Newly Opened ‘The Garden,’ Greysolon Ballroom Getting Busy with Post-Pandemic Events
It's the summer of comebacks for event venues with private events like weddings getting planned and booked again across the Northland.
DULUTH, Minn.- It’s the summer of comebacks for event venues with private events like weddings getting planned and booked again across the Northland. New venues like Canal Park’s The Garden, and historic ones like Greysolon Ballroom are jumping back into planning.
“It almost feels surreal to be back,” said Brian Daugherty, President of Grandma’s Restaurant Company. “To tell you the truth just with the marathon happening last week it was just like again a just a giant reunion.”
The Garden event center in Canal Park — formerly Grandma’s Sports Garden — making its debut as events make their return, hosting its first wedding just three weeks ago.
“Being that we are fairly new to the wedding and event center business things are fairly busy,” General Manager Angela Dormanen said.
30 events are on deck for the rest of this year, and 20 have already been booked for next year.
“People saying ‘it’s good to be back,’ and ‘I can’t wait to get in there,’ ‘I’m gonna invent something to schedule a party in there.’ I must have heard that about 3 times,” Daugherty said.
The 20,000 square foot building was remodeled, the pandemic forcing them to change up their previous Sports Garden business model as a bar and weekend nightclub.
Each square inch was re-imagined into a blank slate, customizable venue.
“On our main floor which used to be the Grandma’s Sports Garden and event center where you would dance and have your nightclub is now turned into where you have your event,” said Dormanen.
Along with the main floor which fits 200, are three other spaces and a private balcony, which can accommodate hundreds more. “Behind us here we have our Bay View room which can hold up to 175 people,” the General Manager described.
“And then we also have our Lift Bridge Lounge which also has a Crystal Terrace above it. So you can seat about 65 people there and then Crystal Terrace about 30 people,” said Dormanen.
Officials say people have taken advantage of the Lift Bridge and lake next door for photos and views, and of the other Grandma’s restaurants for a variety of food options.
“Our executive chef, we have customized menus anything from a craft burger bar with a Grandma’s theme to a Little Angie’s Taco and fajita buffet to Bellisio’s Fine Dining and gourmet pasta,” Elisa Husby, Catering and Events Director said.
While The Garden is new to the event planning scene, Greysolon Ballroom in Downtown Duluth has hosted weddings and events for the past 12 years.
“I don’t think that there’s another place anywhere such as this,” said Jax Eisenmann, Sales Director.
Greysolon can host upward of 340 people in the ballroom, and up to 200 in the Morris Room.
They spent the more than a year closed renovating, including ripping up the old carpeting to show off the original tile. “Everything’s gotten a fresh polish and shine it’s never looked better actually,” Eisenmann said.
Once COVID restrictions were lifted last may they hit the ground running with 120 events booked since then to the end of the year.
“It’s been quite a time so it’s gonna take us years to rebuild to what it was there’s still openings right now so we can do some quick planning some affordable planning to help fill up the year on that,” said the Sales Director.
Now, Eseinmann said, they’re excited to jump back into what they love doing.
“We’ve waited for this for so long and it’s like coming home people walk in the door and you just want to just express all your joy and happiness and people want to celebrate and we want to celebrate with them,” she said.
And event planners at The Garden, like Husby, excited to reintroduce people to the old, familiar space. “We actually had someone walk in and we did part of a tour and she asked us ‘so where is the Sports Garden?’”
“And we said ‘you’re standing in the Sports Garden!’ That was a true testament to the transformation we’ve made here that some people haven’t even recognized this space,” she said.