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Bold promotion for next Super Bowl

"That was terrible!" says Mayor Larson after throwing a football from the Lift Bridge. (Screen capture from mnsuperbowl.com)

Every football season I cheer my beloved Packers toward the Super Bowl, which unfortunately turned into super heartbreak this year. With Super Bowl LII (52) coming to US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis in 2018, there's a lot more to cheer about, regardless of which teams are vying for the Lombardi trophy.

A full-time staff of more than 20 has been busy assembling more than 35 committees to coordinate details of this massive undertaking under the guidance of the Super Bowl LII Host Committee. I'm honored to serve on the Tourism Committee, which is focused on the visitor experience as well as garnering visibility and participation throughout the state.

In the 52 weeks ahead, organizers are striving make this a statewide celebration which affords Duluth an opportunity to play a key role in the festivities. The Super Bowl LII Legacy Fund will award 52 grants to communities around Minnesota to support projects that keep kids healthy and active. This initiative is centered around creating a widespread, long-term impact across the state long after the hype has faded.

Much has changed since Minnesota hosted its last Super Bowl 25 years ago, when it was simply a long weekend. Events now stretch over 10 days culminating with the championship game on Sunday. Dubbed the Bold North Festival, next year's activities will incorporate well established, metro-based events such as Saint Paul's Winter Carnival along with the massive NFL Experience, a multitude of award galas and a sea of 5,000 media from more than 100 countries.

The Super Bowl host committee is encouraging nonmetro Minnesota to capitalize on the Bold North theme and create signature events within their own communities, expanding the celebration to every corner of the state. These will be enthusiastically promoted as part of the official festival calendar of events.

Dialogue is underway to determine what type of event will showcase Duluth's unique characteristics and highlight our love of the Bold North. Recognizing the opportunity to generate significant exposure for our region goes beyond enticing people to visit, this presents a platform to share why the Northland is an outstanding destination for business. Visit Duluth plans to work closely with the city and economic development agencies to partner on this initiative.

More than 10,000 volunteers are needed over the 10 days which provides additional opportunities for non-metro residents to join the fun. Applications will open this spring and will most likely fill quickly.

The official hand-off ceremony to Minnesota took place in Houston Monday after the Super Bowl. As part of a statewide contest to compile the video played during the ceremony, Visit Duluth submitted a clip of Mayor Emily Larson on the Aerial Lift Bridge catching a football thrown by Minnesota Vikings Purple People Eater Doug Sutherland in front of the William A. Irvin. Unfortunately it didn't make the final cut, but Duluth was featured several times. You can view entire video at mnsuperbowl.com, plus clips including Sutherland and Mayor Larson here.

Anna Tanski

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.

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