Prepping for Rush of Northlanders/Tourists at Fourth Fest

By KBJR News 1

July 3, 2012 Updated Jul 3, 2012 at 7:09 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Crews involved with the set up for this year's Fourth Fest have called it the most anticipated one to date.

Following June's devastating floods, Venue Operations Manager Jeff Stark has been utilizing traditional and social media to get the word out that Duluth is ready for the rush of visitors.

"We've been telling everybody around Minnesota that it is high and dry on the Fourth of July in Duluth. So, we're looking forward to having between, hopefully, about 15,000 people in Bayfront Festival Park, and we're guessing the better part of 25,000 people downtown, in the surrounding area—Canal Park, that area as well," said Stark.

Stark says there will be something for everyone in and around Bayront, come Wednesday, especially for those who appreciate a good rush.

"Back in the DECC parking lot is the Mighty Thomas Carnival. [They've] returned this year, [and] they'll be in the North Parking Ramp right in front of the Amsoil Arena. That's fun for kids of all ages," said Stark.

...of course, you can't forget the foot longs, deep fryers, and anything on a stick.

"If you want some Greek Gyros, if you want some Vietnamese egg rolls, if you want some pizza, if you want Americana food—your hot dogs, sausages, hamburgers, that kind of stuff—we've got everything down here," said Stark.

Steve Grazier, of North Central Productions, says this year's fest delivers the message to all that Duluth is open for business.

"It's important to show that Bayfront Park is pristine, and untouched, and largely, luckily, thankfully, our downtown core, and our hospitality industry in Canal Park and downtown was largely unaffected, and that we're open for business," said Grazier.

...great news for the thousands of tourists expected to enjoy the biggest fireworks display in Minnesota.

"We're very proud that, not only people from Duluth, but people from the surrounding areas come here [and] make an economic impact," said Stark.

...going above and beyond to ensure that this Fourth Fest goes out with a bang.

Fourth Fest events will kick off at 4 PM tomorrow, with local band Big Wave Dave and the Ripples taking the stage, and people will be able to enjoy all of the food, crafts, and carnival rides until it all comes to a dramatic close with the fireworks at 10 PM.