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Events

Summer Solstice and Wooden Boat Festival

Fri, Jun 21, 2024 - Sat, Jun 22, 2024
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Overview

Summer on the North Shore is a magical time of year—the sun is at its zenith, boats dot the Grand Marais harbor, and the warm days beckon us outdoors.

The Summer Solstice and Wooden Boat Festival celebrates the best of summer on Lake Superior. Join us for a joy-filled weekend that weaves together craft, community, and the beauty of long days by the lake. Discover, dance, paddle, create, and welcome the brightest season at this festival!

Make your Solstice Plans

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Friday Picnic & Kickoff

Gather beside the lake on Friday evening for a good old fashioned BBQ and ice cream social!

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Saturday Hands-On Discovery

Explore traditional craft—kneading dough, making wood shavings, working with fiber.

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Make More Meaning Auction

Featuring a wide range of tools, camping gear, and craft resources to elevate artisans to the next level.

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Mini Courses

Dip your toes into the world of craft through a handful of special mini–courses.

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Lake Superior Chowder Experience

Choose from a wide range of chowders from North Shore restaurants.

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Harborside Boat Walk

Self-guided tour to see and hear about the people and vessels that have traversed the big lake.

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Summer Solstice Pageant

Gather for a touching and memorable larger-than-life puppet show with live music.

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Hjørdis Sailing

Departures for two-hour sails throughout the day. Registration required.

Event Details

Friday, June 21: Event Kickoff & Neighborhood Picnic!

The Summer Solstice and Wooden Boat Festival kicks off on Friday, June 21. Join us in celebrating the best of summer by Lake Superior. Enjoy family activities on the commons, gather for live music and a picnic by the harbor, or dance the night away at the community contra dance.

  • 9am - Noon/5pm Mini Courses
  • Throughout day Sail on Lake Superior
  • 2pm-5pm Family Drop-in Crafts
  • 2pm-6pm Family Games & Activities
  • 2pm-7pm Live Music on the Commons
  • 2-5pm Speaker Series (2pm, 3pm and 4pm)
  • 4pm Campus and New Building Tour
  • 5-7pm Lions BBQ and Ice Cream Social
  • 6-7 pm Family Contra Dance
  • 7-9pm Community Contra Dance  
  • 7-8pm Community Paddle/Row/Sail on the Harbor
  • 8-9pm Summer Solstice Poetry Slam

Mini Courses

Friday, June 21: 9am start

North House offers over 300 traditional craft courses throughout the year. At this year’s festival, we’ll host a handful of mini courses where you can sample a folk school class and dip your toes into the world of craft. Registration for mini courses is required.

Sail on Lake Superior

Throughout Day

The flagship of the Grand Marais Harbor, Hjørdis shares the name of the mythical Norse goddess of war. Take a trip on this 50’ traditionally-rigged steel schooner and gain access to both the largest lake in the world and experience Grand Marais from the water. Hjørdis departs for two-hour sails throughout the day. Registration required. View availability and book on our sailing page.

Family Drop-In Crafts

Friday, June 21: 2-5pm | Free

The Summer Solstice and Wooden Boat Festival brings craft opportunities for all ages. Stop by the Family Area on the Commons on Friday and Saturday for free family crafts! We’ll have craft supplies for all ages to join in the fun as we get creative on the theme of summer. Perfect for imaginative folks ages 2-102.

Family Games & Activities

Friday, June 21: 2-6pm | Free

Bring the whole family down to the North House Commons for an afternoon of fun beside the harbor! Staff and instructors will lead drop-in activities including outdoor games, chalk art, and more.

Speaker Series

Friday, June 21: 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm | Free

Watch, listen, and be inspired by stories and histories that connect craft, livelihood, and summer in the North. 

2pm: Rivers of Lake Superior's North Shore: An Ojibwe Perspective | Erik Redix

The drive along the North Shore of Lake Superior between Duluth and the international border on Highway 61 is an iconic Minnesota experience, offering unparalleled scenery in the upper Midwest.  A major draw for visitors is the over two dozen short scenic rivers that descend anywhere from 20 to 40 miles down the rugged landscape of Minnesota’s North Shore into Lake Superior.  The North Shore lies within the traditional historical territory of two modern tribal nations: the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Fort William First Nation.  This presentation will explore the Ojibwe language names for these iconic waterways, and discuss how this reveals a much richer understanding of the area.

3pm: A Legacy in Wood | Michael Karns

One boatbuilder’s dream finds a home after a 20-year search. What does it mean to preserve the history of a boat? What makes a boat worth saving? Join Michael Karns and hear the engrossing tale of how his search for the boat of his dreams, and the story of boatbuilder John D Little’s dedication to wooden boats, found resolution after 20 years.

Live Music on Campus

Friday, June 21: 2-7pm | Free

Soak in the best of summer by the harbor. On Friday and Saturday, we’ll have a rotating roster of local musicians playing live music on the commons.

Campus and New Building Tour

Friday, June 21: 4pm | Free

Join Director Greg Wright for a tour of the North House campus and the new Welcome Center that’s scheduled to open in fall 2024. On the tour you’ll hear stories from the past, plans for the future, and witness how North House is enriching lives and building community by teaching traditional northern craft.

Lions Club BBQ and Ice Cream Social

Friday, June 21: 5-7pm

Gather beside the lake on Friday evening for a good old fashioned BBQ and ice cream social! Support the Grand Marais Lions Club and purchase their classic picnic fare ($5-10, or BYO) and top that off with ice cream for sale from Superior Creamery. We’ll have a campfire and live music going as well.

Community Contra Dance

Friday, June 21: 6-7pm (Family Dance) & 7-9pm (Community Dance) | Free

A contra dance is a form of folk dancing with a caller who teaches the moves—no experience required! North House’s woodworking classroom converts into a traditional community contra dance on Friday night, welcoming families for the first hour to learn traditional dances geared towards families with children. All are welcome for the following two hours for the community dance.

Community Paddle/Row/Sail on the Harbor!

Friday, June 21: 7-8pm

Celebrate the longest days of the year on the water with a community paddle! Weather permitting, we invite anyone with a boat to join us for a row, paddle, or sail on the beautiful waters of the Grand Marais harbor. Portage your own boat down to campus and head out from our docks or use the Rec Park boat launch, with ample parking available. BYO boat, PFDs, and paddles.

Summer Solstice Poetry Slam

Friday, June 21: 8-9pm | Free

The Summer Solstice Poetry Slam is a celebration of writing and the vibrance of summer in the North. Join in the fun at 8pm by reading one of your own works or any selected seasonal poetry of your choosing. Register to present a poem here.

Saturday, June 22: Hands-On Discovery & Solstice Pageant!

Whether you’re 2 or 102, hands-on exploration with traditional craft—kneading dough, making wood shavings, working with fiber—enlivens the human spirit. Saturday brings myriad opportunities for hands-on discovery: explore your creativity, see others’ creations, and get a taste of the magic that fuels North House every day of the year.

  • 10am-3pm   Make More Meaning  Auction 
  • 10am-3pm   Live Music on the Commons
  • 10am-4pm   Pop-up Craft Market
  • 10am-4pm   Family Drop-in Crafts
  • 10am-4pm   Family Games & Activities
  • 10am-4pm   Traditional Craft Try-Its (Breads, Blacksmithing, Fiber, Wood, Flint & Fire)
  • 10am-4pm   Harborside Boat Walk in the Rec Park
  • Throughout day   Sail on Lake Superior                                             
  • Noon–1pm   Lake Superior Chowder Experience ($15 at the door)
  • 4pm   Campus and New Building Tour
  • 8pm   Summer Solstice Pageant

Make More Meaning Auction

Saturday, June 22: 10am-3pm

Searching for the right inspiration to start your craft journey or take the next steps in your creative practice? The Make More Meaning Auction features a wide range of tools, camping gear, and craft resources to spark great creations and experiences! With a range of fantastic items donated by friends of North House and craft companies, you’re sure to find unexpected treasures, and you’ll feel good knowing that your bid is helping to support the work of the folk school.

This is also a fantastic opportunity to streamline your workspace and yarn stash while adding your support to North House! Bring gently used crafting supplies, tools that you no longer need, or outdoor gear, and help them to find a new home where they will be put to use. You’ll have more space in your craft room, someone new will get to dive deeper into craft, your item will stay out of the landfill, and North House will have funds to put towards our Internship program! It’s win-win-win-win and that’s tough to top!

You can get a sneak peek at the auction AND learn more about contributing to its success here.

[BUTTON: View Auction Page]

Sail on Lake Superior

Throughout Day

The flagship of the Grand Marais Harbor, Hjørdis shares the name of the mythical Norse goddess of war. Take a trip on this 50’ traditionally-rigged steel schooner and gain access to both the largest lake in the world and experience Grand Marais from the water. Hjørdis departs for two-hour sails throughout the day. Registration required—the sailing schedule will be available later this spring. 

Live Music on Campus

Saturday, June 22: 10am-3pm | Free

Soak in the best of summer by the harbor. On Friday and Saturday, we’ll have a rotating roster of local musicians playing live music on the commons.

Pop-Up Craft Market

Saturday, June 22: 10am-4pm

North House’s talented group of instructors form the backbone of our craft community. Visit the Red Building on Saturday for a pop-up craft sale featuring several North House instructors. Browse one-of-a-kind, handmade items and meet the artisans behind the craft.

Family Drop-In Crafts

Saturday, June 22: 10am-4pm | Free

The Summer Solstice and Wooden Boat Festival brings craft opportunities for all ages. Stop by the Family Area on the Commons on Friday and Saturday for free family crafts! We’ll have craft supplies for all ages to join in the fun as we get creative on the theme of summer. Perfect for imaginative folks ages 2-102. 

Family Games & Activities

Saturday, June 22: 10am-4pm | Free

Bring the whole family down to the North House Commons for an afternoon of fun beside the harbor! Staff and instructors will lead drop-in activities including outdoor games, chalk art, and more.

Traditional Craft Try-Its

Saturday, June 22: 10am-4pm | Free

Every week of the year, North House is filled with joy and excitement as folks exclaim, “I made this!” At this year’s festival, try your hand at some of the traditional crafts that form the fabric of North House. Bake pita bread in the wood-fired oven, try woodworking and fiber arts with our instructors, and catch a blacksmithing demonstration in North House’s traditional blacksmith shop. Take your creations home to show your friends what you made!

Harborside Boat Walk in the Rec Park

Saturday, June 22: 10am-4pm | Free

For as long as people have called Lake Superior home, boats have played a central role in life by the shore. Discover some of these boats on Saturday’s Harbor Boat Walk. Grab your guide (available at the Info Booth) and stroll through the harborside display in the Rec Park to discover handmade vessels, both new and historic. Volunteers along the route will share each boat’s story and stamp your guide—turn in your completed passport at the Info Booth for a surprise!

Have a boat you’d like to display? Register here!

Lake Superior Chowder Experience: An Empty Bowls Fundraiser

Saturday, June 22: Noon-1pm
$15 adults, $10 kids 12 and under

Get your bowl for the 23rd annual Lake Superior Chowder Experience – a festival highlight that brings chowders of North Shore restaurants for you to taste. Smoked salmon, garden vegetable, classic clam, and poblano-potato were just a few of the interpretations area restaurants took last year. Combined with freshly baked breads from North House’s wood-fired oven, this is a North Shore culinary event not to be missed. This year's event is a fundraiser for Empty Bowls, fighting hunger in our community. Tickets will be available for purchase at the event.

Campus and New Building Tour

Saturday, June 22: 4pm | Free

Join Director Greg Wright for a tour of the North House campus and the new Welcome Center that’s scheduled to open in fall 2024. On the tour you’ll hear stories from the past, plans for the future, and witness how North House is enriching lives and building community by teaching traditional northern craft.

Summer Solstice Pageant

Saturday, June 22: 8pm | Free

The Summer Solstice and Wooden Boat Festival culminates with a highlight of the summer: the Summer Solstice Pageant. Gather on the North House commons for a touching and memorable show by the Good Harbor Hill players, complete with music and larger-than-life puppets.

Sunday, June 23: Student and Donor Celebration & Wood-fired Pizza Bake!

North House is fueled by our supportive community of students, instructors, program alumni, and members. On Sunday, June 23, we’ll host a special celebration to recognize the folks of the folk school, along with a presentation on craft, our annual meeting, and a wood-fired pizza lunch.

If you would like to attend Sunday, Please RSVP here. You can also contact Greg Wright and Tom Morse with questions at info@northhouse.org

Latest Update: View recent changes →

Course Offerings

Blacksmithing: The Basics & Beyond

Wed, Jun 12th, 2024  –  Sat, Jun 15th, 2024
9am-5pm each day
Instructor: Cody Myers

Cedar Bark Mat Weaving: From Forest to Floor

Thu, Jun 13th, 2024  –  Mon, Jun 17th, 2024
9am-5pm each day

Timbered Sawhorse Trestles: Women & Non-Binary Session

Thu, Jun 13th, 2024  –  Sat, Jun 15th, 2024
Day 1: 1-5pm; Days 2-3: 9am-5pm
Instructors: Martha Williams, Alo Osberg

A Midsommar Feast

Fri, Jun 14th, 2024  –  Sat, Jun 15th, 2024
Day 1: 9am-4pm; Day 2: 10am-7pm
Instructor: Anna Sharratt

Needle Felting & Bead Embroidery: Bead, Felt, & Frame

Fri, Jun 14th, 2024  –  Sun, Jun 16th, 2024
9am-5pm each day
Instructor: Jo Wood

Post and Rung Stool Building

Fri, Jun 14th, 2024  –  Sun, Jun 16th, 2024
Day 1: 2pm-5pm; Days 2-3: 9am-5pm
Instructor: Rose Holdorf

Swedish Dalmålning Using Traditional Techniques

Sat, Jun 15th, 2024  –  Sun, Jun 16th, 2024
9am-5pm each day
Instructor: Kim Garrett

Fly Fishing the North Shore: Grand Marais Area

Sun, Jun 16th, 2024  –  Wed, Jun 19th, 2024
Day 1: noon-6pm; Days 2-4: 9am-5pm
Instructors: Erik Swenson, Jake Lubke

Blacksmithing: Crafting The Tools of the Trade

Mon, Jun 17th, 2024  –  Thu, Jun 20th, 2024
9am-5pm each day
Instructor: Cody Myers

Kuksa Carving: Traditional Scandinavian Drinking Cup

Mon, Jun 17th, 2024  –  Wed, Jun 19th, 2024
9am-5pm each day
Instructor: Alex Yerks

Tvåändsstickning - Mittens in Swedish “Twined” Knitting

Wed, Jun 19th, 2024  –  Thu, Jun 20th, 2024
9am-5pm each day
Instructor: Lily Bell

Give Some Heart: Carving Wooden Hearts

Thu, Jun 20th, 2024
9am-5pm
Instructor: Alex Yerks

Introduction to Rosemaling Gudbrandsdal Style

Thu, Jun 20th, 2024
2-5pm
Instructor: Tara Austin

Families at the Forge

Fri, Jun 21st, 2024
9am-3pm
Instructor: Cody Myers

Hand-Stitched Leather Wallet or Clutch

Fri, Jun 21st, 2024
9am-noon
Instructor: Candace LaCosse

Give Some Heart: Carving Wooden Hearts

Fri, Jun 21st, 2024
9am-3pm
Instructor: Alex Yerks

Scandinavian Tufted Wool Techniques

Fri, Jun 21st, 2024
9am-noon
Instructors: Caroline Feyling, Lily Bell

Sail Training Trip: Lonely Island Tour

Fri, Jun 21st, 2024  –  Tue, Jul 2nd, 2024
Day 1: 5pm start; Final Day: 3pm finish
Instructor: Mark Gordon

Canoe vs. Kayak: An Intro to Skin-On-Frame Building

Mon, Jun 24th, 2024  –  Sat, Jun 29th, 2024
9am-5pm each day

Cedar-Strip Boat Construction: Techniques & Fundamentals

Mon, Jun 24th, 2024  –  Sun, Jun 30th, 2024
9am-5pm each day
Instructor: Ken Koscik

Hand-Forged "Using" Knife

Thu, Jul 18th, 2024  –  Sat, Jul 20th, 2024
9am-5pm each day
Instructor: Robert Schulz

Shoemaking with the Cordwainer Shop: The Pathfinder

Mon, Jun 24th, 2024  –  Thu, Jun 27th, 2024
Days 1-3: 9am-5pm; Day 4: 9am-1pm
Instructor: Molly Grant

Fly Fishing the North Country in Prime Time

Tue, Jun 25th, 2024  –  Sun, Jun 30th, 2024
Day 1: 9am-5pm, Days 2-5: 10am-9pm, Day 6: 9am-4pm
Instructors: Mike Hero, Jan Shepherd

Inkle Loom Weaving

Tue, Jun 25th, 2024  –  Wed, Jun 26th, 2024
9am-5pm each day
Instructor: Traudi Bestler

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