Here it is, Perfect Duluth Day’s annual collection of things that were stapled to telephone polls, taped to lavatory walls, pinned to bulletin boards and uploaded to websites. As usual, by no means is this a comprehensive collection of local rock posters, nor is it a carefully curated archive of the best. It’s just a bunch of them we noticed and didn’t lose in 2019.
Thank you, distinguished citizens, for conferring upon me this office of Snow-Fort City Mayor. It is no small honor to assume my half-imaginary duties in this pop-up, collaborative, city-planning art fantasy at the edge of Lake Superior. “City” is an aspirational term for this arrangement of snow walls and monuments in Duluth’s Leif Erickson Park. Snow-Fort City’s true location lies somewhere within our skulls — like all cities. My Facebook post initiating construction was shared more than a hundred times in just a few hours, and it attracted the Duluth News-Tribune and KBJR-6/CBS-3, which tells me the vision of the snow-fort city is the real object. Almost none of the post-sharers, newspaper readers, or TV viewers made it down to the actual Snow-Fort City. They are content to view it with their eyes closed, in its most pure form: the Platonic one.
It literally came to me in a vision, like the origin of so many great cities. In a way, like Duluth itself. I remember the words of George Nettleton’s wife from 1856, when her husband’s mind swam with dreams of Duluth-as-future-city: “I thought he had a pretty long head to see that there was going to be a city here sometime when there was then nothing” (Duluth: An Illustrated History of the Zenith City by Glenn N. Sandvik).
#snowfortcity day 6. Leif Erikson Park. The fort of the tree people is the most durable and impressive structure so far. Albeit unfinished, the vision and craft of its architects (principally Morgan Pirsig) is impressive.
It was a great day to build a #snowfortcity with volunteers Stephen Bockhold, Sean MacManus, and others including an unnamed mom with two kids in tow who attested she was a #peoplesfreeskate participant last winter. One of the kids she was with, who I’ve never seen before, called me “Aquaman” unprompted on camera while KBJR-6/CBS-3 was filming: hope that makes the final cut.
Day 1. Duluth’s Leif Erikson Park. Most of my time was taken up by Duluth News-Tribune reporters who showed up – oops got in the paper again. Otherwise slow going with cold powdery snow – spray bottles and water make the job easier so bring those. It’s sort of Day 2 since some folks built this formidable snow fort yesterday, and got the base of another one started. It’s sort of Day 3, since I built a proof-of-concept wall before the blizzard, but it blew down so I restarted it today. A huge help was Morgan Pirsig et al. who laid down a solid sled trail which helps define the space. It goes so fast we need to bank it by the stage now. Troy Rogers aka Robot Rickshaw showed up and we demonstrated proper wall-building technique for the media. A season-long project to turn the park into a citizen-led collective art installation and playground.
The Thanksgiving weekend blizzard wreaked havoc on Small Biz Saturday and some of the Pop-Ups in town, but we have tried to update this list with the rescheduled events.
These are the true “get ’em while you can” offerings, pop-up markets where a wide variety of art, food products, clothing products and more are on display. There are usually snacks, maybe some hot chocolate, and lots of other people milling about, so the atmosphere is a lot more fun that adding things to your online cart.
Some are small, some are huge. Each market has its own vibe, check the websites and event pages for special instructions on parking, hours etc.
I built this Snowhenge wall segment in Leif Erickson Park today in three hours with a bucket. Will it remain after a weekend of playing children, and snowstorms including 30-mph winds? Probably not. But rebuilding and rebirth are central to this season-long project where work and leisure are indistinguishable. The blizzard should die off Sunday and the upcoming week should be clear to terraform the gift of snow.