Duluth Monarch Festival
Saturday, May 21 12-4 p.m.
First United Methodist Church
If “April is the cruelest month,” according to T.S. Eliot, then May must be the kindest—the beginning of outdoor markets, fishing, warm weather sports of all kinds, and these two extraordinary festivals Duluth.
The Duluth Monarch Festival at the Coppertop Church on May 21 will be the first of its kind. Thanks to recent publicity, it would be hard not to know that the monarch butterfly is in a whole heap o’ trouble. Habitat loss, climate change, agricultural pesticides, predation, and shrinking food availability all contribute to historically low numbers of migrants in recent years.
Experts agree that rescuing monarchs and other pollinators requires immediate action on farms and in front yards alike. Locally, that means:
•Expanding stands of milkweed, the only plant monarchs use during their colorful life cycles;
•Reducing or eliminating use of neonicotinoids (neonics), the pesticide responsible for pollinator die-offs;
•Educating the public; and
•Organizing for sustained advocacy.
Enter the Duluth Monarch Buddies, led by Tom Uecker of Lakeside, who’s been cultivating milkweed, rescuing caterpillars, and releasing adult monarchs on his own for years. This year, he put out a call for help.
The response was overwhelming, and the festival now boasts a committee of nearly 20 educators, hobbyists, retirees, scientists, and naturalists, all determined to put Duluth on the growing map of monarch sanctuaries.
The festival features entomologist Karen Oberhauser from the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab presenting an hour-long talk on the current state of the monarch and the efforts nationwide to reverse its extinction.
Science teacher Annette Strom from Ordean-East Middle School will talk about the citizen science monitoring project she has been doing with her students. Milkweed seeds and plants will be available, along with a variety of gifts, supplies, and educational materials.
Backyard gardeners, children, environmentalists, and the curious are welcome at this family-friendly event.
Duluth Dylan Festival
Multiple times and venues
Bob Dylan turns 75 on May 24. As has been true for nearly a decade, Duluth will celebrate his birthday with a variety of events that draw fans from around the globe.
Leadership of the Duluth Dylan Festival rests on the shoulders of five local personalities. Zane Bale of the Northland Foundation has been the leading light for years, even before the official celebration moved from Hibbing to Duluth. John Bushey, host of Highway 61 Revisited on KUMD, continues to be a local and national lightning rod for all things Dylan.
Musician Brad Nelson does the heavy lifting, matching up local musicians and venues for a variety of concerts and events. Jeffrey Woolverton works in the non-profit community in Duluth, planning the literary and film events for the celebration. Graphic artist and arts blogger Ed Newman is responsible for the Trivia Contest and festival graphics. He has also organized the art opening at Red Mug in Superior.
For eight days, there will be at least one and occasionally several major events to honor Dylan’s career, music, and his contributions to Northland culture. Among the highlights will be the annual Blood on the Tracks Express, a railroad journey up the North Shore with local bands playing Dylan favorites up and back.
Poets of the North Country at The Underground features two past and present Duluth Poets Laureate, several of the city’s most recognized poets, and special guest and Dylanologist, Southwest Minnesota State professor, David Pichaske.
Of special note this year will be three new events: The placing of a permanent marker at Dylan’s childhood home on Third Avenue East; a rare exhibit of Dylan documents at Karpele’s Manuscript Museum through May 30; and a 48-Hour Dylan Film Contest.
Return events include the Singer Songwriter Contest, an Art Opening, the Dylan Trivia Contest, and the Farewell Brunch. See BobDylanWay.com or visit the Duluth Dylan Fest Facebook page for dates, times, and venues. With any luck, you will encounter fellow enthusiasts from across the country, around the world, and who knows where else.