Dragons come to Barker’s Island
Barker’s Island plays host to the 13th annual Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival. The Barker’s Island boat launch, swimming beach and fishing platform is closed today and Saturday for the festival.
The Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival is a free, public event.
While foot traffic is welcome, vehicular traffic onto the island tonight and Saturday will be limited. Barker’s Island Inn, Barker’s Island Marina, the Ship’s Store and Charter Fishing operations will all be open and available to the public, as will the SS Meteor, offices of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and Captain J’s Miniature Golf on the northwest end of the island.
The festival kicks off tonight with a managers meeting at 5 p.m. followed by the Navy Leapfrogs at 5:15 p.m. Teams line up at 5:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. parade. The opening ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. Mynx headlines on the main stage 6:30-8:30 p.m. with fireworks planned for 8:45 p.m. and Crescent Moon closes the night.
The Superior Optimists host a pancake breakfast 7-11 a.m. Saturday and races — 103 teams are expected this year — run throughout the day starting at 8 a.m.
Other festival activities include a craft fair in the Barker’s Island Inn parking lot, roving magician Alex Madsen, children’s activities hosted by Kiwanis Club, entertainment provided by Sterling Silver Dance and Twirling Studio, the Rose Petal ceremony, singing by “All about Music,” Korean Sword demonstrations, and contemporary folk by Mark Rubin. Final race heats run at 5:55 p.m. with awards and closing ceremony at 7 p.m. Then it’s time for the after party at Barker’s Island Inn with the Circuit Breakers performing live.
Motorists are urged to exercise caution along East Second Street near the island this weekend. The speed limit drops to 25 miles per hour from Belknap Street to 18th Avenue East on East Second Street. Pedestrians can cross the highway at Belknap and 9th Avenue East. Members of the Superior Police Auxiliary will be present to assist.
Public parking will be restricted on Barker’s Island during the festival, but a free shuttle to the Dragon Boat is available from the Mariner Mall parking lot at North 28th Street and Hill Avenue. Passengers can catch a ride to the island on the southwest side of the mall near Food Service Marketplace. The shuttle runs 4-11:59 p.m. today and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Festival-goers are encouraged to park at the mall and use the free shuttle to minimized congestion in the festival area, but are asked to avoid parking near the theaters.
Accessible handicap transportation onto the island is available from the fishing platform on the mainland.
For information about the festival, visit www.lakesuperiordragons.com.