Leif Erikson Viking Ship on Display Again at Festival of Sail

Baihly Warfield
Updated: August 12, 2019 08:03 PM

DULUTH, Minn. - Not every ship at the Festival of Sail has a mast and some sails. 

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But the Leif Erikson Viking Ship still draws a crowd. The ship, which sailed to Duluth in 1927, has been in storage for six years. For the first time since 2013, she's getting some fresh air. 

"Our booth down here is raising some funds hopefully to build a building to secure it and display it," Neill Atkins said. "And we're getting a good reception down here."

Atkins chairs the Save Our Ship nonprofit, which is raising money to build a permanent structure to display the Viking ship. It used to be in Leif Erikson Park, but was removed in 2013 for repairs. Since then, it's been shrink-wrapped and stored in a warehouse. 

But Save Our Ship would like to see it returned to Leif Erikson Park. 

"We've been raising moneys, and we have a concept drawing. To do the building and the glass and everything, it's about $400,000 price tag," Atkins said. 

They have about $130,000 committed, according to Atkins. But they are selling T-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, beer steins and even lefse during the Festival of Sail to help inch them closer to the goal. 

Plus, volunteers were educating festival-goers about the ship. 

"They tell them the story," Atkins said. "We've got some storyboards out here with old newspaper articles from back in 1927, plus pictures of the ship coming in back in the old days, and some of the current photographs, some photographs of our restoration."

They're also encouraging people to check out their website and consider donating there. 

After the Festival of Sail, the ship will go back into storage. But Atkins said they'll continue to look for opportunities to get her out and in the public eye. 


Baihly Warfield

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