Scandinavian Hjemkomst and Midwest Viking Festival

No matter your heritage, you can take satisfaction that if you traced your lineage back far enough you would have to be related to some fearsome warrior. If you are Italian, a legionnaire decorates a branch of your family tree; If you are Irish, then you share blood with a fearsome gallowglass who poleaxed his fair share of whomever looked at him funny. If you’re Norwegian, then you’re especially lucky, because nothing captures the imagination quite like a blonde bearded behemoth heaving around a three foot long Ulfberht sword like it was made out of mattress ticking does.

Down Dog Studio

My parents’ laid back approach to dog ownership meant that none of the dogs I grew up with had received any training. This let them be themselves, for better or for worse. Our black and tan hound dog Molly, who otherwise had the demeanor of a Xanaxed school librarian, cherished a passionate hatred for garter snakes which she expressed by decapitating them in droves. Max, a heap of a German Shepherd who thought nothing of once attacking a bear, was so terrified of little girls that he ceased to be able to function whenever he met one. Had our home ever been invaded by little girls they’d have been able to make off with whatever they liked. Their current dog, Lily, a lesser heap of a German Shepherd, is sweet as sugar to people, but is also of sound belief that any dog who isn’t her deserves only to be bitten as hard as she can bite.

Mylo Hatzenbuhler

Suppose that a big, sweet, and not altogether glowingly bright North Dakotan farmboy somehow got it into his head that he is destined to become the next Elvis Presley, but, falling short of convincing the world that mud spattered overalls are the next sequined jumpsuit, he became North Dakota’s answer to Weird Al Yankovic instead — a German Allan Sherman, if you will. This is Mylo Hatzenbuhler, “The Strasburg Superstar,” “a man of the soil transformed into a rock music icon” whose musical parodies about cows, chickens, and the eternal struggle twixt buffet and waistband have delighted hayseeds and city slickers alike throughout the country.

Dakota Zoo

How much poorer would the world be without its zoos? Until we had the clever idea to house animals from all over the globe in one place, only the most intrepid hunters and explorers had any hope of seeing a wolf, a tiger, and a scarlet macaw in one lifetime, let alone an afternoon. Not since Noah’s day had so many creatures been available for viewing all at once — and even then the sight was only available to a very select few.

Mees Physical Therapy

Empathy and enthusiasm — these are the two most important qualifications that a physical therapist can have, and if you looked up either in the dictionary a picture of Missy Mees would smile right back at you. Missy devastated one of her legs during a game of basketball when she was a teenager, so she knows firsthand the kind of pain that her patients suffer from. That she spent so great a part of her younger years receiving physical therapy would also lead her to love the practice entirely. A local lady, Missy studied physical therapy at University of Mary and went on to hone her skills in rural North Dakota. Seventeen years later she is now the proprietor of Mees Physical Therapy, the place to go when you’ve “earned” your injury, whether through hard work or hard play, and deserve just as much to get better.

Minnesota Helicopters

Young men have often found inspiration in the things they have seen in the sky. John James Audubon was thrilled by the birds flying over his head during his childhood in Haiti, and went on to become the United States’ preeminent ornithologist. Homer Hickam’s revelation at Sputnik soaring above his home in 1957 would lead him to work as an engineer for NASA. In that tradition, when a five year old Chris Webb looked up from playing in his backyard one day to see a helicopter, he knew that helicopters and only helicopters must be the thing.