Northlanders Melting for Smelt in Duluth’s Canal Park

8th Annual Run, Smelt, Run Parade and Party held.

DULUTH, Minn.- Mothers weren’t the only ones celebrated on Sunday.

Canal Park was a sea of silver and blue, gathered to celebrate one thing.


The 8th Annual “Run Smelt, Run” Parade and Party brought out fans of the little fish caught in nets and served whole.

People gathered to celebrate the end of winter, ring in the summer, and of course, start off the smelting season.

“Duluth and Smelt have been connected for probably 50 or more years, my whole lifetime plus,” said first-time parade goer Mark Elden. “I know it’s an invasive species, but we got ’em so you might as well celebrate it.”

Elden came decked out in a teal jacket, and a silver helmet with dangly fish accents.

“Got my old buddy’s World War II era hardhat on, that you can’t wear anymore. Fixed her up and thought it would be fun.”

After performing dances, and skits for the “Smelt Queen” the sea of smelt celebrators marched in a parade down the lakewalk.

“It’s a really nice, fairly uniquely Duluth event,” said Justin Anderson, an accordion player with the organizing group Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe.

“Kinda looking at bringing a New Orleans Style Second Line Parade, which is super fun, and bringing a little bit of that kind of culture to the Northland.”

The parade carried on down to Zeitgeist where the group had a smelt fry and party.

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