In a holiday season full of fun things to do in the Northland, the North Shore Scenic Railroad and Fitger's have announced something new for families to experience.

This Friday and Saturday in the darkened skies over Lake Superior they are presenting a first for Duluth, a "spectacular" Holiday Lighted Drone Show.

According to the press release, the North Shore Scenic Railroad and Fitger's joined forces to hire Firely Drones, a leader, in drone show technology and artistry, to fly four shows on Friday and five on Saturday.

“These are the new fireworks,” said Ken Buehler the railroad’s General Manager. “We wanted to bring something brand new to this Holiday Season by offering these nine free shows visible from Fitger’s and along parts of the Lakewalk.”

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Of course, with the North Shore Scenic involved, there is an opportunity to get an enhanced experience aboard a train. The three to four-minute aerial displays will also be seen by passengers riding the North Shore Scenic Railroad’s Christmas City Express, which is a story performance and train ride that tells about a young girl traveling by train on Christmas Eve to visit her grandparents in Duluth.

The train gets stranded in a horrific snowstorm. While everyone on board is safe, the passengers all fear Christmas will be lost. It’s what the little girl and the conductor do next that saves Christmas for everyone.

In a fun twist this weekend, the multi-colored drone show will follow the book's storyline. The first scene is a steam train, then a snowstorm followed by other images pertinent to the events in the book.

Spectators can expect a medium-sized drone show featuring a hundred lighted drones that are computer and GPS-controlled to form multi-colored animated scenes. The following show times are approximate based on the arrival of the Christmas City Express train:

  • Friday, December 8: 5:15 pm. 6:15 pm, 7:15 pm & 8:15 pm
  • Saturday, December 9: 4:15 pm, 5:15 pm, 6:15 pm 7:15 pm & 8:15 pm

The shows are free for Christmas City Express passengers and some tickets are still available.

Anyone interested in watching for free is welcome to do so. Excellent viewing areas can be found in the Fitger’s Courtyard and parking ramp.

While the first video below isn’t exactly what they’ll do in Duluth, it does provide an example of what shows of this nature can look like.

It's important to note that due to Federal Aviation Administration rules, a portion of the Lakewalk on either side of the launch area will be closed just before and for a short time after each show.

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