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It's official: The world's largest Viking ship won't be coming to Duluth

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Despite fundraising efforts, the world's largest Viking ship won't be coming to Duluth for the Tall Ships festival.

The Draken Harald Hårfagre sailed across the ocean from Norway just fine, but the unexpected fee for a professional pilot to guide the vessel through the lakes was too high for the nonprofit to afford – likely hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Draken didn't think it would make it to any of its planned stops on her Great Lakes voyage, but after some valiant fundraising efforts and a reduced piloting fee, she'll make it all the way to Green Bay for this weekend's Tall Ships event there.

Unfortunately, her voyage won't include a stop at the Tall Ships Duluth festival like initially planned, the Draken announced Thursday.

"Even with this significant reduction in cost, we have not been able to raise enough funds to complete our entire expedition," the announcement says, noting from Green Bay, she'll make her way out of the Great Lakes, with plans to visit New York in mid-September.

The Draken crew says they're "very sad not to sail all the way to Duluth," noting it is "one of the stops where the Scandinavian communities has been the strongest and most involved with promoting and engaging in our ship from the very beginning, and it is a disappointment not to be able to sail all the way."

Tall Ships Duluth released a statement saying it is disappointed the Draken won't be attending the Aug. 18-21 festival, adding:

"Our team at Tall Ships Duluth and the Duluth community did everything in our power to assist the ship in coming to Duluth, but the circumstances leading to the ship's decision were out of our control."

The Draken was expected to be one of the highlights of the Tall Ships Duluth festival, but organizers note there will be many other attractions. Click here for a list of other ships attending the event, including a replica 16th- and 17th- century Spanish ship and the world's largest rubber duck.

For more information on Tall Ships Duluth, click here.

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