the insider blog

See true talent at the Chester Fritz Auditorium

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Today’s blog is from Hailie Pelka, University of North Dakota student and Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau intern.   You don’t have to travel to New York or Chicago to see true talent. Since October of 1972 the Chester Fritz Auditorium has been home to traveling acts, nationally acclaimed and local performances. Programs vary from country western, ballet, Broadway Theatre, University of North Dakota ensembles and many more.   There is not a bad seat in the house. The Chester Fritz, holding up to 2,400 audience members, has a unique layout with the seats being relatively close to the stage even if you are sitting in the mezzanine or balcony. The seats are comfy and the staff is more than accommodating.   This year’s performances are flying by but there is still time to experience the beauty and talent that the Chester Fritz holds. Winner of four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Memphis: the Musical will grace the stage tonight, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. Simply Three will enhance your classical music experience on Thursday night, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. The Grand Forks Chorales and the University of North Dakota Department of Music present Felix Mendelssohn’s …

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Romancing your Valentine in Grand style

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Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.  Don’t have any plans yet with your significant other?  Well then, you best read on!  Luckily, Greater Grand Forks has lots of great date options and here are my Top 5:   1. ON THE BOARDWALK.  Drive your date to the East Side for a flick and some food.  Start out the evening with an early showing of the new movie “Fifty Shades of Gray” at River Cinema 15.  Afterward, journey across the street to Blue Moose.  Located on the popular Boardwalk dining district, it’s the perfect spot for a juicy-licious burger stuffed with bleu cheese, mushrooms and ham or some sweet ‘n’ sassy Norwegian barbecue ribs.  Quench your thirst with a choice of nearly fifty brews of beer in their Back Forty Bar.   2. UPSCALE DOWNTOWN.  The Toasted Frog is the best place around to get pickled.  By that I mean their martinis and deep-fried cheesy pickles will make your head spin.  Then stroll hand-in-hand down 3rd Street to Sanders for a 5-star dinner with your 5-star sweetie that includes champagne, Maryland crab cakes, filet mignon with peppercorn sauce and a crème caramel that comes topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream.   …

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Posted in: Dining, Entertainment, Events, Lodging, Sports & Recreation, Travel & Tourism, Uncategorized
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Country stars take the Grand stage

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At a typical concert, the audience has a good time.  For me, however, the trademark of an awesome concert is when both the crowd and performers are all having a great time.  According to several rave reviews, both Eric Church and Luke Bryan definitely serve up the latter.  Even though both play in a new city almost every night, their strong, earnest voices and high energy level are said to be consistent with every performance.  That’s why we are so excited to announce that Church will be bringing his The Outsiders Tour to Ralph Engelstad Arena, on April 7, at 7:30 p.m.  Then on May 8, at 7:00 p.m., Bryan’s Kick Up the Dust Tour comes to the Alerus Center.   With a slew of Top 20 songs to his credit, Eric Church’s popularity continues soaring to new heights.  His 2013 release and top selling CD to-date, Chief, won ACM Album of the Year and spawned two #1 songs, “Springsteen” and “Drink In My Hand”.  Church knows how to be a rebellious rocker one moment, then turn around and wow the crowd with a sentimental ballad.  His mass appeal fills the seats with an eclectic mix of grandparents, tattooed teens …

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The 2015 Official Visitors Guide to Greater Grand Forks has arrived, and it’s SIMPLY GRAND!

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60,000 copies of the most informative and comprehensive guide about Greater Grand Forks has arrived at the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). The guide has a fresh look while keeping the same level of quality, which the CVB has become known for, as well as the “simply grand” brand synonymous with Greater Grand Forks.   The guide will be distributed at local hotels and businesses; Minnesota and North Dakota statewide information centers; CAA offices in Manitoba; through One Fufillment (ND Tourism Division distribution program); University of North Dakota; Grand Forks Air Force Base and Grand Forks International Airport. Organizations such as Altru Health System, The Chamber and Economic Development Corporation use the guide in recruitment efforts as well. The CVB also distributes the guide in the Visitor Information Center (serving approximately 20,000 visitors per year), at trade shows, in event hospitality packets and visitor inquiry packets. The guide may be downloaded via visitgrandforks.com.   To pick up your copy, stop by the Visitor Information Center located at 4251 Gateway Drive (junction of Interstate 29 and Highway 2). Not local? Request a copy by sending an e-mail to info@visitgrandforks.com, calling 800.866.4566 or online.  

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Posted in: Dining, Entertainment, Events, Lodging, Shopping, shows and concerts, Sports & Recreation, Travel & Tourism
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Court me

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If you’re a fan of bouncing balls and like to shake your pompoms, a University of North Dakota basketball game is a must-attend event!  Even though the men’s and women’s programs are only in the third year of official DI status, they’re already a force to be reckoned with.    Picked to finish atop the Big Sky Conference, third-year head coach Travis Brewster will once again be directing a squad of very gifted young women.  Leading scorers Mia Lloyd and Emily Evers will light up the scoreboard, while fiery guards Kelsey Knox and Leah Szabla frustrate opponents with their quickness and tenacity.  UND also has a full slate of other potent weapons including sophomore Makailah Dyer and freshman Bailey Strand.   Veteran head coach Brian Jones takes his club into this season on the heels of a 12-8 record in 2013-14 and a postseason tournament appearance.  Starters Quinton Hooker and Jaron Nash head a team of skilled players at both the offensive and defensive ends of the court.  And the tall ‘n’ talented 7-0 freshman Carson Shanks is definitely one to watch.   Along with a chance to see two of the most exciting young teams in the country compete, …

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Three new shops in Greater Grand Forks

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Today’s blog comes from Shel Zolkewich, a travel writer, blogger and friend to Greater Grand Forks.   The name is perfect. Curious—a newish shop on 32nd Avenue South, near Menard’s—is in fact, a sweet spot that makes you smile as soon as you walk through the doors. The soaring walls are perfect for displaying the work of featured artists. They provide inspiration for the eclectic collection of gifts, housewares and art pieces that fill the space.   The store includes little spaces for bath and body, travel, kids and kitchens—among others. It makes it easy to find the right gift whether there’s a coffee drinker or a spa lover on your list. Foodies will love, love, love the section dedicated to gourmet treats, gadgets and dishware. After an hour in the store, I still wasn’t done exploring. These items are truly unique and you’ll rarely find them elsewhere. From the outside, Kittsona looks posh. The cream-coloured downtown building features big windows with stylish pieces tempting shoppers to come inside. And you should go inside. Because it is in fact a posh shop, but one with prices that will come as a pleasant surprise.   On a Saturday afternoon, Kittsona is …

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Posted in: Shopping, Travel & Tourism
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Vintage Grand Forks

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Today’s blog comes from Shel Zolkewich, a travel writer, blogger and friend to Greater Grand Forks.   If you’ve been visiting Grand Forks for a couple of decades or more, these destinations will be familiar. They’re tried and true places that have stood the test of time and garnered a loyal customer base. They’re all about quality, variety and deliciousness.   If you want to hang with locals, head to Speedway Grill & Bar. Tucked away on N 42nd Street, the spacious room is almost always packed with folks enjoying the blooming onion appetizer, prime rib special or two-for-one burger night.   The walleye dinner is a steal at $15. It comes with two sides (like all dinners), so be sure to include the baked beans which are a standout here. Dinners also come with a small loaf of warm bread—a nice touch. Get there before 6 pm and order a 25-ounce beer for $2.95. For me, a bowl of their outstanding chicken tortilla soup, a loaf of that warm bread and a big beer do the trick. But I seldom stop there because the ribs are just too good to pass up.   Occupying a corner of the Grand …

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Meet a year-round Grinch during the Empire Theatre Company’s production of The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical

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Everyone has a Scrooge in their life, but count your blessings you don’t have a Darlene. Darlene is basically the year-round Grinch for Armadillo Acres, North Florida’s premier mobile living community. Armadillo Acres during Christmas time would put Disney to shame as being the “happiest place on earth” if it wasn’t for Darlene. Day after day, she puts a damper on her neighbor’s happy-go-lucky-and-belly-full-of-beer life.   Until she acquires a case of amnesia, that is. The Scrooge is no longer so Scrooge-like. Darlene’s neighbors: Lin, Betty, and Pickles are faced with dilemma after dilemma that will keep you laughing and questioning how your mama raised you even after the musical ends.   The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical is more than a mouth full, it’s a good time. So leave the kids at home, for this one is a bit out of their league. The stereotypcial trailer park characters are not so politically correct with some mouths that should be washed out with soap. Join us at the Empire Arts Center for some belly aching laughs this Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

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We have spirit…yes we do!

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Feeling a little blue?  I know what will put the jingle in your bells and jolly in your holly!  If you’re looking for activities to create a festive frame of mind, Greater Grand Forks is definitely the place.  We have seasonal celebrations, concerts and everything in between.  In addition to offering great holiday bargains, our malls and specialty shops will be sparkling with beautiful decorations.    Following is a list of holiday happenings that are sure to get you feeling very merry.  More information on these and other events may be found at www.visitgrandforks.com.   Thru Dec. 7: 21st Annual Festival of Trees @ Columbia Mall Sears Wing Thru Dec. 31: Christmas in the Park Holiday Lights Tour @ Lincoln Drive Park Dec. 4-6: “Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” @ Empire Arts Center Dec. 6: Winter wUNDerland Concert @ Chester Fritz Auditorium Dec. 6-7: Historical Society Holiday Open House @ Myra Museum Dec. 7:  91st Annual Christmas Musicale @ United Lutheran Church Dec. 7: Annual Family Christmas Party @ Heritage Village Dec. 11-14: “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” @ Red River HS Auditorium Dec. 11-15 & 18-21: Santa Village 2014 @ Lincoln Park Club House Dec. 13: A Family Christmas …

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Flipping the bird

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Looking to get your gobble on in Greater Grand Forks this Thanksgiving?  If you don’t feel like going through all the hassle of making it yourself, we have several restaurants serving up a feast.  Luckily, they’ve got a spot reserved just for you…and it’s not even at the kids’ table!    Aaltos: 1000 S 42nd St (Canad Inn), Grand Forks, 701-792-1957; 9 AM to 12 PM (brunch) and 12 to 8 PM (buffet) B&B’s Restaurant:  1205 N 43rd St (Ramada), Grand Forks, 701-775-3951; 7 to 11 AM (brunch) and 11 AM to 2 PM (dinner) Big Sioux Café:   4401 32nd Ave S Grand Forks, 701-738-0441; open 24/7 (turkey dinner and regular menu) Blue Moose Bar & Grill: 507 2nd Ave S East Grand Forks, 218-773-6516; 11 AM to 8 PM (all-you-can-eat turkey dinner served to your table and regular menu) Buffalo Wild Wings:  2717 S Columbia Rd, Grand Forks, 701-775-9464; 11 AM to close (regular menu) Denny’s:  3770 32nd Ave S, Grand Forks, 701-757-1148; 24/7 (turkey dinner and regular menu) Eagles Crest Grill:  5301 S Columbia Rd (King’s Walk Golf Course), Grand Forks, 701-787-3491; 11 AM to 4 PM (buffet) *call for reservations IHOP:  3951 32nd Ave, Grand Forks, 701-775-7001; 24/7 (turkey dinner and …

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