A look back in time: Tall ships on tap for Duluth in 2016

A congested waterfront
Tall ships and their rigging are seen in the Duluth harbor on July 25, 2013.
Paul M. Walsh / MPR News 2013

The Tall Ships Festival is returning to Duluth during the summer of 2016.

For the fourth time since 2008, ships of the 16th and 17th centuries will sail to Duluth. The last two events — in 2010 and 2013 — each drew about 250,000 people, and generated an estimated $15 million in economic activity for the Duluth area.

"Seeing a picture of the ships is cool," said Craig Samborksi, executive producer of the festival. But nothing beats an up-close view.

"They're just very awe-inspiring," he said. "Their size, how they navigate, their place in history."

The next event will run Aug. 18 to 21, 2016, and will feature more international ships, Samborksi said.

"In 2013 we had a ship from Norway called the Sorlandet," he said. "It was by far and away the rock star of the event. The line to get on that ship was three hours long."

Samborski hopes to bring a dozen ships to Duluth. The festival visited West Coast cities this year, will travel to the East Coast next year, and in 2016 will return to the Great Lakes.

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