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A summer of downtown events

Sidewalk Days Festival (Budgeteer file photo)

Grandma's Marathon is always a great kickoff to the summer season in our community and especially in our downtown. We're thrilled to host thousands of runners and spectators while showing off our central business district. It's a nice boost to the local economy and an event that everyone embraces.

Of course, there is a lot of preparation that goes into any event in our community. And the past weeks have included some final summer preparations, as we have planted flowers in streetscape planters, hung beautiful hanging flower baskets, swept sidewalks, washed windows and put up banners. These are just some of the small, basic elements that add so much to the central urban core of our community.

And, as we look ahead, the GDC is pleased to kick off our outdoor movie season at Leif Erikson Park on Friday, July 8. A movie in the park's "Sail Away Summer" runs every Friday night throughout the summer season. This popular event is made possible thanks to our title sponsor, National Bank of Commerce, with support from 95 KQDS, the City of Duluth, AVR, Twin Ports, AAR, Lake Superior College, FOX21, Verizon, the American Lung Association, Tall Ships Duluth, Adventure Zone and CSL Plasma. For the full season schedule of movies, please check out

In addition, the Greater Downtown Council is just weeks away from the Annual Sidewalk Days Festival along Superior Street. Mark your calendar now for July 13, 14 and 15 for this downtown tradition. While Superior Street will be blocked off from Fifth Avenue West to Lake Avenue during the day, the excitement goes well beyond those boundaries. From the YMCA's Sidewalk Shuffle 5k to the street dances on Friday and Saturday nights, there are plenty of activities for everyone. And don't miss out on the Verizon Classic Car Show and Harley Revue on opening night. Hundreds of classic cars and Harley Davidson motorcycles span eight blocks from Fifth Avenue West to Third Avenue East along Superior Street with local bands on each block.

Our Downtown Farmers' Market, sponsored by St. Luke's Medical Arts Clinic, also kicks off during Sidewalk Days this year. Find fresh flowers, baked goods, early season produce and much more on Wednesday, July 13 at the Lake Superior Plaza at the corner of Lake Avenue and Superior Street. The market will continue every Tuesday through Sept. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the plaza.

This is going to be an extraordinary summer. Tall Ships Duluth will bring its regatta of majestic Tall Ships back to Duluth August 18-21. The DECC celebrates its 50th Anniversary. There are so many other events throughout the community. Enjoy Duluth and get downtown!

Kristi Stokes is the president of the Greater Downtown Council in Duluth.  Contact her at 727-8549 or by email at

Kristi Stokes

Kristi Stokes is the president of the Greater Downtown Council in Duluth. Contact her at 727-8549.