By Land Or By Sea

Kayak and Bike Festivals Are Worth Checking Out This August

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The next two weekends will provide some outstanding opportunities to authentically experience and celebrate the Northland’s greatest assets.

The 18th annual Two Harbors Kayak Festival, taking place on August 8th and 9th along Burlington Bay, is a proven winner for the entire family. Ski Hut, the organizer, has arranged an array of activities are geared toward serious kayak racers, enthused amateurs, and those who hitherto have only stood ankle-deep in the Gitche Gumee but have longed to venture further.

“We’re not there to intimidate you,” Ski Hut rep Ted Klehr says. “It’s just fun for families.”

Competitive races are offered at distances of 5, 10, and 18 miles. Beginning level instructional clinics and tours are available for people of all ages as well. Additionally, a fleet of kayaks and stand up paddleboards will be available for adults and children to demo each day. Live music, food, craft beer, and local exhibitors round out the activities on shore. Visit http://kayakfestival.upnorthmn.net for a full listing of events.

The Kraus-Anderson Bike Duluth Festival, overlooking the awesomeness of the St. Louis River estuary, is also an action-packed event that is suitable for the entire family and for all ability levels. Plan on spending much of Saturday, August 15th at Spirit Mountain (events conclude with a race at Lester Park on Sunday) to experience an event celebrating Duluth’s world-class bike trails. Imbued with earthiness, this festival is fun, quirky, and original.

Ted Klehr says it’s a good time for families.

“The kids’ races were great last year,” Klehr says. “It’s just fun to have the bike people together. The fire department even came out and played games.”

Watch daredevils attack a treacherous downhill course that provides plenty of spectating opportunities. A plethora of races and touring opportunities also exist for kids and adults who want to join the action. There are options for all skill levels.

High-end mountain bikes are available for you to demo and drool over, including $5000 mid-life crisis easing, full-suspension fat bike rides that will have you grinning from ear to ear.

Numerous events, including admission to the festival itself, are absolutely free. Some of these are not only entertaining, but are absolutely hilarious, such as the klunker bike toss. The adult strider relay should also be worthy of a good laugh. Imagine numerous “grown-ups” competing on tiny kick bikes with the pedals removed. Add in the best craft beer that this town has to offer, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a good time.

Lacking the touristy kitsch that nobody wants or needs, even the Expo Village sounds worthy of a walkthrough. Interesting and eclectic booths actually promise to inspire more biking activity along with a unique experience. So if you don’t have your plans for the next couple of weekends, you definitely do now!

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