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Bayfront event decisions left up to organizers

Created: May 27, 2020 07:39 PM

Every day, the list of canceled summer events grows. 

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Many of them should have happened at Bayfront Festival Park. The DECC operates the outdoor event space, so Mayor Emily Larson said it's really up to them to decide what happens with events. 

"We were the decision-makers for Fourth Fest and the fireworks, and we chose to move that to a later date. But that's not going to be possible with a lot of the things that are falling off the calendar. They will either go virtual or they will not happen this year," Larson said. "And that hurts."

Jeff Stark, who helps run Bayfront for the DECC, said they told the city they wouldn't be doing a blanket cancellation of all summer events. The season stretches from June to September. 

Stark said they check in with event organizers on a regular basis and are holding out hope for some of the smaller, community events at Bayfront. He doesn't expect big festivals or concerts to happen. 

Mayor Larson said typically, the city isn't consulted on the decision itself but might be brought in on how the decision is announced.

"It is so difficult to see the events that we take pride in and that are really important to this community and really put Duluth on a map fall away," she said. 

The city has projected tourism tax revenue will be 50-75% less than original projections this year. 

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