Twin Ports 4th of July Events Back with a Bang This Year

Both Duluth and Superior are anticipating big crowds this year, and both cities claim to have the best fireworks show in the upper Midwest.

DULUTH, SUPERIOR- After a busy and event-filled Airshow weekend, anticipation is building in the Twin Ports for the return of Fourth of July festivities for a post-pandemic summer.

“We’re excited about the sights, the sounds, the smells, the sights, the fireworks going off in the background,” said Jeff Stark, Director of Bayfront Festival Park.

The Twin Ports is ready to celebrate the 4th — and Bayfront Festival Park is front and center for Duluth.

“These first couple events across the proverbial finish line that we’ve seen since Grandma’s Marathon have beaten everybody’s expectations as far as the crowds that we’ve seen,” Stark said.

The holiday weekend will kick off with Country Jam on Friday, followed by the popular rock and roll tribute band Hairball on Saturday, rounding out the night with fireworks at 10 p.m.

Stark says they’re extending the beer tent to 160 feet and moving cash and tickets to the other side to accommodate what’s expected to be bigger crowds.

“For these concerts it’s about 12,000 people, and so when we add some chairs to the mix it gets down to about 10,000 people,” he said. “So we’re anticipating that we’re probably gonna have 10-12,000 people specifically on the 4th of July, and close to 10,000 people here for some of these other events as well, too.”

“So it’s gonna be a big weekend,” said Stark.

Meanwhile, the weekend’s looking to be bombastic in Superior as well.

“It’s going to be a big one,” Mayor Jim Paine said. “So this 4th of July we are back to normal but bigger than ever, so in fact nothing normal about it.”

Fourth of July weekend includes the popular parade — this year flowing through Belknap Street downtown Sunday at 11 a.m.

Barkers Island will fire off fireworks and have live music, and Tower Avenue will also come alive on the 4th for a car show.

Even with high expectations after last year’s cancellation, Mayor Paine says the team did a great job.

“Y’know I thought that there would be some rust in the gears but there hasn’t been,” said the Mayor.  “Let’s remember, they largely planned a 4th of July festival last year, it just got canceled. And so they’ve been ready for a big event for some time.”

Paine says Barkers Island will have tailgate parking for the fireworks show, but he says its best to leave the car at home the day’s events. “Park far away and walk in is the best advice I can give.”

“Especially if you and your family are healthy and mobile, we want to save the upfront parking spaces for senior citizens and people that have some mobility challenges,” said Paine. “That goes even for the folks that live close.”

Back in Duluth, city officials who are sponsoring the fireworks again say heavy traffic is to be expected.

“As per usual we certainly know that there’s construction within the area, I know people had mentioned comments about things just being a little bit slower,” said Public Information Officer Kate Van Daele.

“Just please be patient with one another be patient with our vendors, and our restaurant owners,” she said.

While Bayfront will be the center of attention, she said the fireworks will shine over the whole city.

“With all the hills that we have, there’s really no vantage point,” said Van Daele. “As I mentioned, Skyline Parkway is a popular place for people to go, Enger Park is a great place to view the fireworks from as well, there’s so many different outcroppings that provide really clear access to the Bay.

Both festivals set to go out with a bang, and a bit of friendly competition between cities who both claim to hold the spark to the best show in the region.

“We’ll finish it all off on the 4th of July this Sunday with the largest fireworks display in the upper Midwest,” said Stark.

Paine seemed to share the sentiment, “I really do think we have the best in the upper Midwest.”

You can find a rundown of Duluth’s Independence Day events here, and Superior’s here.

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