Tall Ships Attract Thousands: Puts Millions Into Local Economy

By KBJR News 1

August 6, 2010 Updated Aug 1, 2010 at 11:18 PM CDT

This is the third year that tall ships have come to Duluth for a summer festival.

This year's is almost over but it already appears to be the most popular one yet.

Dave Anderson tells us how things have gone so far.

With a bang, nine majestic sailing vessels came to town on Thursday for the Northland's third go around with tall ships.

It stated with a grand parade of sail lead by the retired Coast Guard Cutter Sundew and escorts from the Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron.

Once in port, the ships drew in people from well out of our region like Joe Dokken of Northfield.

"My wife grew up on the North Shore so we're familiar with Duluth but this is a unique experience to have things you'd see in movies like Pirates of the Caribbean or Master and Commander or Mutiny on the Bounty so it's neat to see something like that."

Some people, like Abby Fleck of Sauk Rapids, were initially unsure of what the big deal was about the ships.

Her mind changed when she saw them, though.

"Probably since they're different. I've never been on a ship this size so it's really interesting to see how they work."

The tall ships event was put on by a group called Visit Duluth.

Staff members estimate 200,000 people joined Abby to see how the vessels worked.

They also estimate those visitors put $15 million dollars into the Twin Ports economy.

There's no word yet if there'll be a fourth tall ship festival next year but if there is, Don and Kathleen Rodger of Moorhead urge people to go.

"Do it. It's one of those bucket list things you need to do once in a lifetime!"

The festival will end Monday at 4:00 p.m.

On Tuesday, the vessels will pack up and ship out to their next destination.