Small town on the North Shore prepares for the Festival de la Voile


TWO PORTS, MN. (KBJR) – Two Harbors is gearing up for its maiden voyage with the Festival of Sail.

The festival kicks off the first weekend in August after being moved from Duluth due to scheduled repairs to the seawall near where the tall ships dock.

Business owners and residents of the small town of 3,600 on the North Showe are preparing for more than 30,000 people to show up.

Sandy Knupp owns Superior Finds in Two Harbors.

“I can see the ships coming in, I can talk to all the people from all over, you know, not just Minnesota but all over the country,” she said.

Knupp’s first reaction when she learned that the Festival of Sail was moving from Duluth to Two Harbors this year?

“Shock,” she said.

Knupp says the town will swell the first week of August, forcing her to get her store ready.

“We have a lot of merchandise that we ordered specifically for the Festival of Sail,” Knupp said, “and I also have consignors making stuff for the store.”

Knupp is thrilled to know that she will have many more customers when the festival begins.

“We just hope we have a lot of traffic, everyone is having a good time, the weather is good for that,” she said.

Festival organizers are hoping for the same. Carl Samborski is the festival’s executive producer and he says the city is ready to welcome more people.

“I want to respect our hosts at Two Harbors,” he said, “the citizens and the government there and I think it was the right decision to make.”

The move he talks about limits ticket sales to 6,000 attendees per day and increases parking capacity in the North Shore city to accommodate about 5,000 cars per day.

Now a small town has to host a massive event during a busy summer season.

“Giving people a chance to live there, to work there, a chance to kind of digest how one of them is going the first time around,” Samborski said.

The Festival of Sail runs from August 4-7 with the famous tall ships.

More information and ticket options are available here.

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