden tour, kids games, pancake breakfast, fish fry, food and artisan vendors, live entertainment, and more.

The Greater Downtown Council offers free outdoor movies every Friday night at sunset during the summer, starting July 8th. The movies are shown on a giant outdoor screen in Leif Erikson Park overlooking the shores of Lake Superior. For a complete listing of movies, visit

Glensheen Mansion holds Duluth’s premier summer concert series on the water, “Concerts on the Pier” in July and August. The concerts are free and open to the public from 5 to 8 pm, with music starting at 7 pm.

Refreshment options at the Mansion include craft beers and non-alcohol drinks, Love Creamery ice cream, and a variety of food from local food trucks.

Guests are encouraged to enjoy a lakeside campfire, paddle or boat in to view the concert from the water, or to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the show from the shore. For a concert lineup, go here.


In the Skies

The Duluth Air and Aviation Expo, held at the Duluth International Airport, (July 16-17) is the largest spectator event north of the Twin Cities, bringing in approximately 50,000 spectators over the weekend. The Duluth Air Show showcases the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and also features many other aircraft fly-overs, demos, and displays.

The USAF Thunderbirds headline the 2022 Duluth Airshow. Photo by Ken Palmer

Airshow tickets can be purchased online at, at all Minnesota Menards locations, and at the gate on the days of the event. Lindsay Kern, Expo Special Events Director, said, “We are proud of the patriotic message of the Air and Aviation Expo. There is nothing like the power of the aircraft, the skills of the pilots, and their incredible teamwork.”

Destination Events Locale

Many more summer events are added every year and annual events continue to grow and thrive.The area has become a destination locale for both its incredible natural beauty and the exciting activities that showcase fun with family and friends, establishing Duluth as “Festival Northland.”

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