Dragon boats return to Barker's Island

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Barker's Island will be the site for the 16th annual Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival this weekend. The Barker's Island boat launch, swimming beach and fishing platform will be closed today and Saturday for the festival.

The free event is open to the public. Foot traffic is welcome, but vehicular traffic onto the island Friday evening and Saturday will be limited due to dragon boat festivities.

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 well as the SS Meteor, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, the offices of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and Captain J's Miniature Golf located on the northwest end.

Motorists are asked to use caution along the East 2nd Street corridor during the festival. Today and Saturday, the speed limit will be reduced to 25 miles per hour on East 2nd Street from Belknap Street to 18th Avenue East; and pedestrians will be allowed to cross East 2nd Street at Belknap Street or 9th Avenue East. Members of the Superior Police Auxiliary will be present in the area to assist with pedestrian and vehicular traffic flow.

Public parking will be restricted on Barker's Island for the festival. A free shuttle to the dragon boat festival will operate from Mariner Mall (located at North 28th Street and Hill Avenue) parking lot. The shuttle will be available on the southwest side of the mall, adjacent to the former Food Service Marketplace, from 4-11:59 p.m. Friday and from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.

Citizens are asked to avoid parking near the theaters. Accessible handicap transportation onto the island is available from the fishing platform (designated for handicap parking) on the mainland.

For more information about the festival, please visit www.lakesuperiordragons.com.