Festival of Sail Crowd Congestion Improved Compared to 2016

Brandon Weathers
Updated: August 12, 2019 08:05 PM

One of the criticisms last time the Festival of Sail came to Duluth was the congestion, with some people reporting a five to seven hour wait to tour one ship. This time around, organizers say they are seeing major improvements.

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Duluth Police Department Lieutenant Robin Roeser said, "The congestion in general seems to be better, which I think is good for spectators or those that are considering coming down. There's plenty of places to park, the lines aren't nearly as long as they used to be."

First-time attendee Jean Laging said, "We got the multi-day pass, so we came yesterday in the afternoon and were able to get on one of the ships right away, which was cool because we had always heard there are such long lines."

Organizers attribute the lower congestion partly to the three day event falling on a Sunday to Tuesday. Festival of Sail public relations director Ryan Whaley said this schedule mainly had to do with the ships' availability. He said, "These guys are all over the Great Lakes, so coming to Duluth is a pretty serious thing to them because they have to go so far to get up here, so we tend to balance it around their schedule."

This means they can't yet pin down which three days of the week the Festival will take place next time it comes to Duluth in three years. "There's always going to be an event, but when, it could be in the middle of the week for all we know," Whaley said. 

According to Visit Duluth, the total attendance in 2016 was around 250,000. It is too early at this time to compare that with this year's attendance.


Brandon Weathers

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