Get moving at StreetsAlive!

Communities that are active are more vibrant, productive and healthy. This is the basis behind Dakota Medical Foundation’s “StreetsAlive!”, a free event that celebrates the joy of walking, running, biking, skating or strolling down an open street. An area will be blocked off, and a course set up throughout downtown Fargo-Moorhead on Sunday, Sept. 25 from noon-5 p.m., with activities, vendors, food, art, music and entertainment along the way.

StreetsAlive! began in the Fargo-Moorhead area in 2010 and has gotten bigger and better every year. About 13,000 people attended the two events that were held in 2015. With a third event this year, Sara Watson Curry, Director of Operations for Great Rides Fargo, who organizes the event, hopes for an even better turnout. “Open street festivals are becoming more and more common,” she said. People are also realizing the benefits of going car-free and spending more time being active outdoors. “We’re really focused on putting our best foot forward in health,” she said.

A number of community groups, sports teams, non-profits, and organizations make sure a good time is had by all along the route. In August, there was a station for tumbling and gymnastics, a fencing demonstration, obstacle course for off-road biking, a marching band, science projects, fitness classes and more. Participation Parkway went through Memorial Park in Moorhead, while Activity Alley, with events geared toward children, went past the Horace Mann neighborhood. Participants were even encouraged to take a detour off the usual map to head indoors – through the Moorhead Center Mall – to enjoy music and work by area artists.

“I believe we’re the only street festival to incorporate in the indoor element,” Watson Curry said. This allows participants, even more, enjoyment along the way. “We like to have concentrated areas for people to really slow down and interact,” she added.

While the content of the event shifts each time, many of the same groups show up, willing to make a difference in the community. The August event’s theme was about celebrating teamwork in all its forms. In September, StreetsAlive! will focus on building a compassionate and neighborly community. It will be held at the end of Welcoming Week (Sept. 16-25), a national series of events which brings together immigrants and their new U.S. neighbors in a spirit of unity. Watson Curry plans to set up a cultural corner, celebrating dance, sports, and traditions of various countries.

“It’s really important to welcome these new people to the community,” she said.

StreetsAlive! is inspired by a movement called Ciclovía “cycleway”. During Ciclovía in Bogotá, Colombia, where it was originated, huge stretches of highway are closed down every Sunday afternoon and holiday to allow people to move freely without the use of cars or other motorized transportation. These events have been taking place in Bogotá since 1974 and have spurred a people-powered movement all over the country. While StreetsAlive! is the only open street festival in the Fargo-Moorhead area, thousands take place across the world each year.

“The world doesn’t end when you take a break from cars for a while,” Watson Curry said.

If you should go:

What: StreetsAlive!

When: Sunday, Sept. 25 from noon-5 p.m.

Where: Downtown Fargo-Moorhead (see map)

To volunteer: Contact Sara Watson Curry at

For information:


By Kristin Johnson

The Shack on Broadway: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Over twenty years ago, the popular television show Cheers sang about going “where everybody knows your name.” Of course, that show focused on a bar, but they might as well have been talking about Fargo’s The Shack on Broadway. Step foot into the restaurant and you will know exactly what I mean.

The Shack on Broadway began as a Country Kitchen in the 70s. New owners renamed it in 1993 and served the patrons of North Fargo until a brief closing in 2010. In January of 2011, Tanya Bale reopened it, to the delight of customers all over the metro area.

For Bale, the decision to reopen The Shack was easy, but not one without doubts. “I knew what the potential would be for its success, so I just had to take a leap of faith that if I work hard and keep on going, the business would be there,” she explained. “I also wanted to be my own boss and have a business that I can say I’m very proud of building.”

The Shack’s patrons frequent the restaurant for more than the food, although the menu is fabulous. They also come for the atmosphere and sense of home. “We take great pride in having the whole package,” Bale said. “Wonderful servers, comforting food, cozy atmosphere, and great prices.” And comforting food it is.

The restaurant’s award-winning breakfasts are what has people lining up at the door, although the homemade mashed potatoes might be a close second. “We have freshly shredded hash browns, huge caramel and cinnamon rolls, homemade buttermilk pancakes, and fully stuffed omelets,” Bale explained. “We also have homemade mashed potatoes and gravy that go on every one of our freshly sliced hot turkey, pork, or beef roast sandwiches. For those that love old classics, we have liver and onions on our dinner menu and make sour cream raisin pie.”

The Shack is located at 3215 Broadway. One may erroneously think that a restaurant not located in downtown or south Fargo would struggle, but the restaurant’s north Fargo location has never been an issue. “North Fargo has always been a great supporter of all things in this part of Fargo,” Bale said. “I’ve always said, ‘it’s like a small town within the city of Fargo’.”

For Bale, The Shack is about people and providing them with a place “where everybody knows your name.” Indeed, most of the customers are regulars and considered part of The Shack’s family. “The people I get to meet and interact with every day are what makes this a very rewarding career,” she said. “That includes the employees, the customers, and my sales reps that come to see me. I’m surrounded by a lot of wonderful people every day.”

If you have never been to The Shack on Broadway, don’t deprive yourself any longer. “It’s worth the drive to north Fargo, and if the parking lot is full and people are waiting to get in, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get a table,” Bale said. “Most wait times are 15-20 minutes or less, and by the time you drive somewhere else, you’d have a table with us.” Trust me, someone that only recently discovered this hidden gem, it is well worth the wait.

The Shack’s full menu can be obtained at


By Jamee Larson

Vinyl Albums Are Anything but Dead

In 1930, RCA Victor presented the world with its first commercially available long-playing vinyl record. Although the record was largely a bust, it did give the industry an alternative to records made of shellac, or wax. During WWII, when supplies of shellac were limited, Columbia Records revisited the technology. On June 21, 1948, Columbia Records released the first 12” Long-Play (LP) 33 ½ rpm microgroove record. The rest, as they say, is music history.

Although vinyl albums were arguably most popular in the 50s and 60s, they are now enjoying a sort of revival. While some would argue that the appeal of vinyl never waned, the movement to 8-tracks, cassettes, and then CDs hurt the popularity of records. Now that music is largely digital, it would make sense that music lovers have stepped even further away from vinyl. Interestingly, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Matt Oland has been the owner of Fargo’s Orange Records since July of 2007. “At that time there was only one place in Fargo selling new vinyl,” he said. Located in downtown Fargo, Orange Records sells a variety of new and used vinyl, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, posters, stickers/pins/patches, incense, and t-shirts. In other words, if it is music related, it can likely be found in Oland’s store.

For Matt, it’s all about a love for music. When asked about his favorite part of owning a record store, he replied, “Listening to Celtic Frosts’ record ‘Morbid Tales’ on repeat every Tuesday.” His favorite musician/band? That’s not as easy of an answer. “I don’t have just one favorite, but some of them are Shellac, the Murder City Devils, Built to Spill, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, and Hammerhead.

Oland hasn’t witnessed the decline of vinyl and certainly doesn’t believe that vinyl is dead. “If anyone’s saying that it probably reps for iTunes, Spotify, or parents trying to talk their kids out of buying that $30 21 Pilots records,” he said. “It’s a small part of record sales, but vinyl sales keep rising…slowly.”

Further into Fargo, you will come across Vinyl Giant, owned by Aaron Swinkels. Vinyl Giant is the newest player in the area’s retail music scene, having opened its door only a year ago. “We started as a culmination of an antique store and a record store,” he explained. “I’ve always wanted to own a record store and there was enough business for records, so we split. Junk Giant is downtown and this one became Vinyl Giant.”

Swinkels enjoys watching the way people and music interact. “I love the joy music brings. It is medicine for a lot of people,” he said. “I like to watch people smile as they leave.” Aaron would like to invite current and potential customers to follow the store on Facebook in order to become aware of special events and sales. “I’m from Seattle and we have a good record culture that never went away,” he said. “They’re all about the customer there, and I model our store after what I’ve seen growing up out there.”

Vinyl Giant sells anything related to records. “We have approximately 10,000 records; one of the largest selections in town,” Swinkels said. The store also sells styluses, cartridges, cleaning fluid for records, basically, anything necessary to maintain and listen to albums. As if that wasn’t enough, the store also repairs vintage equipment, including anything from the intro to advanced systems. “We are the only place in town that services turntables.”

Like Oland, Swinkels’ taste in music is varied. “I’m a huge Wilco fan and I love Prince,” he said. “I put all of my records into the store except my Prince albums. I have one of the rarest prince albums to exist on display in my store.”

Swinkels also agrees that vinyl is anything but dead. “Sales have surpassed what they were doing in 1984, they can’t print them (records) fast enough,” he said. “The average age of someone in my store is impossible to put your finger on; we see anyone from a 70-year old man to kids on bicycles.” Every dollar Vinyl Giant makes is put back into the store. Swinkels has yet to take any income and says he won’t until the store is what he wants.

Even though digital music has found its way into virtually every home, vinyl records are anything but dead. Step into either Orange Records or Vinyl Giant and you will see what I mean. Tell them the music sent you.


By Jamee Larson

The Store at the Plains Art Museum: Nothing Typical About It

Most of you are probably aware of Fargo’s Plains Art Museum (PAM). The museum dates back to 1965 when it opened its doors in Moorhead as the Red River Art Center. The building acquired its present name in 1975, although it didn’t move to Fargo until 1996. After the renovation of a turn-of-the-century warehouse in downtown Fargo, the museum opened to the public in its new location in October of 1997.

For Visitor Services, Human Resources, and Store Manager Tonya Scott, who has worked at the PAM since 2008, her job is all about recognizing and appreciating the beauty and the artistic process.

“What I love most is to be surrounded by creative people, artists, museum members, and guests,” she said. “Downtown Fargo is a wonderful place to be and the Plains Art Museum brings people and art together.”

The PAM is the largest AAM-Accredited art museum in North Dakota.

“Our attendance is almost 50,000 people a year,” Johnson said. “Each year we have about 12 diverse and high-quality exhibitions and offer dozens of educational programs.” The PAM is also the home of the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity and a modern and unique store.

Even those that are familiar with the PAM may not have spent much time inside the museum’s store, which opened when the museum moved to its current location in Fargo.

“Our mission was to add to our guest museum experience by offering unique artful items in our gift shop,” explained Scott. I know that the term “gift shop” is often associated with overly-priced, low-quality trinkets and other souvenirs, but that is a far cry from anything you will find inside this store.

“The store offers a variety of products to service our unique and creative clientele,” Johnson explained. “The product mix is about 40% local and regional artists and makers and the other 60% are items I source and purchase at the market.” That mix of items includes books, cards, jewelry, artwork, t-shirts, children’s toys, and much more.

Regular museum membership costs between $35 and $100 per year. That membership includes a myriad of privileges and discounts, including:

  • Unlimited free admission to galleries and to the Center for Creativity
  • 20% discount on classes, workshops, camps, and other educational opportunities
  • A one-year subscription to Plains Art Museum NEWS (newsletter)
  • Invitations to programs, exhibitions, and receptions
  • Reduced or free admission to opening receptions
  • Exclusive Center for Creativity Open Studio rates

Best of all, all members receive a 10% discount in the store. The museum also has an annual Holiday Sale when members get 20% off all store purchases from Friday, November 25th through Saturday, December 24th. All proceeds from the store go to benefit PAM programs.

The Plains Art Museum is located at 704 1st Avenue North in Fargo. Hours and costs for one-day admission are below. Additional information can be obtained at


Museum Galleries

Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Thursday: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm

Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday – Monday: Closed

The Store

Monday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Thursday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Sunday: Closed


Members: Free

Adults: $7.50

Seniors: $5

Educators w/ ID: $5

Students w/ ID: Free

Youth: Free


By Jamee Larson

Fall Parade of Homes: Your Opportunity to be Inspired

Have you ever driven by an impressive house and wondered about the interior? Are you in need of redecorating or remodeling ideas for your next home project? You would be wise to circle the weekends of September 17-18 and 24-25 on your calendar and take advantage of all the Fall Parade of Homes has to offer.

The Fall Parade of Homes is one of the area’s biggest events. Sponsored by the Home Builders’ Association of Fargo-Moorhead (HBA), the event began in 1999. The organization’s Spring Parade of Homes, however, dates back to 1958. The event began as a way for the building industry to showcase its products and members.

“It was an innovative way for the Association to promote a community-wide event for its members and combine advertising reach by pooling resources,” explained Bryce Johnson, Chief Executive Officer for the HBA. “It’s been extremely successful over the years, so leaders decided to start a Fall Parade of Homes in 1999, and that event has been going strong ever since.

What is the HBA?

When asked to define the HBA in her own words, Johnson replied, “We are a trade organization for the building industry, and give our members a collective voice when dealing with any local, state, and national governmental changes in regulation that increase the cost of housing for the residential buyer or homeowner who wishes to remodel.”

The organization also provides opportunities for members to promote themselves at events like the Parade of Homes and the Red River Valley Home & Garden Show. “We also offer networking opportunities within the organization for members to get to know each other, and offer a multitude of cost-saving benefits,” Johnson explained.

What is the Parade of Homes?

Johnson has been with the HBA for 24 years and has seen the popularity of the Parade of Homes continue to surge. “It’s a great way for residents to actually experience the homes our members build, and the products used within them, first hand,” she said. “Many people enjoy getting out, stretching their legs, and seeing the many design and decorating trends in the homes. Even if they (the homes) aren’t on the market to buy new, it gives them a lot of ideas for their existing homes.”

A fairly new part of the Parade of Homes involves remodeling. Now in its fifth year, the Remodeled Home Tour takes place in conjunction with the Fall Parade of Home’s final weekend and is organized by the HBA’s Remodelers Council. “It allows the public to see the dramatic updates that can be made to existing homes by our professional remodelers and trade contractors,” Johnson explained. “It’s a unique perspective to be able to tour existing housing stock that has been significantly updated.”

The Parade of Homes will feature 55 houses ranging in price from $219,915 to $1,395,000. “We will have two luxurious featured homes priced over $750,000,” Johnson said, adding that there is a $5 charge to tour the two homes. All proceeds will be donated to the Home Builders Care of F-M Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the HBA.

Parade of Homes 3

How Can I Purchase Tickets?

The HBA is utilizing a new mobile app and website to go along with the event. Whether you want to purchase the $5 ticket to tour the luxurious homes or reserve your free general admission ticket to the entire parade, you can take advantage of the app and the convenience it affords. “By using these new digital tools, you can browse information on each home, see the maps and plan your route, and see additional information and photos not included in the magazine,” Johnson explained.

The HBA is always looking for new homes to feature on either the Parade of Homes or the Remodeled Home Tour. “If there are any homeowners out there who would like to show off their transformations, they should contact our office at (701) 232-5846 or email,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t have to just be interior, we’d love to have some patios, decks, and landscaping as well.

The Fall Parade of Homes takes place September 17-18 and 24-25 from 12:00 – 5:00 pm, with the Remodeled Home Tour added to the last weekend. More information on both can be obtained at


By Jamee Larson


Rourke Art Galley & Museum: It all Began with a Suit Coat

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
~ Edgar Degas

The first time I marveled at a painting was in elementary school as we studied Vincent Van Gogh’s “Stormy Night.” I’m not sure if it was the sense of ordered chaos or the way the colors popped off that page that caught my eye, but that painting has always stuck with me. Art is often called the great equalizer and that sense of connectedness is on display every day at Moorhead’s Rourke Art Gallery & Museum.

“Art is about expressing and evoking a feeling. All humans have emotions and can react to art in this way,” said Rourke Program Director Trudy Sundquist. “While art is for everybody, it is important to note that artists use their creativity to express how they feel or what they see in their surroundings, which might include gender, race, religion, etc.”

The Rourke Art Gallery & Museum was founded in June 1960 by James O’Rourke, who had a desire to showcase the stellar work of local and regional artists. In 1996, the organization expanded to its current space in the former Moorhead Post Office building on Main Street. Since that time, the Rourke’s permanent collection has grown to approximately 4,000 works, including regional art, important 20th-century artists and art movements, and global art.

Sundquist shared with me a little-known anecdote involving O’Rourke and the first purchase of his collection. Apparently, when O’Rourke was a student at Concordia College in the 1950s, he visited an exhibit at the college and collected his first work of art, a small sculpture based off of an Ashanti gold weight. O’Rourke didn’t have any money (like most college students), so he sold a suit coat to purchase the piece.

O’Rourke’s estate was closed on February 22, 2016, and encompasses over 4,600 objects valued at over $1.3 million, including that gold weight statue. His bequest to the museum is the single most valuable donation of art in the history of the FM area.

Although Sundquist has only worked at the Rourke for a little over a year, she already recognizes the central role the museum plays in the local art scene. “The Rourke strives to present and preserve local and regional art and artists,” she said. “I am relatively new to the FM area and it’s been a wonderful opportunity to get to the know the fantastic and very talented artists of this area.”

Through a Lake Region Arts Council grant, the museum recently developed the Rourke Art Academy, consisting of classes for both kids and adults. These classes are free of charge and according to Sundquist, aimed at “connecting locals with area art educators to learn about new and ‘outside-of-the-box’ forms of art.”

Some classes last term were Aerosol Street Art Interactive Demo and Lecture with Jared Frober, Cory Gillerstein, and Micah Leitel (for all ages), Holiday Up-Cycling Craft Party with Chelsea Thorson (for all ages), and Acrylic and Mixed Media with Emily Williams-Wheeler (5th-8th grade). The Rourke will host another set of class in the fall and winter of 2016-17. Exact offerings are still being finalized.

Currently on display in the Rourke is the 57th Midwestern Invitational Exhibition of Fine Art. Although the exhibition is over September 4, there are still a few days to peruse the exceptional collection. Lasting a bit longer is the Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists’ (FMVA) Art Educator’s Exhibition. Open to all art educators that feel the need to create and communicate why art is essential in our communities, the exhibition will be on display through September 18.

Admission to the Rourke Art Gallery Museum is only $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and free for children and students. The Rourke is open Friday through Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Updated information on exhibits and classes can be found on the museum’s Facebook page or via


By Jamee Larson