Getting to the heart of travel
Eighteen years ago my husband, an avid history fan, introduced me to the Renaissance Festival, one of his favorite events to attend while growing up. We spent the day marveling at the craftsmanship displayed by master artisans, sampled a variety of food and drink and cheered with the crowds during the thunderous jousting competition.
As we approached the exit, I suggested we stop in a quaint jewelry shop to look for earrings. While I browsed, Jason asked if I liked any of the rings on display, which seemed odd since most were gothic gargoyles and dragon heads, not exactly my style. To avoid sounding rude to the proprietor working the counter, I politely said I didn't really see anything that would fit. Jason then presented me with a lovely engagement ring and proposed!
And so began our tradition of attending the Renaissance Festival every year to visit that jewelry shop and reminisce. I share this story because it demonstrates emotional ties people develop with specific events or locations.
Duluth has served as the setting for endless stories such as this, creating individual traditions carried out year after year. Events often function as the catalyst that provides the initial reason for traveling to a destination and tying in a signature life experience.
For one couple who enjoyed snowmobiling together, the groomer at AMSOIL Duluth National Snocross was the perfect setting to get married and they return each year to toast their anniversary. The bride and groom who tied the knot aboard the Pride of Baltimore during Tall Ships have the opportunity to return to Duluth next August during Tall Ships 2016.
As I write, there are more than 30 events scheduled across the city on this particular weekend. If one person per event celebrates a birthday or gets engaged, it creates the potential for dozens of return visits to commemorate these milestones. Multiply this by the number of events scheduled throughout the year and literally thousands of visitors could potentially choose Duluth as their getaway for years to come.
Much attention is focused on the economic impact generated by events in our community, which is quite significant and definitely worth highlighting. However, these events enrich the vitality of our city, providing an endless stream of experiences to enhance the overall culture of Duluth benefiting locals and visitors alike.
Anna Tanski is president/CEO of Visit Duluth and lives in Hermantown with her husband, Jason. She has two children, Allison and Steven. She’s a native of the Twin Ports, born and raised in Superior, hence a Green Bay Packer fan to the core. Email her at email@example.com.