July 26, 2001: Crowd of 12,000 gathers for opening of Bayfront Festival Park 

On this day in Duluth in 2001, an estimated crowd of 12,000 celebrated the opening of Bayfront Festival Park, made possible by a $3 million donation from Lois M. Paulucci, wife of Duluth frozen food entrepreneur Jeno Paulucci. Mayor Gary Doty declared July 26 “Lois M. Paulucci Day,” two F-16 fighter jets passed over the park, and in a symbolic representation of Paulucci’s $3 million gift, three children presented her with three dozen roses and three bands performed after three skydivers descended on the stage of the new Lois M. Paulucci Music Pavilion. The park’s location—between Sixth and Seventh Avenues West along the St. Louis Bay—had hosted music events such as the Bluesfest since the mid 1980s, but had no permanent stage nor any other infrastructure and the grounds were not landscaped, which often caused muddy conditions. But music wasn’t why Paulucci supported the park. According to the Duluth News Tribune, “Paulucci wanted a park for families, and she wanted a park everyone could uses—accessible for those using strollers and wheelchairs. Duluthian and wheelchair user Tony Williams told the newspaper that before the improvements, the park was nearly inaccessible and “If it got wet, forget it.” He went on to praise Paulucci: “It’s awesome she’d take time to think of people like me…that she had the forethought to say everyone should be able to come and enjoy it.”

Lois Paulucci photographed in front of the pavilion funded by her generosity. (Image: Renee Knoeber6

Thanks for a great night!

On behalf of authors John DeSanto and Gail Feichtinger and myself, thanks to everyone who made it out to Fitger’s Spirit of the north Theatre this past Tuesday night for our presentation from the book Will to Murder. I’ve never seen a crowd that size for a local book event—thanks for putting up with the cramped and rather…


John Sebenious

A native of Wermland Province, Sweden, John Uno Sebenius  graduated Stockholm’s Royal Technical Institute and School of Mining in 1886 and emigrated to the United States two years later. In 1892 he turned thirty years old and moved to Minnesota’s Iron Range, where he developed a cross-sampling technique and a concentrating process for iron ore…

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