The Duluth Festival Center Executive Committee hosted the August Duluth Merchants Association meeting at the Festival Center and briefed local business folks on plans for the 30th anniversary event.
Emcee Brooks Coleman and 2012 Duluth Fall Festival Chairman Kathryn Willis welcomed DMA President Jim Johnson and members to the Aug. 7 meeting at the Duluth Festival Center
The festival gets a lot of support from local business people, Coleman said. “They buy sponsorships, set up booths and volunteer with the festival.”
The 30th Anniversary Duluth Fall Festival occurs Sept. 29 and 30 on the Duluth Town Green. The festival involves 400 volunteers who serve on 50 committees and attracts an estimated 100,000 visitors to Duluth each fall.
Former festival chairmen, who comprise the Executive Committee, reported on various aspects of the festival.
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. “It’s a great way to start the festival,” said Gin Willis, who initiated the carnival as part of the festival in 2010.
Jim Adkins, the 2013 chairman, said that more volunteers are welcome. Volunteers can sign up online and indicate which committee on which they would like to serve. Festival meetings are held the last Thursday of each month usually at the Fall Festival Center. The August meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 30 in the Duluth City Hall Community Room.
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. Volunteers and sponsors will enjoy a cookout Aug. 11 at Wally’s Party Shack. “The DFF Committee is not just a working group, it’s a social club,” said Kay Montgomery.
Kathryn Willis announced that Mayor Nancy Harris will chair the 2014 Duluth Fall Festival. “I’m honored to be asked,” said Harris. “It’s an awesome responsibility, but I know there will be a great committee behind me.”
Fourteen restaurants will participate in Taste of Duluth Sept. 13 at the Payne-Corley House,” Annette McIntosh said. This is a fancy dress-up event where wearing festival T-shirts is not allowed. Tickets are $20 for festival workers and free for sponsors and “Friends of the Festival."
Montgomery informed the group that Livin’ Large, a dance party band, will entertain at the free pre-festival concert Sept. 22 on the Duluth Festival Center Stage. Eddie Owen Presents will provide the opening act. Other activities include a parade of chairmen wearing T-shirts from the years they chaired the festival, a memorabilia tent of festival artifacts, and free desserts.
Owen reported that EOP had presented 55 shows at the Red Clay Theatre since December that attracted an attendance of 6,643.
On the Friday before the festival, the official set-up day, workers and police, firefighters and paramedics are treated to lunch. The date for the communitywide lunch on the Duluth Town Green is Sept. 28.
Cherie Pritchard handed out sponsorship packets to attendees. Last year’s sponsorships resulted in $120,000 not including in-kind services, she said. Sponsorships range from $1,000 to $5,000. Individual “Friends of the Festival” contribute $250.
Proceeds from the festival have always been used to benefit downtown Duluth, Kathryn Willis said. The DFF Executive Committee paid off the balance of its $1.3 million debt for the Duluth Festival Center at “The 30th on the 30th,” a free community celebration and concert June 30.
COSTCO-Duluth provided food for the DFF-DMA gathering. Duluth Fine Wine Beer & Spirits Super Store provided beverages. Volunteers brought desserts to share.
For more information about the festival or to volunteer, visit www.duluthfallfestival.org.