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Small Print, Big Details

by Brian Lukasavitz of the Lukasavitz Law Group, LLC.

When planning an event you are undoubtedly going to enter into contracts and/or agreements for services. Depending on what kind of event you are planning this could be as simple as a rental contract for a tent or chocolate fountain, or as complex as a facility use agreement or performance contract for an entertainer. Because you are signing your name and entering into legal agreements, you need to be aware of the obligations and consequences of doing so. It is absolutely vital that you read and understand the agreements you are signing so you don’t find yourself caught off guard if there is any kind of problem or issue.

Whether you are planning a backyard event for a small group or coordinating an outdoor festival for thousands, understanding performance and vendor contracts can be challenging but crucial, especially if something goes wrong. As an attorney that specializes in contracts for the arts and entertainment industry, I am all too familiar with agreements that are poorly drafted. With every performance or vendor contract it is crucial for the planner to understand the terms of what should happen if the event is cancelled. My contracts include clauses that stipulate how situations are to be handled should there be a cancellation. It is important for the planner to appreciate the timing and repercussions on the decision to cancel. My advice for planners is to carefully review what those clauses require based on who cancels, when they cancel and what percentage of fees are to be paid (if any) depending on how the cancellation occurs.

Every contract or agreement has its own particular nuances, but the goal of each contract is the same; to set the terms for each entity as to how to fulfill the terms of the agreement when all goes as planned, but also how to resolve unexpected issues that may arise, should things not go as planned.  When drafting contracts, I begin by getting as much information about the event as possible.  Once it is established how the agreement is intended to be executed, my goal is to also include as many provisions for the reasonably anticipated “what-ifs”.  No one wants to think about how the agreement could fall-apart, but it is important in the contract to include terms for how both parties agree to resolve issues when the worst-case scenario plays out during your event.

Lukasavitz Law Group, LLC is a local firm that specializes in working with small for-profit and non-profit businesses and start-ups. As a small business-owner, Brian Lukasavitz is no stranger to the challenges organizations face with regard to municipality filings, trademark and copyright and a wide variety of contracts and human resources issues and documentation. Lukasavitz Law Group, LLC can assist organizations strategize the most effective and cost-effective ways to become establish themselves, protect their organization interests and continue to develop and expand. Brian can be contacted at 218.310.4530 or


Bringing the Noise – The Hub

The Hub

by Tony Bennett

In the opening months of 2016, in a part of Duluth a bit off the eaten path, a few well-known local businesses assembled in a large are house location to build something new together: The Hub for Event Logistics.

Located in the Irving area, just kitty-corner from Loll Designs, The Hub is an umbrella company that aims to be a one-stop shop for anyone who is looking to put on an event, no matter how large or small. Sound Central is a 16-year veteran in local sound and light that boasts a massive warehouse full of gear, T&E Concert Services is a backline company with all the amps and drums that anyone could ever need, Audio Visual Resources is a longtime business that specializes in projection, sound, video, and media conversion, and Visto Video is an upstart videography company. Together, they make up The Hub, a place that aims to provide a solution to any kind of event need that can arise.

“Sound Central was established in 2001 when I moved back to the Twin Ports after a stint in the Twin Cities playing music and having a small audio and lighting company,” Trent Edgerton, a founding partner of the company, says. Early on, it was about a “vision of providing production for concerts. It quickly grew into providing audio, lighting, and staging for any size event locally and nationally.”

He’s not kidding: Sound Central regularly goes on the road to assist a wide variety of big-name musicians with their productions, as well as providing similar services for local events. They’ve also worked things no less prestigious as the campaigns of Al Gore and George W. Bush. To be sure, they’ve got some serious experience.

Travis Johnson is the man behind T&E Concert Services. He used to be a chef until his love for production and live music overpowered his love for the culinary arts. His company is one that splintered off of Sound Central some time ago.

“T&E primarily provides backline and instrument-rental services nationwide,” Johnson says. “We also provide pro audio services for 50 to 60 shows each summer for Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield, Wisconsin. I’ve also worked in conjunction with Sound Central and Audio Visual Resources on past presidential campaign rallies, numerous festivals, and multifaceted events.”

Brita Edgerton caught the AV bug while working with her husband, Trent, on his side project Twin Ports Outdoor Movies, which produces the “Movies in the Park” event in Duluth’s Leif Erickson Park in the summers. Her background in television as on-air talent and behind-the-scenes event planner for PBS has served her well in her new capacity with Audio Visual Resources, which is her main responsibility at The Hub. She says that the move to Duluth and the formation of the “Hub” umbrella has been long in the works.

“The concept of The Hub had been of interest to both Trent and I even prior to acquiring AVR,” she says. “We had already developed a network of like-minded businesses in the events-service industry. Logistically, having our businesses physically in one place made it easier to coordinate equipment and gear. Providing a literal and figurative hub for any AV, staging, or event-production elements is the service we wanted to provide for our community through the creation of The Hub.”

“The best part of our job is all the events we get to be a part of,” Brita Edgerton says. “Whether it’s boardrooms, back yards, concerts, conferences, celebrations, or worship centers, it’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of the announcements, entertainment, and education of our community.”

Adventure is Out There

Choose Your Cruise on the Vista Fleet for Your Special Events
by Sheryl Jensen
The Vista Fleet has been one of the jewels of the tourist industry in Duluth for many years. Many locals, however, forget that a cruise on the Vista Star or the Vista Queen is not just for tourists! What better way to show off Duluth to visiting friends or family and play tourist yourself for a day, then to take a beautiful harbor cruise?

Or are you planning a special event for the summer or fall months? Do you have a wedding, or a wedding shower, an anniversary, special birthday party, or a summer celebration to thank your employees, on your calendar?

Whatever your special event might be, consider making the Vista Fleet your first stop for planning a day or evening your group will never forget.
The Vista Star is the largest of their fleet and can hold up to 220 guests for a reception or 125 for a sit down dinner. It has 3 decks, 2 of which are enclosed. In addition to private full boat or deck charters, this vessel also provides their daily grand sightseeing cruises as well as their pizza and evening dinner cruises.

Their intimate private charter boat, the Vista Queen, is available for small groups. The vessel can accommodate a maximum of 36 passengers for a sit down dinner charter or up to 50 passengers for a charter reception (weather permitting).
Sarah Steinbach, who owns the Vista Fleet with her husband Justin, says, “Think outside the box with all your special events by talking to us first.”
One of a Kind Weddings
“So many people these days are looking for ‘destination’ weddings, trying to find a spot that is unique. Couples who love their city also love to show it off for their weddings or receptions. A  wedding/reception package on the Vista is perfect!” says Sarah.
With a customized package to fit your wedding budget,
the Vista Fleet can provide the unique setting of the beautiful boat with Lake Superior and the Lift Bridge as your backdrop. Or you could have your wedding elsewhere and have the reception onboard. Whether you want a small wedding with just the bride and groom and two guests, champagne, and a cake; or a sit-down dinner for twenty, forty, or more, the Vista folks will work with you for the picture perfect wedding. They can even assist with fresh flowers, decorations, and music.

Memorable Parties or Meetings
Are you in charge of a business meeting with clients or out of town business people? The Vista Star is the ticket for a breakfast, lunch, or dinner tour.

For a anniversary, birthday, or retirement party, let them do the work for you. “We work with Grandma’s Restaurant and Duluth Grill as our preferred caterers but are also open to other catering choices. Our preferred caterers also provide rental services of linens, china and flatware, napkins, and service staff,” says Sarah.
Treat your guests and clients to an incredible on-the-water experience they’ll remember for years to come. The Vista Fleet allows you to please everyone, every time, with custom designed meetings and events.

Sarah adds, “We sometimes take for granted how amazing the harbor is. See the city from a different point of view and connect with the water. We want to put you out there to enjoy it for yourself and make your special day even more special.”

For more information, visit
or call 218-722-6218
For their group sales coordinator
Mary Mikulich, call 218-329-8702

Field of Opportunity

Planning a party that will leave your gueststalking for weeks is no easy task, but fi nding theright venue can make the feat a bit easier.

In Duluth, we’re lucky have a variety of amazing locations to choose from – but may of them have the most unique venue for parties, corporate events, reunions and more, The Engwall’s Corn
Maze. The maze is located at Engwall in Hermantown and features over an acre of corn stalks to get lost in. You’ll also fi nd a 3,000 square foot big top tent available, and a conference room. This
venue brings the whole party for you, beyond the maze itself, you’ll fi nd activities like Corn Cannons,

Hayrides, Pumpkin Bowling and Fire Pits. Engwall’s owner Rod Saline, heard “if you build it, they will come”. And come they have.

Octoberfest Fun and T-shirt Tutorial

By Shana Vesel
My favorite time of year is when summer comes to a close. Days are getting colder and leaves are turning colors. With Halloween right around the corner, the best way to enjoy a fall day is to have a party! Most people don’t have much going on. School is in full swing, the cabin is packed up tight, and there aren’t any other big events or holidays. So, every year, I host a camping gathering called “Octoberfest”. It started out several years ago with my Grandpa.

He was a big fan of fall camping. The colder the better. My husband still jokes that if we don’t travel down 20 miles of dirt roads and pull off into the wilderness, it isn’t camping by Grandpa’s standards! So, “Octoberfest” became a tradition and we made it into more of a party. I like to plan food, activities and games so that everyone can be involved and have a good time. We lost Grandpa a few years back, but our annual “Octoberfest” helps us remember him and celebrate with fall camping.

When we decide on a weekend, I send out an invite either by regular mail (if you have the time to put something fun together) or by email. We always have our favorite campground in mind and I plan games and activities around the campground layout. With the invitation, I will invite the group to sign up for our one group shared meal: a soup

We plan arrival for Friday afternoon. That gives us time to all get to the campground and set up. Decorating your campsite is highly encouraged! I’ll hit the local craft stores, dollar store and home store for various props, lights and decorations. There are no power hook-ups at this time of year, so I have to keep in mind that whatever we do has to be run off of a generator. I can’t tell you how cool light-up inflatables look at night in your campsite. Think of your neighborhood, only condensed! It’s especially fun when we have the campground to ourselves. Something else to keep in mind is the weather. It may be cold, rainy or sometimes snowy. Your decorations should be able to withstand mother nature. A covered screen tent or canopy makes a good gathering spot if the weather is not the best.

On Friday evening, we like to carve pumpkins. I ask everyone to bring their own pumpkins and I supply the tools. They can carve their pumpkin however they choose. We line them up in front of our campsite and put lights inside. Be careful with candles especially if there are children or dry leaves. I prefer to use the battery operated lights. Walking around the campground loop seeing all those carved pumpkins lit up is really neat!

Saturday we start the day with t-shirt or sweatshirt making.
I usually buy multi-packs of men’s white t-shirts to share, but you could have people bring their own. Choose an area with lots of ventilation and a flat space to decorate the shirts on. Using masking tape, create a design on the t-shirt making sure to press the tape down firmly. Lay flat and take spray paint to highlight various areas of the design. Be sure to supervise and assist children with spray paint! Once dry (usually less than 30 minutes), remove tape and customize further. We like to cut and/or tie the t-shirt with ribbon to really make it your own. Matching t-shirts really make a group photo look amazing!

After the t-shirts are made and everyone’s wearing them, we get some fun games started. One of our favorites is called “Newspaper Costume Contest”. We separate the group into teams. It works best if you have at least 3 people per team, especially if there are children playing. Every team gets a stack of old newspapers, scissors, masking tape, packing tape and/or scotch tape. On the word “go!”, each team has to create a handmade costume using only newspaper and tape. One person has to designated as the “costume” wearer and the other teammates are the builders/designers. I recommend a 30 minute limit, but you could make it longer. To set the mood, I will play Halloween music while the teams work. After the time is up, have a costume parade and judge for places. Make sure you have lots of prizes – it’s hard to choose a favorite sometimes. Also, it’s important to take as many photos as you can!

For lunch, we gather together for our soup potluck. Some people bring soup or stew, others bring crackers, bread or rolls and some bring dessert. Whatever you decide on, just make sure it’s enough to share!

When it starts to get dark and our campsites are glowing with decorations and pumpkins, we have a flashlight scavenger hunt. I choose about a dozen various Halloween themed items to hide around the campground. In the past, I’ve made painted wooden
cut-outs, but the dollar store will have lots to choose from too. Teams split up and use their flashlights to hunt down all of the items on their list. If you’re creative, make up little clue poems to help find them. If not, make sure all the items are out in the open enough to find easily.

Our fall camping trip has become something my family and friends look forward to all year. It’s something fun to get everyone outside and enjoying our fall weather. This party can easily be adapted for other locations and condensed into one day or afternoon. We have also used some of these ideas for other holidays. Just make it your own and invite your family and friends. They’re sure to have a great time!

Patriotic Thirst Quenchers

When the summer sun heats you up – these red, white,
and blue beverages will cool you down!

Cran-cherry Juice
Kid friendly pina colada drink
Blue raspberry drink
*You can pick any three red, white and blue drinks
as long as all the drinks have different sugar contents per ounce.
1. Fill the cup 1/3 of the way up with the drink with the
highest sugar content. In this case the cran-cherry juice.
2. Fill the cup to the top with ice
3. Pour the drink with the next highest sugar content (in this case
the pina colada drink) another third of the way up. The key is to
pour it very slowly over the ice. If you pour to quickly the colors will combine.
4. Repeat with the last drink (in this case the blue drink),
fi lling the last third of the cup. Remember to pour very slowly.
5. For the straw, cut the ends off of a twizzlers candy, then you can even use red, white
and blue pull n’ peel twizzler candy to add some more color.

Lime Juice
Frozen Strawberries
Super easy, all you need to do is put 4 ounces of
Hynotiq, 2 ounces of vodka, and a splash of lime
juice in a glass. Then you use the frozen strawberries
for ice.

Famous Dave’s: Pass the napkin!

Summer. A season that we all look so forward to. Time to get out on the lakes, and enjoy picnics and barbecues. And for those of you who can’t live without a fi nger-licking delicious barbecue,
Famous Dave’s comes to mind.

The Duluth restaurant opened in 2002, and continues to be one of Canal Park’s hot spots. You may (or may not) know that Famous Dave’s offers catering. This can best be described as best
family style buffets. They offer to cater corporate events, weddings, business lunches, grad parties, school functions, personal occasions, and more. Greg Toon, general manager at the Duluth restaurant since 2004, relayed that they are a year round catering company. Groom’s dinners and family reunions are very popular in the summer months. He also jokingly said that they are not afraid to “ruin” a wedding dress or two. This writer thinks it would be worth it!

Offi ce meetings with lunches, or staff training days are popular, with multiple shift caterings a plus. If food is desired for 1st/2nd or 3rd shifts, they provide that as well.
Fall-off the bone smoked ribs, beef brisket, pork, and hand seasoned slow-roasted chicken are the house smoked meats that keep people coming back for more. Several made-from scratch items are available, such as the popular Wilbur beans, coleslaw, garlic mashed
potatoes, and mmmmac-n-cheese. Toon said that the honey buttered corn bread muffi ns are incredibly popular. There are pans of delicious food that you can help yourself to, but they also have staff who can dish up plates for the diners. A huge plus is the fact that Famous Dave’s personnel will clean, clear tables, and take care of refuse during the event. Each level of service has a cost along with it.

Famous Dave’s catering will cover a radius from 1.5 to 2 hour drive. There are extra fees for longer trips, but they have the equipment needed in order to supply a perfect meal. The catering prices run from $8-$16 dollars depending on the selection. Average prices run
from $12-$13 dollars a plate. A full menu can be seen online at Craig Smith , Sales director for Enger and Lester Park golf courses, has some very kind words to share. “Famous Dave’s has been an outstanding source for event catering for me over the past 15 years in both my baseball years and now for golf related events. I have enjoyed partnering with them for daily menu items, special catering events, and golf tournaments which our participants fully enjoyed and looked forward to year in and year out. Clients can rest assured that owner Randy Jernberg, General manager Greg Toon, and their staff will be there to support them from the initial meeting through delivery and at a great price! I highly recommend Famous Dave’s for all your event and catering needs.”

Abby Olson, owner of Saffron and Grey fl oral, Is also a very satisfi ed patron. “We have used Famous Dave’s for events and Greg Toon has always been very professional. He shows up on time & sets up a delicious spread. During the planning process he makes appropriate suggestions so you never have to worry about having too much or too little. We highly recommend working with our Duluth Famous Dave’s and Greg Toon.” “Consistent food quality and pleasing our customer is what we strive for”, Toon says. “We take pride in this, along with serving high quality meat, and providing a great meal to enhance your gathering is what famous Dave’s is all about”.