Tall Ships Bring Economic Boom to Duluth

By KBJR News 1

July 26, 2013 Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 9:03 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Thousands of people are in Duluth this weekend to catch a glimpse of the nine tall ships.

"This is a boat lover's dream, this is absolutely fantastic, the history behind it. Just the impressions from the boats. Just everything that it brings to Duluth is phenomenal," said Justin Steinbach, President of Vista Fleet Inc.

For the Vista Cruise, it means a major boost in business for the weekend.

"We filled every single cruise yesterday, which is unheard of,"said Steinbach

Meanwhile tourists are filling their arms with souvenirs.

"People like the memorabilia, the kids like to dress like pirates, the grandma and grandpa like to bring home souvenirs for the grandkids, parents like to have the shirts to remember it," said Steinbach.

At Advantage Emblem, spectators are getting their hands on

"tshirts, tanktops, sweatshirts, shorts, we have bags, hoodies, fleeces," said Tim Rogentine, administrative assistant for Advantage Emblem.

Thursday sales were not quite what the company was expecting, but they aren't giving up hope

"I think a lot of people came to Duluth to see the tall ships, and regardless of this weather," said Rogentine,"whether it be rainy or foggy, I think a lot of people will still come down."

And the cooler weather may actually help sell more sweat shirts while the rain will require some protection.

"We have umbrellas if the rain really starts to pick up, we also have ponchos," Rogentine said.

Rain or shine..the show must go on and the people are still coming out

"Today is a little misty, but it's tolerable and we're going on the vista cruise to look at all of the boats," said Bill Lewis, who traveled all the way from Johannesburg, Michigan to see the big ships.

No matter the weather, event organizers say with everything Duluth has to offer....the city could sail away with more than $15 million dollars in revenue from this weekend's festival.

Organizers are expecting a turn out of more than 250,000 spectators in Duluth for the five-day festival.

"The impact is huge. All of our businesses are impacted- everyone in downtown. This is just an amazing thing for Duluth,"said Steinbach.

Souvenir tents open at 8:30 in the morning and remain open until the gates close.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@Kbjr.com