SFEA Awards the City of Duluth with Event and Marketing Awards

The Southeastern Festivals and Events Association (SFEA) recognized the City of Duluth as one of the best in the region for its events and creative efforts over the last year.

Pictured from left to right: Talore Ruedt, Senior Marketing & Outreach Coordinator Jessica Gross, Events Coordinator Victoria Matsota, Events Assistant

On February 13, at the SFEA Kaleidoscope Awards dinner in Jekyll Island, the City of Duluth was awarded:

  • Gold for Best Event Under $75K – Howl on the Green
  • Gold for Best Children’s Event – Fridays-N-Duluth: Eureka!
  • Gold for Best Vendor – Jessica It’s All Good
  • Gold for Best Event Series – Frosty Fun
  • Silver for Best Event Under $20K – Barbie’s Dream Pop-Up
  • Silver for Best Event under $75K – Viva Las Duluth
  • Silver for Best Green Initiative – Community Clean-Up Day
  • Silver for Best Marketing Campaign – Howl on the Green
  • Silver for Best Art Activation – Chalk Art Festival
  • Bronze for Best Event Within an Event – Frosty Fun: Inflatable Wonderland Story Walk
  • Bronze for Best Promotional Poster – Howl on the Green
  • Bronze for Best Merchandise – Rogers Bridge Memorabilia

The SFEA Kaleidoscope Awards, which recognizes the marketing, programming and overall event, acknowledges the highest level of achievement in the festival and event industry throughout the southeast United States.

The mission of SFEA is to strengthen, educate and unify the festivals and events industry throughout the Southeast.  Comprised of festival and event planners, venues, and industry service providers, SFEA was founded to strengthen the festival and event industry throughout the southeast United States by hosting educational sessions, networking opportunities, award recognition, and additional events throughout the year; thus allowing for continued professional growth within the festivals and events industry.

The 2024 calendar of events has been released and includes many returning favorites and a few new additions. For more information about these and other events, visit www.duluthga.net/events, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cityofduluth or follow us on Instagram at @city_of_duluth.

Translate Duluth Meeting Agendas Using Google Translate

Google Translate For Documents

Did you know that you can easily translate any document or PDF into 133 different languages using the free Google Translate website? Translating City Council meeting agendas is just a few clicks away!

Opening & Saving Meeting Agendas to Your Computer

  1. Visit duluthga.net and navigate to the Agendas & Minutes page under the Government tab.
  2. Open the Agenda document your wish to translate.
  3. Save the PDF to your computer by clicking the Download/Save button in the top right corner of your screen. Please note, this button will vary depending on the browser you are using. 

Translate Documents

You can translate documents up to 10 MB in any of these formats: .docx, .pdf, .pptx, .xlsx. PDF files must be 300 pages or less. To translate more documents or larger documents, learn about the Cloud Translation API.


  • Document translation isn’t available on smaller screens or mobile.
  • You can find text in images and scanned .pdf pages in the output document but they aren’t translated.
  1. In your browser, go to translate.google.com.
  2. At the top, click Documents.
  3. Choose the languages to translate to and from.
    • To automatically set the original language of a document, click Detect language.
  4. Click Browse your computer.
  5. Select the file you want to translate.
  6. Click Translate and wait for the document to finish translating.
  7. Click Download translation to download your translated document.

Please keep in mind that Google Translate only works on documents and not images. Some of the pages included in our agenda packets are scanned in documents. Documents that are scanned in are recognized as images by the computer and cannot be translated. If you have questions regarding an agenda, please send an email to agenda@duluthga.net.

Website Translations

Translating the City of Duluth website is even easier! Simply click Translate in the top right corner of the screen on any of our webpage and all the text will be converted to the language of your choosing.

The Gigglebark Tree Has Sprouted in Downtown Duluth!

From the groundbreaking to the grand reveal, the journey of our Gigglebark Tree has been nothing short of magical. Who could forget when our Mayor, Council, and some staff members turned into kids? As the Gigglebark stands tall in Downtown Duluth, we can’t help but wonder if its magic will return them to their grown-up forms. Join us on a whimsical journey as we revisit the magic of the Gigglebark Tree through the eyes of our kid Mayor.

In 2022, the City of Duluth invited Gwinnett County residents of all ages to submit drawings of their dream pieces of playable art for the Playground Design Contest. Among the 175+ entries, designs ranged from sea creatures to tree houses, pirate ships to crash-landed satellites, and musical instruments to giant animals. with the youngest artist to participate being just three years old! The Duluth Public Art Commission faced a fun yet challenging task of analyzing these submissions and selecting the top nine. The Mayor and Council, used these top nine designs to determine their top three winning selections in July of 2022. Ultimately, the winning design, submitted by Lyn-Nell Huffman, was inspired by a willow tree, and it became the foundation for the creation of the Gigglebark Tree.

The Gigglebark Tree playground is a visually stunning combination of several trees. It boasts the colorful bark of a Eucalyptus, the twisting roots of an Overcup Oak, and the swaying branches of a Willow Tree. What sets this playable art apart is the inclusion of a slide winding around the trunk and a root system with steps and tunnels. To add a touch of enchantment, the willow-like branches will illuminate the playground, creating a magical ambiance for all who visit.

The Gigglebark Tree Playground is an extension of the existing Taylor Park playground in Downtown Duluth. While it’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to old trees, some of them had to be removed due to disease, and their tendency to drop branches and pecans, making them unsuitable for a children’s play area. However, the City is committed to maintaining the natural beauty of the area. Now that the playable art is complete, the City will work with an arborist to plant new, safe trees once the playground is complete.

During the interim period as the new trees grow and provide natural shade, the City has install shade sails around the playable art, ensuring that visitors can enjoy the playground even on the sunniest days. Permanent mounted lighting is also in the works to replace the temporary ground lighting.

Thank you to Bliss Products & ID Sculpture, companies known for their innovative playground designs, for bringing the winning submission to life!

Main Street Enhanced Sidewalk Project Phase 1 Is Open!

We are excited to announce the successful completion and grand opening of Phase 1 of the Main Street Enhanced Sidewalk Project! This project marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to enhance connectivity and promote alternative modes of transportation within our community.

The newly opened pathway stretches from Rogers Bridge Road to just shy of Peachtree Industrial Blvd, providing residents and visitors with a safe and spacious 10-foot walking path. Designed to accommodate pedestrians, joggers, and cyclists alike, this addition to our city’s infrastructure is a testament to our commitment to creating a more walkable and bike-friendly environment.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was attended by Mayor Whitlock, Council Member Manfred Graeder, Council Member Shenèe Johnson Holloway, Council Member Marline Thomas, City Staff, and project managers, was hosted on the new pathway on February 1, 2024. As giant scissors sliced through the ribbon, symbolizing the official opening of the pathway, we celebrated not just the completion of Phase 1, but also the promise of enhanced connectivity and community engagement.

Phase II of the Main Street Enhanced Sidewalk Project is already underway, with plans to connect Brock Road to Rogers Bridge Road. Over the next 12-18 months, we will continue to work diligently to bring this vision to fruition, ensuring that every corner of our city is accessible and connected.

We invite you to join us in celebrating this exciting milestone and to explore the newly opened pathway for yourself. Together, let’s walk, jog, and cycle towards a healthier, more vibrant Duluth.


Former Duluth Mayor Harris Officially Passes the Gavel

With the ceremonial passing of the mayoral gavel, Duluth bids a fond farewell to Mayor Nancy Harris. The gavel, a symbol of her leadership, holds a unique history, adorned with chew marks from Duluth’s first dog Mayor, Shiner. Its base bears the engraved words “Presented in Recognition of Mayor Nancy Harris’s 16 Years of Exemplary Service to the City of Duluth. May this Gavel Serve as a Symbol of Appreciation for Your Leadership, Echoing Your Legacy in the Hearts of Our Community.” As we honor her impactful legacy, we also welcome newly elected Mayor Greg Whitlock and Councilmember Shenee Johnson Holloway and re-elected Councilmember Manfred Graeder, who will usher in a new era for our vibrant community, alongside Councilmember Jamin Harkness, Councilmember Marline Thomas, and Councilmember Lamar Doss.

The Legacy Left by Mayor Nancy Harris

As Mayor Nancy Harris concludes her 16-year tenure in Duluth, the City of Duluth wants to share gratitude for a leader who not only helped shape the city’s physical landscape but also nurtured a strong sense of community and creativity. As a lifelong resident of Duluth, Mayor Harris witnessed significant changes and growth in her beloved city, and her impact resonates in every corner.

When Mayor Harris first entered office in 2007, she set out with a vision centered on preservation, a promise that would guide her through four terms of unwavering dedication to Duluth’s quality growth. Under her leadership, the city experienced transformative construction projects, including Parsons Alley, Sugarloaf Marketplace, District at Duluth, George Rogers Ave, Willbrooke Pocket Park, Courtyard by Marriott, Rogers Bridge Park with the new Pedestrian Bridge, the Davenport Intersection, and the new astroturf Activity Lawn, among others. These developments reshaped Duluth and preserved its historic charm while embracing progress.

Mayor Harris, an avid lover of the arts, championed creativity, fostering a vibrant artistic scene in Duluth. Under Nancy’s guidance, the city became home to various public art installations like “The Phoenix,” “Melody Lane,” “Dream Big,” “Ascension,” “Meet me on Main,” and “The Shape of Time & Water,” adding a touch of inspiration to the community’s visual landscape. She is also the mastermind behind the colorful crickets that you have spotted around Duluth.

However, Mayor Harris’ impact extended far beyond physical development. Her enthusiastic connection with the community set her apart as a leader who genuinely cared. She was often found engaging with the community at local events, fostering the love of art through the establishment of the Duluth Fine Arts League (DFAL), supporting local businesses by being front and center at countless groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings and grand openings, mentoring our youth through the Student L.E.A.D. program, and keeping the public informed through regular public meetings like the annual “Be Duluth Show” and the quarterly civic meeting “Connect Duluth”.

Mayor Harris’ creative spirit is unmatched! Over the years, she found many unique ways to connect with her constituents. From the unforgettable “Carpool Karaoke,” where she harmonized with CBS Sports Broadcaster Brad Nessler, local musicians Banks & Shane, and Owner/Operator of EOP Presents, Eddie Owen, to the hilariously informative “Undercover Mayor” series, where Harris offered residents a behind-the-scenes peek into the city’s workings. And let us not forget that Harris was the first to introduce us to DeeDee, Duluth’s beloved “Chicken of Tomorrow” mascot!

Duluth’s appreciation for Mayor Harris’ leadership extends beyond its borders. Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson expresses her admiration, stating, “I find it both an honor and a privilege to pay tribute to a remarkable leader whose influence has left an indelible mark on not only my personal and professional journey but an entire city and future generations.” She emphasizes Mayor Harris’ transparency, inclusivity, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

Owner/Operator of Eddie Owen Presents at the Red Clay Music Foundry, Eddie Owen, is often heard referring to our little corner of the world as “Undeniably Beautiful Downtown Duluth” and he attributes much of that to Nancy’s leadership. “In 2011, the Duluth Downtown Development Authority (DDA) approached me about the Main Street theatre. While my initial impression was that it needed a lot of love, meeting Mayor Nancy Harris, Ms. Katheryn Willis, and Chris McGahee convinced me they had a vision for the city’s growth. Nancy’s leadership, especially evident in the Town Green infrastructure, inspired my involvement,” said Owen.

Principal at Duluth High School, Dr. Eric Davidson, describes Mayor Harris as a true friend and leader, highlighting her motivation to improve the experience of Duluth residents and her role in developing the Duluth Student L.E.A.D program. “Mayor Harris’ visionary leadership has transformed Duluth into a vibrant model for a live-work-play city. This dedication ensures the continuity of the positive changes Mayor Harris has implemented. Her collaboration with Duluth High School, including the Duluth Student L.E.A.D program, reflects her commitment to developing leadership skills in students for the mutual benefit of the city and school. Duluth High School is forever grateful for Mayor Harris’ efforts to improve our city, and we’ve seen a direct correlation between her work and the enhanced experience our students have at school. Thank you, Nancy, for your friendship and all you’ve done for the students of Duluth High School.”

Nick Masino, President and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber, commends Mayor Harris’ visionary leadership, acknowledging the transformative growth achieved under her guidance. “The City of Duluth has undergone transformative growth within the last 16 years thanks to Mayor Harris’ bold and visionary leadership. Creative redevelopments like Parsons Alley, the District, and Courtyard by Marriott are the types of smart economic development initiatives that make Duluth and Gwinnett a world-class place for business and residents. The commitment of Mayor Harris to creating an inclusive and vibrant sense of belonging within the community will be her legacy for years to come. The Gwinnett Chamber applauds her achievements and appreciates her dedication and service to Duluth and the Greater Gwinnett region.”

Randy Meacham, Managing Director of the Gwinnett Municipal Association, shared his perspective on Mayor Harris’ impactful service to the Gwinnett Municipal Association (GwMA). He expressed gratitude for the collaborative and visionary approach Mayor Harris brought to the association during her roles as an executive board member, Vice President, and President. Mayor Harris played a crucial role in fostering unity among Gwinnett Cities during a challenging period, showcasing her as a peacemaker and facilitator. “I so appreciate what Nancy has done for our association, our cities and for me personally. We are going to miss her but are so thankful that she has left her mark on GwMA forever.” Meacham fondly recalled a planning session with Mayor Harris in Norcross, where her keen eye for community development shone through as she envisioned ideas for Duluth’s revival and growth. As Duluth bids farewell to Mayor Harris, her mark on the Gwinnett Municipal Association remains an enduring testament to her collaborative spirit and visionary leadership.

City Manager James Riker reflects on Mayor Harris’ leadership style, emphasizing her clear goals that provided the staff with the freedom to be creative. He applauds Mayor Harris’ embrace of creativity, citing her influence on various initiatives. “Mayor Harris’ leadership is characterized by clarity and well-defined goals. She not only embraces but actively encourages innovation, resulting in initiatives like the revitalization of Taylor Park, the architectural charm of Parsons Alley, and the historically influenced design of the new Duluth library. Her commitment to fostering a creative environment has allowed our staff the freedom to innovate in all departments.”

Incoming mayor Greg Whitlock speaks to Mayor Harris’s leadership style, describing her as a servant leader who addresses tough issues with a clear vision.I have worked with Nancy as Mayor for 16 years. She has proven herself as a servant leader through addressing tough issues, creating a vision, collaborating with Council, and including the community. Her visions and fun personality can be seen throughout the City, which prospers more today because of her.”

As Duluth bids farewell to Mayor Nancy Harris, the echoes of her leadership will continue to resonate in the city’s vibrant developments, artistic expressions, community engagement, and a legacy of inclusive and visionary governance.

Looking Ahead

The City of Duluth is excited to welcome Mayor Greg Whitlock as he steps into the role following the retirement of Mayor Nancy Harris. With over 20 years of residence in Duluth and a proven track record of service on the City Council, Mayor Whitlock brings a deep commitment to the community and a wealth of experience. His passion for Duluth’s future, coupled with his active engagement in civic, faith, and business realms, positions him well to lead the city into its next chapter of growth.

Additionally, the City of Duluth is proud to introduce the newly elected Councilmember for Post 5, Shenee Johnson Holloway. A dedicated long-time resident of Duluth, Councilmember Johnson Holloway has demonstrated her commitment to community building through her extensive involvement in various roles, including serving on the City of Duluth Planning Commission and the City of Duluth Board of Ethics. With a background in education and a strong focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, Councilwoman Johnson Holloway is poised to contribute fresh perspectives and positive change to our city. Duluth eagerly anticipates the collaborative efforts and innovative leadership that Mayor Whitlock and Councilwoman Johnson-Holloway will bring to enhance the quality of life for all residents.

Cookies & Cocoa with Santa


The Duluth Amnesty Program Returns

The City of Duluth Amnesty Program is back! Starting January 8, 2024, if you or someone you know has been living with the weight of FTA warrants or FTA license suspensions, this is a great opportunity to get those taken care of. The program is designed to help individuals resolve their outstanding fines and legal matters by providing options to either pay fines or schedule a court appearance before a judge dispose of their case. Please note: some citations require a mandatory court appearance.

To participate, you can:

  • Visit the Duluth Municipal Court at 3276 Buford Highway,
  • Call 770.623.2771
  • Email amnesty@duluthga.net.

Don’t let the past hold you back – seize this opportunity to make things right and start afresh. The City of Duluth is here to support its community members on their journey to a brighter and more secure future. This program will run through April 30, 2024.

Duluth Dog of the Month: Scooter

Can we hear a round of a-paws for November’s Dog of the Month: Scooter!

Scooter’s humans said he “is a 1-year-old Goldendoodle who absolutely loves playing tug-of-war, eating, and watching doggy YouTube videos. Most importantly, he adores sitting next to his owner all day while she studies for her medical school board exams!” Sounds like if you see this good boy around town you should stop and give him a pet!

For his dedication to helping keep our waterways clean and local ecosystems intact, @tiger_tails_animal_hospital has partnered with us to offer a great prize pack to our Dog of the Month.

Take the pledge and your pup (or pups) may just be featured as our next Dog of the Month!