Top Spring Traditions In Duluth

Our Favorite Spring Traditions In Duluth

Spring is fantastic in Duluth – the days grow longer, folks emerge from hibernation, and the city comes alive at the same time as the forested landscape that works its way into Duluth’s neighborhoods. Lake Superior pack ice begins to break up and the streams and rivers start flowing.

We love celebrating the transition from our long winter to the fresh spring and there are a bunch of fantastic spring traditions that give us an opportunity to get out and enjoy spring with our friends.

Here’s our list of the Top Six Spring Traditions for celebrating the arrival of spring in our beloved City of Duluth.

Six Great Spring Traditions In Duluth

1. Lester River Race

The Lester River Race is a downriver whitewater kayak race held on the Lester River where winter snow melt creates high flow rates that bring Lester’s waters levels up enough to access class IV-V rapids. The exact timing for this race is never fully known ahead of time and event organizers watch the spring melt with eager anticipation until the conditions allow paddlers to run the river.

Lester River Race

A paddler tackles Almost Always, a big class V drop on The Lester River. Image: Lester River Race.

Learn More: Lester River Race

2. Duluth’s First Ship Contest

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority hosts a First Ship Ceremony each year to welcome the first oceangoing vessel to call on Duluth-Superior at the start of each spring navigation season. They also partner with Visit Duluth for The First Ship Contest where participants try to predict the specific day and time that the bow of the first visiting “saltie” passes beneath the Duluth Aerial lift Bridge. The prize package includes luxurious accommodations, delicious food, and tickets to area attractions.

Learn More: Duluth’s First Ship Contest

3. Spring Kayak Adventure

Early spring warm-ups create amazing opportunities to paddle the world’s largest glass of ice water and explore the the last traces of Lake Superior’s ice formations. With the first hint of good weather, comes the beginning of our spring paddling season here in Duluth. It’s the best way to kick-start the spring adventure season and we’re always excited to get out for our first paddle of the year.

Duluth Experience Ice Kayak Tour

We head out to paddle the ice flows each year when conditions are just right. It’s our spring tradition. Image: The Duluth Experience.

Learn More: Spring Kayak Adventure

4. Continental Bike Swap

The Continental Bike Swap is a fantastic community event that provides a great opportunity to buy & sell bikes, socialize with the bike community, and support The Head of the Lakes United Way & Animal Allies Humane Society. Held every April, this long-running event is one of our favorite spring events and we’ll be there again this year to support healthy living and promote cycling in our community. The Bike Swap is a great way to get connected with local bikers, bike organizations, and a bunch of fantastic people.

continental Bike Swap

The 2019 Bike Swap poster. Image: Continental Ski & Bike.

Learn More: Continental Bike Swap

5. Duluth Homegrown Music Festival

This spring tradition is probably the most well known on the list. The Homegrown Music Festival is an annual community celebration that showcases Duluth’s diverse music community. This eight-day community-wide local music, arts and cultural extravaganza fills venues across Duluth and Superior with amazing bands and original music. It’s a great way to get involved and meet a bunch of music-loving folks.

Learn More: Duluth Homegrown Music Festival

6. Skyline Parkway Spring Cleanup

This fun event provides an opportunity to give some love to one of Duluth’s gems. Each year, The Duluth Experience partners with Duluth Parks and a bunch of our friends to promote the annual Skyline Parkway Spring Cleanup. Participants gather at Lake Superior Brewing where The City of Duluth hands out cleanup gear. Then we shuttle folks up to Skyline for the cleanup. Afterwards, we reconvene at the brewery for an afterparty. It’s a fantastic volunteer opportunity.

Skyline Parkway Spring Cleanup

The 2019 Skyline Parkway Spring Cleanup poster. Image: The Duluth Experience.

Learn More: Skyline Parkway Spring Cleanup

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