Lake Superior Welcomes World’s Largest Rubber Duck And Other Tall Vessels

Most, if not all, of us have, at at least one point in our lives, been struck with an unshakable desire to see a very, very tall vinyl duck. Usually, this desire goes unfulfilled, but it was announced yesterday that this August, all those willing to make the pilgrimage to Lake Superior’s Tall Ships Festival will be able to sate their mind’s hunger for larger-than-life fowl. Yes, it’s true: the world’s largest rubber duck is joining other floating attractions at Lake Superior’s Tall Ships Festival, which will be held in Duluth, Minnesota, on August 18-21.

Mama Duck, as the 61-foot-tall, 22,000-pound rubber duck coming to Lake Superior is named, has been on display in aquatic festivals and parades in cities all over the world, from Tokyo, Japan, to Sao Paolo, Brazil, to Amsterdam, the home of the rubber sculpture’s original creator. It has also visited a few American locations, such as the Deleware River and the New York Harbor, and now it is Lake Superior’s turn.

Lake Superior will welcome Mama Duck, the Biggest Rubber Duck in the World
Big Mama at the Summer Palace in Beijing, China. [Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images]
Mama Duck’s inclusion in Lake Superior’s Tall Ships Festival will be good for visitors’ minds as well as their souls, says Craig Samborski, the Tall Ship festival’s executive producer.

“It’s really a fantastic complement to the Tall Ships. The World’s Largest Rubber Duck inspires us to enjoy the world’s waterfronts and conserve our natural resources for future ducklings,” Samborski said.

The Tall Ships Festival is not new to the lake; it has already graced Superior’s waters in 2008, 2010, and 2013, attracting about 250,000 visitors each time, and it has come to be known as “The Greatest Spectacle on Lake Superior.”

As it has in the past, the festival will also see a number of warship, yacht, and schooner replicas, from ancient Viking war vessels to modern battleships, floating on Lake Superior’s waters. Surrounding Lake Superior’s shores will be local food and beverage sales, live music, and other entertainment, and free workshops.

But this is the first time the giant prefabricated yellow bird has been a part of the festivities, which will, reports agree, elevate the Lake Superior event to a whole new level.

Lake Superior will welcome Mama Duck, the Biggest Rubber Duck in the World
[Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images]
Don’t tell anyone, but the Mama Duck that will appear in Deluth is not actually the same one as the original model created by Florentijn Hofman in the Netherlands. Actually, the American iteration of the duck, although it is an identical replica of Hofman’s design, was created by Samborski, who has coordinated the Tall Ships Festival in multiple locations before Lake Superior, including San Francisco and Long Island.

Samborski says he created the “world’s largest duck” on “somewhat of a dare,” and was aware at the time of its conception that Mama was a gamble.

“I knew it was gong to be either really smart or really dumb, and thank goodness it worked out to be really smart.”

Indeed, Samborski’s addition of the world’s largest duck into his Tall Ships Festival lineup has been a raging success with customers, inspiring legions of selfies, retweets, and shares from sea to shining sea.

Lake Superior will welcome Mama Duck, the Biggest Rubber Duck in the World
An exhibit from the Tall Ships Festival sailing into Chicago. [Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images]
In different cities, the duck has represented different causes, such as environmental conservation or child drowning prevention.

“She’s a great, iconic symbol, to bring out some simple messages,” Samborski explained to Minnesota’s Star Tribune. “Isn’t it great that our waterfronts are here, we should use them and use them responsibly.”

Now that Samborski is bringing Mama Duck to Lake Superior in Duluth, his hometown, who knows what last-minute surprises he may have up his sleeve?

Tickets to Duluth’s Tall Ships Festival start at $9, and fast pass upgrades, which will allow visitors to bypass lines for attractions, are available.

For more information about the Lake Superior festivities and the World’s Largest Rubber Duck, visit or Mama Duck’s Facebook page.

[Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images]

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