Superior council lends support to dragon boat festival

Councilors also expand options for one-day cabaret licenses.

Dragon boats
A team celebrates after winning their heat in the Dragon Boat Festival in Superior. This year's festival runs Aug. 26-27.
File / Superior Telegram
We are part of The Trust Project.

SUPERIOR — A pair of actions by the city council Tuesday, Aug. 2 will help the Rotary Club of Superior relaunch the Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival this year.

Councilors issued a temporary wine and beer license to the Rotary Club for the event and approved a $10,172 sponsorship to facilitate the festival. A portion of the grant will be paid through in-kind services provided by the city’s public works, parks and police departments.

The finance committee approved the grant unanimously during a special meeting Thursday, July 28, said Councilor Jack Sweeney, finance committee chairman.

The committee originally considered the recommendation from the culture, events and public art commission during its regular meeting July 14 but held it to gather additional information before spending city funds on an event that will raise money for the Rotary Club and its charitable partner, 23rd Veteran.

“We’re working through a new system,” Sweeney said. “We have to work through some kinks in it, but we made it through this one.”


The festival, which runs Aug. 26-27 on Barker’s Island, is on again after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dan Blank, a member of the Rotary Club of Superior, said people always seemed to enjoy the festival in the past and he believes that remains true.

This year, the club has opportunities for people to paddle for free on sponsored teams. The club anticipates about 60 teams will take part in the day-long racing event on Aug. 27. An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people are expected to come from outside the area.

The city has traditionally been a sponsor of the event that got its start in 2002.

For information about the festival, visit .

In other business:

The council amended the city’s alcohol beverages ordinance to update regulations for the one-day cabaret license. The change allows the city clerk’s office to issue the license when there is insufficient time for council approval. The license and fees committee recommended the change after a local establishment was unable to attain the one-day license in advance of a time-sensitive event. Applicants must prove the time constraint was unavoidable.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or
What to read next
Company made repairs after detecting crude oil staining and has since restarted the pipeline
As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.
The event will include kids' games, live music and more.
The district seeks to be reimbursed for costs caused by a fire that delayed Cooper Elementary School's opening by a year.