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Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday North Dah-KOOOO-tah. (breath!) Haaappy Birrrthday too Yooooouuuuu!
North Dakota turned 123 years old today having achieved statehood on November 2, 1989. It is ranked as the 39th U.S. State by entry into the Union, however the exact number is a secret simply because Benjamin Harrison signed the documents in the blind and it was never disclosed which of the two Dakotas is the senior state. North Dakota claims the earlier ranking as the 39th State because of alphabetical order, but secretly we’re sure we were first.
To celebrate this momentous occasion for the state we love, the Ambassadors Program and the North Dakota Department of Commerce is launching, LuvND.com, an interactive site celebrating North Dakota’s 123rd birthday. The site features 123 ways to explore the state, one for each year of statehood. The activities featured act as a virtual bucket list for those looking for North Dakota experiences.
You’ll likely find many activities that you can say “I’ve done that!” But better yet, you’ll find a ton of things that you can add to your “must do’ in North Dakota list.
A sampling of the activities listed includes:
- Have a grinder at the Red Pepper in Grand Forks – named one of Esquire’s best places for late-night food.
- Climb North Dakota’s highest point – White Butte (Elevation 3506′) near Amidon.
- Visit North Dakota’s version of Stone Henge - Mystical Horizons near Bottineau.
- Participate in a grape stomp at Red Trail Vineyard in Buffalo.
The site also features a downloadable list so you can check off what you’ve accomplished. Visit the site at LuvND.com and be sure to share your favorites on Facebook or Twitter. We invite you to add to the list on Twitter by using the #LuvND hashtag in your posts.
Happy Birthday North Dakota … you still look as good as the day you entered the Union!
It has been such a fun summer in North Dakota, we’ve been out enjoying our beautiful state … unfortunately, we haven’t blogged in over a month. Shame on us. Now that we’ve satisfied our Catholic/Lutheran guilt, here’s some ways for you to get out and enjoy our state through these great events and happenings.
Late July is red, white and blue in North Dakota
What’s more red, white and blue than a state fair? The North Dakota State Fair is back and better than ever with concerts, contests and the greatest fair fare. Fargo and Grand Forks host blues events and the Red River is the site of fishing tournaments. To find more information about these activities, and for a complete list of events, go to NDtourism.com or call 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525.
Plane Fun! Hillsboro Fly-In
Fly-ins are opportunities for pilots to fly-in and neighbors to drive-in and enjoy a meal together. The burgers will be good. But up-close access to the variety of airplanes is legendary. www.ndac.aero/events.htm; 701-328-9653
Fargo’s Downtown Street Fair
Stroll through blocks of outdoor booths selling handmade arts and crafts. Enjoy awesome food and great entertainment in historic downtown Fargo. www.fmdowntown.com; 701-241-1570
15th annual Drayton Riverfest
There is something for everyone on the banks of the Red River, including food, music, parade, fireworks, Supper at the Soddy at 5 p.m. at Blessing Square, science exploration activities, mud volleyball, motorcycle run and more. www.draytonnd.com; 701-454-3474
37th annual North Dakota Governor’s Cup Walleye Derby
A total of 252 teams race out onto Lake Sakakawea for the 37th annual derby. After two days of fishing, they return for weigh-ins to see who’s going to be crowned champions. The Governor’s Cup for ages 17 and under is July 21. www.ndgovernorscup.com; 800-799-4242 or 701-337-5576
Christmas in July
Icelandic State Park, near Cavalier
Christmas is coming early to Icelandic State Park where campers decorate their campsites for Christmas. Also enjoy the kids’ bike parade and evening entertainment. www.parkrec.nd.gov; 701-265-4561
There’s something for everyone including dances, children’s games, canoe races, barbecues, golf tournament, bingo, aerial show, dessert bake-off, and parade. www.mcville.com; 701-322-4343
Vinnie’s Mud Bog
Time to get down and dirty with mud pits open for trucks and ATVs. Competition obstacle courses will be set up for four-wheel-drives and two-wheel-drives. www.vinniesmudbog.com; 701-640-0441
North Dakota State Fair
The North Dakota State Fair returns with a stellar concert lineup to include Kid Rock, Zac Brown Band, Blake Shelton, and Foreigner to name a few. Take part in the exciting midway games, ag shows, action-packed NPRA rodeo and, of course, unbeatable fair food. www.ndstatefair.com; 701-857-7620
Art and Wine Walk
Stroll the downtown area and sample an assortment of fine wines while viewing great works by talented regional artists. http://www.visitgrandforks.com/event-calendar/art-wine-walk-2012; 701-746-0444
Family Rocket Day
Gateway to Science staff will help you build and launch your very own rockets while you watch the rocket launches of professional rocketeers. http://gatewaytoscience.org/; 701-258-1975
Rod and Reel Rally Catfishing Tournament
Anglers compete in the Red River of the North’s only whopper catfishing tournament and have a chance to cash in a $30,000 bonus for breaking the North Dakota state channel catfish record. www.draytonnd.com/AnnualEvents/RodReelRally/tabid/774/Default.aspx; 701-454-6184
10th annual Praise on the Prairie Music Festival
Bring a chair and a tent and enjoy several genres of music, including Christian rock (Thursday night), country and gospel music (Friday and Saturday). Concessions and canopies for shade provided. www.praiseontheprairie.com; 701-870-4584
Old Fashioned Saturday
Spend the weekend enjoying a parade, concerts and street dance, demolition derby, craft show, games, golf tournaments, water carnival, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, car show and 5-K walk and run. www.discovernorthwood.com/news.htm; 701-587-5370
Halloween in July
Everyone is encouraged to bring costumes and candy, decorate campsites and participate in all of Lake Metigoshe State Park’s spooky events. www.parkrec.nd.gov/parks/lmsp/lmsp.html; 701-263-3281Bottom of Form
Fargo Blues Festival
Don’t miss any of the 12-band blues explosion featuring world-class bands, great food and plenty of beverages on the grass at Newman Outdoor Field. http://www.fargobluesfest.com/; 218-287-7775
The band “Firehouse” headlines this two-day community festival that also includes a golf tournament. http://finleynd.com/finley-days/; 701-524-1680
Taylor Horsefest and Musical
It’s all about horses. Events include demonstrations, parade, musical and cowboy poetry, entertainment and food booths. www.taylorhorsefest.com/events.htm; 877-757-7545 or 701-974-4210
Celebrate the area’s strong Ukrainian heritage with music, Ukrainian dancers, food and activities. http://ucitoday.org/VYTAIEMO-Welcome.html; 800-279-7391
Blues on the Red
Enjoy an evening of great blues music from some of the top musicians in the country. Vendors will be on site selling pizza, burgers and barbecue. www.visitgrandforks.com; 701-772-8404
Do and Discover
This year’s Do and Discover features historic re-enactors, lunch, Lego building, horse care lessons and old-time photographs. http://www.ellendalend.com/; 701-349-2916
Cats Incredible Catfish Days
Not just a fishing tournament! Top anglers compete while others enjoy a chili cook-off, beer garden, food vendors, live entertainment, games and contests. www.gochamber.org; 701-772-7271
Northern Great Plains Culture Fest
Knife River Indian Villages, Stanton
Learn about the people who first inhabited the area through cultural demonstrations and presentations of the lives of people that lived on the Plains. www.nps.gov/knri; 701-745-3300
These are just a few of North Dakota activities and events taking place in late July. For more information, go to NDTourism.com or phone 701-328-2525 or 800-435-5663.
Guest Blog from ND Tourism: www.LegendaryND.wordpress.com.
It’s almost Memorial Weekend which means, for most people, a nice three-day weekend. Last year our Memorial Weekend update included information about flooding and closures. This year we’re happy to say – Missouri River boat ramps are open! All 18-holes of Bully Pulpit Golf Course are open! Campgrounds in the Badlands are open! The Dakota Zoo is open! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for fun experiences you can enjoy this weekend and all summer long in North Dakota.
Looking for some North Dakota travel tips? Be sure to pick up an official North Dakota Travel Guide and state map. They’re free and if you don’t already have one you can pick them up at rest areas or order online and we’ll mail them to you. Check your routes online with the ND Dept. of Transportation. A travel information map will alert you to any road closures or construction.
Here are a few events from our weekend calendar and you can find many more at www.NDtourism.com.
- Memorial Day is Military Appreciation Day in all North Dakota State Parks which means free admission for veterans and current service members.
- The Sky Dance Sakakawea kite festival will take place at Fort Stevenson State Park – May 26-28
- How about a Wild West Shootout? It goes down at 3 p.m. on Monday in the Frontier Village in Jamestown
- Kick back with some cowboy poetry, May 26 in Medora
Memorial Day services are held in communities around the state. One of the most notable takes place in Sherwood where veterans from the U.S. and Canada exchange flags at the International Boundary. A program and parade will follow with North Dakota’s Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley as keynote speaker.
A friend of ours was recently inspired after attending a freelance writer’s conference to create her own North Dakota Bucket List. We created a bucket list once, but we think we may not have understood the concept at the time.
She, much like many of our Ambassadors, loves North Dakota and was shocked by how many times she hears about new places to go and visit even after living in the state her entire life. We liked the list so much we thought we’d encourage you to think about your North Dakota bucket list. Check out her list below and for the full skinny – and we mean skinny, as she is normally a fitness and healthy food blogger – visit her at www.donteatcrapblog.com.
North Dakota Bucket List ala Brianna Strahm (AKA @donteatcrap)
- Drive through Teddy Roosevelt National Park to pet the buffalo and experience the Medora Musical (again!) (Editor’s Note: We strongly advise against petting buffalo.)
- Bike or Hike “part” of the 100 mile Maah Daah Hey Trail
- Go sailing on Lake Sakakawea
- Kayaking or canoeing on the Pembina River
- Catch a walleye in Devils Lake
- Go to a UND Hockey Game at the Ralph Engelstad
- Take a picture with the Worlds Largest Buffalo (again!)
- Drive down the Enchanted Highway
- Visit the Rock Museum in Parshall
- Visit the Wood Chipper in Fargo
- Walk across the Fairview Bridge
- Visit Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach
- Eat at the Pitchfork Fondue in Medora
- Eat Juneberry Pie at Lunds Landing in Ray
- Sample a dessert from Nicole’s Fine Pastry in Fargo
- Eat Chippers from Widmans in Grand Forks (again!)
- Visit the Albino Buffalo in Jamestown (sorta again!)
- Ride a sled being pulled by an ATV at Papa’s Polar Patch
- Stay at the Hotel Donaldson in Fargo
- Experience Norsk Hostfest in Minot
- Participate in a grape stomp at the Red Trail Vineyard in Buffalo
Now for the BIG question … what would you add to the list?
The winter-that-kind-of-wasn’t in North Dakota has allowed, even, encouraged us to play outdoors. To prove North Dakota still has plenty to do indoors, we’re challenging you to take a break from hiking, biking and fishing this April to experience a few indoor events guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
The Blue Man Group will be performing at the Fargodome on Tuesday, April 3. If you aren’t familiar with this wildly popular group, they are well-known for their combination of comedy, music, technology and starkly blue faces. The Blue Man Group show has been described as intensely exciting, outrageous, and one that leaves the audience in a blissful, euphoric state. And, who doesn’t love euphoria?! With no spoken language, Blue Man Group is perfect for people of all languages, and cultures.
Crafters and art fans unite! The 21st annual Minot Spring Show will be held April 13-14 at the North Dakota State Fair and includes more than 250 booths showcasing products hand-made from across the U.S. If you can’t make it to Minot, head to Hazen for their Art Show April 28-29. The weekend will be filled with demonstrations, entertainment and viewing of artwork in a variety of categories and hosted by the Hazen Arts and Crafts Association.
Ready to rev up those engines? Grand Forks is the place to be April 14 – 15 for both motorcycle and car enthusiasts. The Red River Valley Motorcycle Show held at the Alerus Center is one of the region’s largest gatherings of motorcycles and will showcase some of the best classic and modern bikes. You also have a chance to win a custom 2012 Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle! For the car lovers, the 30th annual Prime Steel Car Show will be on tap at the Purpur/Gambucci Arenas featuring some amazing classic cars, hot rods, muscle cars & antiques.
Love opera? Then head to Fargo to experience Beethoven’s one and only opera, Fidelio premiering April 13 and 15 at Festival Concert Hall at NDSU. Hear and see the story of mistaken identity, love that conquers all and a final chorus that never fails to bring the audience to its feet. Wrapping up the list for those enjoying musical entertainment is the “Big Sing” in Jamestown April 28-29. This annual gathering of over 300 men from 12 choruses is sure to get toes tapping.
Greek letter (), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th. Pi = 3.1415926535 … (which has been calculated out to the trillionth digit by some super computer somewhere).
Math enthusiast or not, who wouldn’t want to celebrate a day so obscure and with the fortunate name of Pi? Any what might the best way to celebrate be … you guessed it, eating pie. Of course North Dakota has some excellent options to celebrate, whether at your mom’s countertop at one of the many local diners across the state.
So get out there and celebrate North Dakota, by eating pie in honor of Pi Day. Need a few ideas for great destinations for mouth-watering pie in North Dakota? We recommend (with a watering mouth and a hankering for diner coffee): Tower City Café – Tower City, Lewis and Clark Café – Washburn, Lunds Landing in Ray – Juneberry Pie, Little Cottage Cafe – Bismarck, and Webo’s Café in Linton.
This Ambassador is celebrating by fondly viewing my Pi plate (yes, it is awesome) and hoping my mother shows up with one of her homemade pies (Sweet Nordic gods, let it be apple … or wonder berry … or sour cream raisin … or rhubarb …).
With the launch of North Dakota’s new tourism campaign earlier this week, came distinct attention around one ad. The ad, which depicted a girls-night out on the town, caused a bit of a social media stir yesterday when it became widely shared and commented on.
We support North Dakota Tourism’s efforts to promote our state’s nightlife and fun atmosphere and think their response is worth reading: http://legendarynd.wordpress.com/
Sometimes even the best, well-intentioned things can be misinterpreted. It is the beauty of us all having our own opinion. As an Ambassador of North Dakota, whether you like the ad or not, I know we can all agree that North Dakota is still a fun place to have an evening out.
It’s been an amazing December and now we are just a few short hours from the holidays. North Dakota Ambassadors have many things that remind them of the holidays. There are sights, sounds, smells and memories that come rushing back for all of us when we think of our North Dakota Christmases.
With that in mind, we’re curious if you can help us finish an important sentence this year. Please leave your memories and Christmas stories in the comments below for all of us to enjoy and remember. Oh, and most importantly, holiday blessings and joys to each of you! Thanks for making North Dakota a great place to live, play and work!
You know it’s a North Dakota Christmas when … ____________________________.
Take time to connect with family and friends this holiday season. Musical performances, a Santa fly-in, and good old-fashioned Christmas activities are just some of the ways you can bring everyone together to make this time special in North Dakota. To find more information about these events, or for a complete list of December activities, go to NDTourism.com or call 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525
Moonlight Madness and Fish Fry
Masons will serve their fantastic fish at 4:30. There is fun for the whole family and stores will be offering snacks and specials. Join in the fun and get some of your Christmas shopping done while you stroll downtown Cavalier. www.ndtourism.com/whatdo/events/festival-details.asp?AID=4214; 701-265-8898.
Sanders Family Christmas
Sit back and enjoy the hilarious Yule tide stories while laughing, clapping and singing along with bluegrass Christmas favorites in this sequel to the ever popular New York hit Smoke on the Mountain. Shows begin nightly at 7:30 with two performances on Sunday. www.dprca.com/; 701-947-2174
16th annual Medora’s Old Fashioned Cowboy Christmas
Cowboys and cowgirls of all ages come together for the 16th annual event. Activities include a veterans memorial service, wreath ceremony and parade of lights, Charlie’s Ghost Story – an original Medora production, kids games, sleigh and hay rides, cowboy snow sculpting, musical entertainment, eats on the street, cowboy poetry and fireworks display. www.medorandchamber.com/; 701-623-4910.
Christmas on the Prairie
This annual event at Bonanzaville shares the pioneer Christmas traditions of music, crafts and good cheer. Highlights include sleigh rides, a silent auction, Christmas carolers, a chili feed and lots of activities for the kids. The event is from 1:00-7:00. www.bonanzaville.com/; 701-282-2822
Dakota Air: The Radio Show – The Christmas Show
Dakota Air will have two Christmas shows at the Fargo Theatre, with the 1 p.m. performance for kids featuring sing-alongs and original stories. The second show at 7 p.m. will be a unique Christmas performance in old-fashioned radio-show format featuring “Darin Henze & Friends,” Dakota Harmony Men’s Chorus and Harley Sommerfeld. www.dakotaairtheradioshow.com; 1-800-514-3849
Old Fashioned Christmas
Head to Drayton where the entire community prepares for the Christmas season with a live nativity, sleigh rides, Tree of Light Memorial, Souper Supper, music and merchant promotions. www.draytonnd.com; 701-454-3434
December 3, 10, and 17
Santa will fly in to visit with children and their families at the Fargo Air Museum, and his elves will be on hand to give tours. Santa’s arrival time is noon. www.fargoairmuseum.org; 701-293-8043.
2011 State Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Join Governor Jack Dalrymple and First Lady Betsy Dalrymple in the Memorial Hall of the Capitol Building at 5 p.m. for the lighting of the state Christmas tree. An “Angel” theme was chosen to offer sincere thanks to those “angels” who helped during this year’s statewide floods. Entertainment provided by Joel Gilbertson, Central Dakota Children’s Choir and Suzuki Strings. www.nd.gov/arts/; 701-328-7590
Join Northern Plains Dance on an enchanted journey with Clara and her Nutcracker prince on a magical night long, long ago. This Christmas classic delights audiences young and old. www.northernplainsdance.org/; 701-530-0986.
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
Hankinson, Enderlin, Harvey, Minot, Carpio
Lighted Canadian Pacific Train rolls through North Dakota with stops in several North Dakota towns. On-board musical entertainment at each stop. The train’s planned stops are as follows: December 15 – Hankinson 6:45 p.m. and Enderlin 9:30 p.m., December 16 – Harvey 4:15 p.m., Minot 7:15 p.m., and Carpio at 9:10 p.m. Exact locations can be found at www.cpr.ca/EN/IN-YOUR-COMMUNITY/HOLIDAY-TRAIN/Pages/default.aspx.
Lori Line and her Fab Five
December 17: Grand Forks
December 18: Fargo
December 19: Minot
December 20: Bismarck
Enjoy this traditional holiday show that invites audience participation with the theme, “Christmas Bells are Ringing,” which promises to please both old and new Lorie Line fans alike. www.lorieline.com; 800-801-5463
Cross Ranch State Park, Center
Take winter to the extreme and participate in Cross Ranch’s extreme outdoor Winter Olympics. Competitive events to include snow volleyball, tug of war, and cross country ski/snow shoe relays. Open to teams of four. Equipment provided. www.parkrec.nd.gov; 701-328-5357
Instead I’m returning to the North Dakota snow of my childhood. The kind that brings rampant excitement and frankly, abject disappointment when the weather man says “snow tonight” and you wake up to find none.
To often, North Dakota gets saddled with the it’s “cold and snowy,” like it is a bad thing. Honestly, it isn’t bad at all, it is simply a reality of our position on the Earth. We do not live on the equator, in fact, we live in a place where four seasons is a given. Winter, spring, summer and fall arrive every year, each with some amazing opportunities for recreation and fun. And, all have a few things that we can complain about. Why? For the same reason everyone complains: Because we can.
Sometimes, I think we complain more about winter because it’s an easy victim. However, whenever I challenge people to remember something fun about winter, they often go back to their childhoods. Those were the days when winter meant snow angels and forts, family snowball fights and school snow days, none of which felt like work or cold.
So this year, I’m building more forts and making more snowballs. For the first snow accumulation and all those after I am making a snow angel. I’m remembering the wintry North Dakota from my childhood when sledding was my job and shovels were for building forts.
Remember when your mother used to yell at you for going out when it was 20 below and getting your ears so red they could have called you Rudolph, and you didn’t care. Why? Because the simple joy of winter had too much pull.
North Dakota covered in snow called to us as children. It begged us to come and play, to build, create, explore, laugh and enjoy the beauty that is winter.
It calls you now. Do you hear it, or have you chosen not to listen?