PDD Shop Talk: Final words on the first 20 years

The Latelys performed on the outdoor stage at Bent Paddle Brewing on June 29 during PDDXX: Perfect Duluth Day’s 20th Birthday Party.

It’s been two months since Perfect Duluth Day celebrated its 20th anniversary. The speed of life hasn’t allowed much time for reflection and gratitude, so this post is an attempt to jam that in so we can properly push forward with the next 20 years.

Regarding the party: The organizational capacity of the PDD muckety mucks for coordinating events limits us to one in-person gathering a year, but we always enjoy the opportunity to meet readers and contributors in person. We thoroughly appreciate the praise you heap on us and we also take note of the criticism you so carefully articulate in ways that don’t hurt our feelings. We sincerely thank you all for both.

Thanks also to the folks at Bent Paddle Brewing for hosting the party, Adeline Wright for helping to organize, Tina Higgins Wussow for baking the celebratory cupcakes, DJ Yoyo for the opening musical selections, and the Latelys for an excellent performance (and for loading their gear during a brief and unexpected sideways rain shower).

And a special thanks to Duluth Mayor Emily Larson for officially declaring the day after the party as Perfect Duluth Day in the city of Duluth. The mayor was out of town and unable to present the proclamation in person, so we also thank Kelli Latuska, the city’s public information officer, who took on the task.

Because it’s an election year, we also acknowledge that Larson’s challenger in the mayoral race, Roger Reinert, was in attendance. We asked him if he desired equal time to present an opposition response against Larson’s Perfect Duluth Day proclamation. Reinert said his statement would be simply: “Ditto.”

Perfect Duluth Day has never had an office, so the ownership partners are seldom in the same place at the same time. In fact, it has only happened once — for about 20 minutes — since the partnership group expanded in 2009. It almost happened at the 20th anniversary event, but not quite. PDD founders Barrett Chase and Scott Lunt were both at the party, but Lunt was there early and Chase was there late. All four current partners were at the party, but Lawrence Lee left before Brian Barber arrived. So in the photo below we have three-fourths of the current partners and one-half of the founders.

Brandishing the proclamation of Perfect Duluth Day in the city of Duluth are, from left to right, current partners Cory Fechner, Paul Lundgren and Brian Barber, with cofounder Barrett Chase.

Mixed in the crowd were various PDD contributors from the past and present — reporters, feature writers, essayists, event calendar editors, history nerds, quizmasters and so on. Some are paid contributors; others are random community members chipping in. During the first 20 years of PDD we worked together to amass more than 19,000 blog posts. And from the time the PDD Calendar launched in 2011 up to the anniversary party in mid-2023 the editors published more than 75,000 event listings.

On the day of our 20th anniversary we launched our email newsletter — the PDD Transmission. Every Thursday or so we send out updates on Duluth-area events and featured content to everyone who has filled out the free subscription form.

So what’s next? We are still working on updating our WordPress theme, a techy thing we are embarrassed to admit has been a project in progress (off and on) since December 2019. Hey, if we finish by the end of this year it will only be a four-year effort. Wish us luck!

But mostly our goal in the short term is to keep doing the things we’ve been doing. Because it’s a lot. So please don’t tell us to start a podcast, develop an app, uncover corruption with our investigative journalism or any other costly thing until you drop a million dollars into the kitty via PayPal.

(Enter the amount of your choice.)

Even just a couple bucks is helpful.

We hope to be inspired toward innovation again in 2024, but this year we’re kind of fighting to pay the bills. Our very existence isn’t necessarily under threat, but the ability to excel at what we do is absolutely challenged by cashflow right now.

The financial outlook in the realm of arts-and-culture information sources has never been good — which is why the Ripsaw, Transistor and others are no longer around. But PDD pledges to keep up the foolhardy fight, and we thank all of you for sticking with us as we blunder into our third decade as Duluth’s Duluthiest website.

Follow this link for more info about our fundraising.


Paul Lundgren

about 10 months ago

Thanks Chester. Exclamation points, periods and question marks are all appropriate.

Chester Knob

about 10 months ago

That's what I figured.

Side note: if you upgrade the user interface, include a "quote" function, whereby one highlights what is being commented upon, and the software inserts the reference quote above the comment. Maybe that's too 21st Century for 'ol PDD. Just a thought.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 months ago

If you upgrade the user interface, include a "quote" function, whereby one highlights what is being commented upon, and the software inserts the reference quote above the comment.
Like this? You probably mean something more sophisticated than copying and pasting the quote and using the blockquote HTML element like I did.


about 10 months ago

Congrats. Been lurking since middle school nearly 20 years ago.

You didnt have to do the Mayor so dirty by pointing out their always being out of town again, the rumor she tries so hard to make us believe isn't true, but I suppose you stick to your biting Duluthy punk spirit that made you last 20 years.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 months ago

I honestly am barely aware that saying the mayor is always out of town is a thing.

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