Festival of Sail set to sail again in Two Harbors
The event begins Thursday, Aug. 4, and ends Sunday, Aug. 7.
TWO HARBORS, Minn. — Festival of Sail organizers and city incident command team members are in the final stages of preparing for the tall ships to come to Agate Bay next week. According to Two Harbors Police Chief Rick Hogenson, public safety has been at the forefront of the event's planning for both event attendees and the city's residents.
This is the first time Two Harbors has hosted the event, which is held every three years and was last held in Duluth in 2019. Nine ships, the World's Largest Rubber Duck and over 100 vendors are confirmed.
"It's certainly an exciting time for Two Harbors," Hogenson said. "I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a little anxiety and nervousness, but I think we are well-prepared for this event."
Several law enforcement agencies from northeast Minnesota will be present during the event Aug. 4-7 to help respond to festival-related complaints and calls for service. Hogenson did not disclose the number of officers who will be in the area, but he said there "will be more law enforcement officers present in our community than I think people are typically used to seeing."
Most of the city's $50,000 contribution to the festival is for law enforcement, which will include federal, state and local law enforcement and emergency response agencies. The festival has been designated as a Marine Event of National Significance by the United States Coast Guard, which requests several security measures. The Coast Guard will be present in Two Harbors.
During the festival, people are asked to call the non-emergency lines of the Two Harbors Police Department at 218-834-5566 or the Lake County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center at 218-834-8385 if they need help or have a complaint, including parking violations, trespassing or other calls for service. In an emergency, people should always call 911.
Parking and traffic
Event organizers advise residents, event attendees and people traveling through Two Harbors to expect delays and increased traffic during the Festival of Sail. Parking lots outside the city limits have been designated and will have a shuttle service to and from the festival, with a primary stop at the Two Harbors Community Center. Street parking will be available but limited within the city.
"I would compare it to a construction zone," Hogenson said of driving during the festival. "Just asking people to slow down, be mindful of pedestrians in crosswalks and our law enforcement officers that will be at several of the intersections throughout the community. Be mindful of the road closures that will exist — most of those are on the Seventh Avenue/Highway 61 corridor and they will be clearly marked."
A preliminary parking map released by organizers has designated no-parking zones along state Highway 61/Seventh Avenue, plus Eighth Avenue, South Avenue, Park Road, state Highway 2/Fourth Street, Third Street, Second Street, First Street, and parts of Eighth and Fifth streets. However, Hogenson said the map can be changed at any time while following resident concerns.
Hogenson said making left turns at intersections without traffic lights will really slow down vehicle traffic, and he advises people to only turn left from Seventh Avenue to Seventh, Sixth and Fourth streets. For people who wish to travel through Two Harbors to go north or south along the shore, Highway 61 will remain open.
"To go around Two Harbors is quite a drive, but a scenic one at that. If you've got time, I would encourage you to do it," Hogenson said with a laugh, noting there isn't a designated detour route for motorists who wish to avoid passing through the city.
Festival of Sail promoter Craig Samborski said it's too soon to release ticket sale numbers because tickets are still on sale, but the event will be capped at about 6,000 attendees per day. He does not believe all four days of the festival will sell out, but if the event is full, people will be turned away at the entrances.
All attendees must have a paid ticket, authorized wristband or event-issued credential. According to the festival's social media, buying tickets in advance is not required, but will save time at the festival and will ensure admission if the event does sell out.
There will be two festival entrances: one at Paul Van Hoven Park on Waterfront Drive, and the other near the Two Harbors Lighthouse Museum on Lighthouse Point Road. The World's Largest Rubber Duck will be near the lighthouse.
"Yes, you need a ticket even if you just wanna see the duck and not tour the ships," a post on the Festival's Facebook page reads. "There is no way to serve ala carte selections at the festival."
All bags and purses will be searched. The festival does not permit any outside food, large backpacks, firearms, weapons, explosives or glass containers. Coolers are only permitted if they are 5 quarts or less and may only be used to carry baby food or prescribed medication. Only one factory-sealed bottle of liquid per guest can be brought to the festival.
Boating and Parade of Sail
Public water access at Agate Bay will remain open to recreational boaters during the festival. A safety zone of 25 yards around the docked ships will be enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard throughout the Festival of Sail. No recreational watercraft or boat can enter the radius without authorization from the captain of the Port Duluth. Boats with yellow flags will surround safety zones.
"The Parade of Sail is always an exciting tradition at the opening of the festival," said Valerie Marasco Eliasen, public information officer for the Lake County Emergency Operations Center.
During the Parade of Sail, which begins at 11 a.m. Aug. 4 in Agate Bay, the safety zone will be 100 yards around the tall ships. Crew and passengers will board the ships at about 10:15 a.m. before the parade. The parade is expected to last until about noon, when the rest of the festival's events will begin.
For information about tickets and the ships scheduled to attend Festival of Sail, visit lakesuperior.festofsail.com .