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Wooden Boat Show and Summer Solstice Festival

Fri, Jun 22, 2018 - Sun, Jun 24, 2018

Event Overview

Thank you for making our 2017 Wooden Boat Show a success! See what we did below, and join us next year, June 22-24, 2018.

Rows of hand-made and unique watercraft, a boat parade, craft demonstrations, an evening square dance, boat and tool auction, chili and brats...there’s a bit of everything during our Wooden Boat Show and Summer Solstice Festival. Try your hand at a workshop or course; be inspired by the stories of boat builders, sailors and travelers; plan your next adventure. Join us as we welcome the summer season in the best way possible: talking boats, celebrating community and hanging out on the shores of Lake Superior.

View the schedule

Wooden Boat Display

Friday - Sunday

Speaker Series

Friday and Saturday
$5/presentation or free for members

Steam Bent Brunch

Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

Craft Demonstrations

Friday and Saturday

Boats-to-Tools Auction

Saturday 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Community Gatherings

Friday and Saturday
Pageant, chowder, music, and more!

20th Anniversary Celebrations

Monday to Saturday

Mini Courses


One Hour Sails


Annual Member Gathering

Sunday at 12:00 p.m.
Open to all, members can vote

20th Anniversary Special Additions

Birch, Cedar, Ash: A Canoe in 6 Days
Monday, June 12 - Saturday, June 17, 2017
In celebration of 20 years of building boats, instructors Lindy Lind, Nate Johnson, and Ian Andrus will build a bark canoe from start to finish in just six days. Stop by during the week to see their progress!

Pop-Up Craft Gallery
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Students past and present are invited to bring an item they've made here at North House, or were inspired to make by a course here, to display at our all-day pop-up gallery. Saturday, June 17 9am - 4pm

Please send your questions to our Communications Manager, Carolyn Fritz.

Wooden Boat Display

Friday - Sunday
Boat Parade Friday at 6:00 p.m.
Wooden boat builders and enthusiasts from across the Midwest are invited to display their crafts on campus throughout the weekend. Admire the work of others, get your questions answered, and perhaps feel inspired to build one of your own.

Information about bringing your boat to display

Speaker Series

Friday, June 16 - Saturday, June 17, 2017
$5/presentation or free for members

Watch, listen, be inspired. The spirited journeys of sailors, boat builders and canoeists converge for two days of inspirational presentations.

Musical Mysteries Explained: Secrets of Deepwater Worksongs with Bob Walser
Friday at 2:00 p.m.

Sea shanties–the worksongs of deep water sailors–are perennial favorites at folk and maritime festivals, campfire songfests and other informal musical gatherings. The product of a brief historical moment these salty songs have continued to live long after the demise of their original context. This talk will examine features of these songs and through these explore how ‘survival of the fittest’ may apply to this folk song genre.

The Paul La Plante Partnership: Building A Mackinaw Boat at North House
Friday at 3:00 p.m.

In 1999, North House and Grand Portage National Monument teamed up to build a Mackinaw boat, a reconstructed version of the 19th century workboat that dominated the Great Lakes commercial fishing industry. The project used local materials and talent wherever possible, and the boat, launched in June 2000 was named for Grand Portage boat-builder Paul La Plante. David Cooper from the National Park Service will present an illustrated history of the project as well as a dockside tour of the finished boat.

Hiking the BWCA: The Pow Wow Trail Returns with Martin Kubik
Friday at 4:00 p.m.

Traveling by canoe isn't the only way to experience the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: a network of hiking trails criss crosses the wilderness, providing a unique and beautiful perspective of this incredible landscape. Join Martin Kubik, founder of the Kekekabic Trail Club and the Boundary Waters Advisory Committee to learn about the Pow Wow Trail.

20th Anniversary Boat: A Project to Celebrate North House with Dan Strootman
Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

A life long paddler, Dan Strootman participated in the first canoe building course ever offered at North House. Now, for North House's 20th Anniversary, Dan and a hardworking crew collaborated to build a breathtaking one-of-a-kind canoe, celebrating the utility and beauty of craft.

Lake Superior Tall Ships with Phil Peterson and Gordon Ringberg
Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

Lake Superior Tall Ships provides youth sail training aboard the schooner Abbey Road, inspires stewardship of Lake Superior, and promotes our maritime heritage. Come hear what this group of volunteers is doing now, and their ambitious plan for the future!

Building a Wood-Strip Paddleboard with Jim Eckblad
Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

In this illustrated presentation by Jim Eckblad, Emeritus Professor of Biology at Luther College, you will learn how you can take a pile of long thin wood strips and turn them into a functional paddleboard.

The Canoe: A Natural History in America with Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims
Sunday, following the Annual Membership Meeting

As veteran paddlers and journalists Mark and Norman will share their stories of the history of that most-American vehicle, the canoe, from the days of the dugouts and birchbark to modern synthetic materials.

Steam Bent Brunch

Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.
$15/person, reservations recommended

Purchase your tickets online.

Craft Demonstrations

Friday, June 16 from 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 17 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday

Northwoods Fiber Guild - Fiber arts
Urban Boat Builders - Paddle making
Ian Andrus - Birch bark canoe building
Nate Johnson - Birch bark canoe building
Lindy Lind - Birch bark canoe building
Emily Derke - Basketry
Beth Homa - Birch bark weaving
Jackson Sneve - Birch bark weaving
Jim Sannerud - Wooden bowl turning
Brent Gurtek - Gunsmithing
Tina Fung-Holder - Cattail weaving

Saturday Only

Cody Myers - Blacksmithing and knife making

Friday Only

Karen Rognsvoog - Natural plant dyes
Robert Schulz - Blacksmithing

Boats-to-Tools Auction

You're invited to join in the fun by donating an item (or several!) to the Boats to Tools Auction. Funds raised go directly to support our educational efforts. How can you help?

North House is looking for donated items for the auction with a focus on:

  • Boats of all types, boating supplies, boating books
  • Woodworking tools, woodworking supplies, woodworking books
  • Outdoor gear, camping supplies, outdoor-related books
  • Traditional craft
  • Gift certificates

To participate, please fill out our auction submission form, or call us for more details at (218) 387-9762.

Community Gatherings

Harbor-Side BBQ
Friday, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. | $5-$7

Boats-to-Tools Auction Sneak Peak
Members only | Friday, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Community Music Circle: Sea Shanties & Lumberjack Jam
Friday, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. | Free

Family Dance with Northern Aire
Friday, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. | $5 or free for members

Contra Dance with Northern Aire
Friday, 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. | $5 or free for members

Lake Superior Chowder Experience
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Solstice Pageant with Good Harbor Hill Players and GAMEPALAJ
Saturday, 8:00 p.m.

One Hour Sails on the Hjørdis

Saturday, June 17 with sails starting on the hour, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
$25/person, 6 people/sail

Enjoy a 1-hour sail in the Grand Marais harbor aboard the 50’ schooner Hjordis.

Annual Membership Gathering

Sunday at 12:00 p.m.

Celebrate another year of mission-driven success here at North House. The meeting, open to all (with opportunities for current members to vote), will highlight what our strong community of supporters has accomplished and foreshadow the year ahead. Immediately following the meeting, we will be joined by featured speakers Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims, authors of “The Canoe: A Natural History in North America.”

Bringing your boat to display at Wooden Boat Show

Owners, novice or professional boat-builders, artisans of boat building crafts and all welcome to bring their craft(s) over the weekend. While wooden boat projects are the focus, other interesting watercraft projects are encouraged as well.

Professional builders should note that the intent of the Boat Show is to celebrate the craft of wooden boats. While boat building “services” may be presented during the show, the sale of boats/paddles on campus is only allowed if done as a consignment sale during the Boats-To-Tools Auction.

Space is limited, so let us know you’re coming as early as possible. There are two ways to register:

  1. Fill out our display entry form online
  2. Print and send in the display entry form

Festival Highlights

Harbor Side Wooden Boat Display
Boats-to-Tools Auction
Wooden Boat Speaker Series
Craft Demonstrators
Lake Superior Chowder Experience
Steam Bent Brunch
Solstice Pageant
Members Annual Meeting

Course Offerings