Bentleyville open into new year

The organizers at the Bentleyville Tour of Lights on Duluth’s harbor have given the Northland an early Christmas present by deciding to stay open a week longer than scheduled.

The closing fireworks planned for Dec. 28 will now go off Jan. 4.

The extra week is a response to visitors asking the lights stay on through New Year’s Day and into the weekend. Bentleyville had to close a few days this month during a snowstorm and extreme cold. Santa’s last day at Bayfront Festival Park is Monday.

Bentleyville remains a place to drop off gifts for donation through the Salvation Army.

Nolan to honor vets

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan will be visiting the Hoyt Lakes VFW Post 8144 on Saturday.

To mark the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which propelled the United States into World War II, Nolan will make a presentation honoring Arleigh Birk, who was a 21-year-old Boatswain’s Mate First Class aboard the USS Honolulu on Dec. 7, 1941.

After Pearl Harbor, Birk was reassigned to the USS Denver, where he remained in the Pacific Theatre until his discharge in February 1946.

Birk and Marion, his wife of 67 years, still live in their family home in Hoyt Lakes.

Research workshops available for teachers

The Great Lakes Aquarium and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center will host the six-part workshop series “Real Stories in Research: The Lake Superior Edition” for K-12 teachers this school year.

Each free two-hour session includes a 45-minute presentation by a local scientist about the Lake Superior watershed, lesson plans and activities related to scientific presentations, access to free teaching kits that can be checked out from Great Lakes Aquarium, and two CEUs.

The first session is Oct. 15 at GLA, when E.J. Isaac, a biologist with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa will discuss the nuances of the Lake Superior food web.

The workshops are free, but registration is required. Register online or contact Samantha Smingler at ssmingler@glaquarium.org or (218) 740-2027.

To access the Real Stories in Research schedule and the program’s flier, and to view lesson plans from previous Science Institute for Educators presentations go to the Web address above.

Hitch a balloon ride in Duluth

The Duluth Hot Air Balloon Festival, or Les Festival des Montgolfieres a Duluth for those francophones among us, quickly is approaching — the opening ceremony is Sept. 20.

For those hoping to get a tethered ride in one of the 12 balloons scheduled to be in Bayfront Festival Park, your only way in is through a lottery system.

There are 50 rides available, and a $5 donation will enter you into a drawing for the tickets. Donations can be made through this weekend, and the 50 winners will be randomly selected Monday.

Donations can be made at duluthballoonfestival.com or by calling Kernz & Kompany at (218) 628-9996.

Dr. BBQ at Grill Wars

At first glance, it would seem that the Fireplace Corner is bringing in a ringer for Red Rock Radio’s Grill Wars today at the Bayfront Festival Park plaza.

Ray Lampe, better known as Dr. BBQ, will be in the Fireplace Corner tent, cooking up a storm. He’s written six cookbooks, won hundreds of cook-offs, has appeared on the Food Network’s “Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and is the spokesman for the Big Green Egg ceramic cooker.

But contest participants need not fear.

“We are not competing,” said Dawn Johnson of the Fireplace Corner. “We’re just going to be down there as a sponsor with Dr. BBQ under our tent, cooking for us.”

The sixth annual event, a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club, will run from 5-8 p.m. today. Event goers will sample the burgers and vote on their favorites.

Dr. BBQ will be at the Fireplace Corner, 5688 Miller Trunk Highway, in the Pike Lake Shopping Center from 4-7 p.m. Thursday for cooking demonstrations. Of course, he’ll be using — and likely selling — the Big Green Egg.

Duluth aquarium: Tall ships means longer hours

The Great Lakes Aquarium will extend its hours during the tall ships festival this weekend. Today through Sunday the aquarium will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

By extending its hours, the aquarium aims to capitalize on the additional 75,000 to 100,000 people per day projected by Visit Duluth to visit Canal Park during the festival.

“This is the premiere event of the Duluth tourism season. Since Great Lakes Aquarium is located right on the harbor, we will be in the heart of the action,” said Jack LaVoy, the aquarium’s executive director. “We want to make it easier for people to include the aquarium in their plans so they can see all we have to offer.”

The aquarium also will offer special behind-the-scenes tours at a cost of $7 for guests and $3 for members. Three daily tour times are available — 10:15 and 11:45 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Bigger balloon event coming to Duluth

Lindy will be at the hot-air balloon festival in Duluth. (Photo courtesy of Kernz & Kompany)

The Eh? desk just got word that Lindy officially has committed to an appearance in Duluth this fall. Lindy has all the characteristics of a precocious celebrity: she wears sunglasses everywhere, requires special accommo­dations and insists on being called one name, a la Cher and Madonna. Lindy is a hot-air balloon.

In addition to Lindy, Kaleidoscope, Cap’n Boo and Rainbow Connection have committed to appear at Bayfront Festival Park from Sept. 20-22 for the Duluth Hot Air Balloon Festival. In total, 11 balloons will be tethered at Duluth’s first hot-air balloon festival.

Speaking of fireworks

Not to jinx any communities who have not yet set off their holiday display, but this year marked the 25th anniversary of the big Fourth of July fireworks explosion in Duluth.

It was July 4, 1988, when an estimated 1,500 to 1,800 shells ignited all at once, on the ground, sending sparks streaming from the launch site across a 75-foot boat slip and into the crowd at Bayfront Festival Park. Fortunately — perhaps incredibly — no one was seriously hurt.

The mishap occurred just after the start of what was to have been a half-hour show.

“It was probably the most memorable fireworks show in Duluth history and it lasted only a few minutes,” Dan Russell, executive director of the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, told the News Tribune’s Chuck Frederick for a 20th anniversary column in 2008. Duluth’s fireworks now are launched from an area much farther away from the crowd.

Dylan sold out (in St. Paul)

No, not here. There are still tickets available for the Americanarama Tour, featuring Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Richard Thompson on July 9 at Bayfront Festival Park.

But those who hoped to do double-time and catch the tour on July 10 at Midway Stadium in St. Paul are out of luck. That show is now sold out, according to Duluth Entertainment Convention Center officials.

Tickets for the Duluth show are available at Ticketmaster outlets including http://www.ticketmaster.com and the DECC box office.

Bayfront Festival Park holds about 12,000 fans.

Stuff that truck

How about trading some summer threads for a KUMD-FM 103.3 Session CD? The public radio station and the University of Minnesota Duluth are hosting a “Stuff the Truck” event from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the KUMD office, 130 Humanities (next to Weber Music Hall).

They’re looking for new or slightly worn summer clothing for all sizes and ages — especially kids clothes — and cash to benefit the Damiano Center. The first 500 cash donations of $10 or more get a CD.

The first 25 people to donate 10 or more items receive a ticket to Twin Ports Bridge Festival. The truck also will be located at the main gate of the festival July 6 at Bayfront Festival Park.