New Duluth waterfront event to lure treasure seekers
DULUTH - People who have always wanted to find treasure but are leery of swimming with sharks will have another option this summer. Ashland-based International Explorations Inc. will bring more than $8 million in treasure and artifacts to Duluth ...
DULUTH - People who have always wanted to find treasure but are leery of swimming with sharks will have another option this summer.
Ashland-based International Explorations Inc. will bring more than $8 million in treasure and artifacts to Duluth for Treasure Adventure, a two-week event featuring hands-on exploration and pirate-themed entertainment.
The two-week run on Duluth's waterfront at the former La Farge cement terminal will test the feasibility of creating a permanent Duluth home for the exhibit.
"This opportunity came up to do an event and see 'if you build it will they come' and, more importantly, will they come back," International Explorations founder and President Scott Mitchen said. "We want a great event to show that Duluth can be the international depository for many of these treasures."
A site for a permanent home has not been selected.
Treasure Adventure will run from July 24 through Aug. 8, covering the dates of the Tall Ship Festival that will be held nearby.
Treasure Adventure will be composed of what Mitchen calls the "Three E's" -- entertainment, exploration and education. Treasures from around the world will be displayed in La Farge's warehouse. Visitors will be able to touch some treasure and artifacts.
"It's heavily guarded, of course, but you really get to touch it," event spokeswoman Kim Waller said.
There will be an Old World market with blacksmiths, glassblowers and other craftsmen and women. There will be pirate-themed entertainment including a musical, play, skits and wandering pirates available for pictures.
Children with metal detectors and guides will be able to search for treasure in sand pits salted with thousands of coins from around the world, including genuine Spanish pieces-of-eight and other coins from shipwrecks.
"The kids will not leave until they find treasure" that they will be allowed to keep, Mitchen said.
Education is a cornerstone to what Mitchen hopes to accomplish. Mitchen, who has been a professional treasurer hunter since 1982, and fellow treasure hunters Carl "Captain Fizz" Fismer and Robert Knecht will talk about how they found specific wrecks.
The process doesn't rely on maps where X marks the spot, but on long hours of library research, seeking nuggets of knowledge. And once a treasure ship is found, more research is undertaken to help identify and validate what was found.
Mitchen's message to children is that "they can do anything if they put their mind to it. Doesn't matter if you want to be a treasure hunter, doctor or lawyer, you have to read."
Sandy Hoff is one of the investors who bought the La Farge property last year for $1.325 million. The group is looking at the potential development of lodging, retail, restaurant and entertainment venues.
"We, the investor group, have been looking for some uses of that site on an interim basis while we put together our long-term plans," he said.
Having Treasure Adventure on the property this summer accomplishes that, while giving International Explorations an opportunity to show the investors and the community what it is all about, Hoff said.
"It's an opportunity for us to partner with them long term for a permanent presence down here on the waterfront," he said.