Legendary music promoter and “Live Music Matters” advocate Eddie Owen will be the grand marshal at the Duluth Fall Festival Parade. Kathryn Willis, chairman of the 2012 festival, announced that Owen had been selected for the honor at the 30th anniversary festival.
The announcement was made at a meeting of the Duluth Fall Festival Committee Thursday (Aug. 30) in the Community Room at Duluth City Hall. This was the next to last committee meeting prior to the festival opening.
The 30th Anniversary Duluth Fall Festival occurs Sept. 29 and 30 on the The festival, which is put on entirely by volunteers, attracts an estimated 100,000 visitors to downtown Duluth each fall. The parade kicks off the festival at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“I’m honored that I get to be a part of it,” said Owen.
Owen, founder and former general manager of Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, was so impressed during an initial visit to Duluth that he launched “Eddie Owen Presents” and started presenting singer-songwriter concerts at the Red Clay Theatre in downtown Duluth last December. Since then Owen has been regularly staging live weekend and occasional midweek concerts in the 250-plus-seat Duluth venue. He recently inititated Open Mic Night on Mondays.
Owen and Eddie’s Attic have been credited with launching the careers of Sugarland, John Mayer, the Zac Brown Band and others.
To show its support of Owen's efforts and the downtown Duluth music venue, the Duluth Fall Festival Executive Committee is contributing $25,000 in festival proceeds toward much-needed improvements to the Red Clay Theatre. The Duluth Downtown Development Authority will administer the funds.
The city owns the Red Clay Theatre. Owen books acts and manages the theatre under a contract with the DDA.
Proceeds from the festival are used solely to benefit downtown Duluth and have funded many improvements over the years. The DFF Executive Committee paid off the balance of its $1.3-million debt for the Duluth Festival Center on the Duluth Town Green this year.
“Eddie Owen Presents” is providing bluegrass musician Roxie Watson as the opening act for the pre-festival Sept. 22 free community concert at the Duluth Festival Center Stage. Livin’ Large, a dance party band, will headline the concert.
Willis also announced that Tom Martin, chairman and CEO of Gwinnett Community Bank, the top sponsor for the festival since its inception, would serve as honorary grand marshal.
A carnival opens across from Duluth City Hall the Thursday before the festival and continues through Sunday. Discount carnival ticket will again be available for Friday and Saturday nights.
The festival on Saturday and Sunday features arts and craft booths, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, a road race, and more.
There are still some slots open for volunteers who can sign up online and indicate which committee on which they would like to serve. Volunteers get together for a Festival Night Out the first Thursday of each month for a dutch treat dinner at a sponsoring restaurant. The next outing is Sept. 6 at Meat & Potato Restaurant.
After the festival, Owen will host a special concert for the Duluth Fall Festival Committee and volunteers at the Red Clay Theater. Tickets for the October festival will be discounted for festival workers.
For more information about the festival or to volunteer, visit www.duluthfallfestival.org.