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We are happy in Grand Forks!

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Today’s blog comes from Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director, Julie Rygg.   Gallup recently unveiled their annual ranking of well-being in the United States, and guess who ranked first? It was North Dakota (Minnesota was close at fourth)! That tells us, for the most part, North Dakotans are the happiest people in the U.S. I tend to agree with this report. We are quite happy here and there are many big reasons, but there are also lots of small things that we find great joy in!   Now I now it has been a long winter all over the county, and I like to look for some of those fun little things to brighten my day and add enjoyment. I am sharing my current five faves with you. Enjoy!   1. The martinis at the Toasted Frog are amazing. If you haven’t had one yet, I highly recommend them. My favorite is the Pink Lemonade. It is the perfect combination of sweet and sour and reminds me of a warm summer day.   2. There is nothing better than a hot mocha on a cold winter morning. My ultimate favorite place for a hot coffee is …

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Greater Grand Forks: A Tale of Two Hotels

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Today’s blog is written Shel Zolkewich, Manitoba travel and food blogger and friend to Greater Grand Forks.   Accommodations abound in Greater Grand Forks. There is truly a room for every traveler – whether you need the comforts of home (and more) or are in search of a rock-bottom deal. Let’s look at a couple of options.   Travelodge, 2100 South Washington Street, Grand Forks We have been staying at the Travelodge for so long that we still sometimes call it by its old name – The North Star Inn. There’s something to be said for a hotel that retains customers for decades upon decades. What the Travelodge might lack in fanciness, it makes up for in service and value. I’m not sure you can find friendlier front desk staff anywhere. And it’s not just one individual that stands out. They are all a joy to deal with and they always have been. The rooms are big – likely the biggest hotel rooms we’ve ever seen, each outfitted with a microwave and fridge. It has an old-style pool area and that means the pool itself is big – perfect for a game of keepaway with family and friends. The hot …

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Summer fun for families

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Today’s blog is written by Michaela Schell, a local writer and business professional.   As the years pass, I find myself looking more and more for kid friendly events that cater to our growing family. The more I search for things to do with my toddler, the more I find. The Grand Cities are extremely family friendly and offer lots of things to do with kids. The best part is a majority of them are free! As a stay-at-home mom, any kid event, whether it be a simple library story time or a big circus, that get us out of the house is a welcome occurrence.   So, here are just a few of the upcoming kid and family events happening in the Grand Cities this summer.   Movies in the Park (begins June 12) – The Grand Forks Park District hosts movies on an outdoor big screen at various parks around town. The kid-firendly shows are free and begin at sundown (around 9 p.m.). June 12 – The Muppets at University Park June 26 – Madagascar 2 at University Park July 16 – Harry Potter at Lincoln Park July 30 – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs at Lincoln …

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2011 Hometown Heroes honored last night

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Tourism Contributor and Organization of the Year

Last night the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted our annual Hometown Heroes Awards Celebration. This gives the CVB team an opportunity to recognize and honor all the hardworking individuals and organizations we work with year after year. Without them we would not have as many visitors traveling to Grand Forks nor would we have so many events. The following individuals ann organizations were honored: Cheri Reitmeier (Canad Inns, Farmer’s Market and Blues on the Red) – Tourism Contributor of the Year Rick Defea (Road King Inn) – Hospitality Person of the Year River Cities Speedway (Monica Evavold) – Organization of the Year Kelly Rotar (Special Olympics of ND) – Event Organizer of the Year UND Writers Conference (Dr. Crystal Alberts) – Event of the Year The event was great fun even with the threat of a winter storm, which didn’t hit Grand Forks. It was held at the historic Empire Arts Center with catering from Al’s Grill.  Their tips and toast, queso dip, wraps and walleye fingers were a hit. The most eye-catching part of the event though had to be the stage, erected by HB Sound & Light. They did a fabulous job of taking our …

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Rollin’ on the River

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 Spring is coming, and it is time to dust off your rollerblades and get ready to start training for the first-ever Rollin’ on the River [RotR] Inline Marathon, presented by the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau.  This new event will take place through the streets of Grand Forks on Saturday, August 27, 2011.  The Marathon includes a professional half marathon, recreational full marathon and recreational half marathon. Over 350 locals were out on Sunday, March 13, to “Skate the Alerus”.  This free event, which was a precursor to RotR, allowed people to start their training early…or just have fun learning to skate. Not only will there be the marathon, but a number of other events are being held in conjunction with RotR, on Friday, August 26, including: Keep the Ball Rollin’ Golf Tournament Rockin’ Rollin’ Rally in Lincoln Drive Park Pasta Dinner Now I have no idea how to rollerblade; in fact, I really don’t have any athletic ability.  But I am even going to buy a pair of inline skates and attempt to learn this sport without [hopefully] breaking a bone.  The idea for RotR started with a small group of like-minded individuals getting together and …

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Alerus Center celebrates 10 years

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The Alerus Center kicked off its ten year anniversary celebration by hosting an open house, on St. Patrick’s Day, with all sorts of tasty treats that show off their fabulous food creation abilities.  The ballroom was packed with locals enjoying the region’s premiere meeting and event center.  There are a number of events taking place in 2011 to celebrate the past ten years, including a Tim McGraw concert on May 17 – tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com. The Al has seen over 3.2 million people come through its doors and hosted over 5,500 events, which has had a significant positive impact on our community.  The recent renovations combined with the variety of space options and food and beverage selection, continue to entice groups and events to Grand Forks. I have enjoyed experiencing an array of concerts as well as attending a number of events, over the last eight years I have been in town.  It was amazing seeing Cher, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Fleetwood Mac and others just ten minutes from my house.  I also witnessed two presidential candidates appearing on the same stage, within hours of each other, when then-Senators Obama and Clinton visited Grand Forks during the ND …

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Tweet to win!

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The Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau is on Twitter.  This is a service for all those who want regular tips and updates about Grand Forks, and we want you to follow us!  Just log on to Twitter and find @visitgrandforks.  Once you hit “follow”, you will automatically be entered to win a fabulous concert package in Grand Forks, which includes: Two seventh-row tickets to Tim McGraw, at the Alerus Center, on May 17, 2011 One-night stay in the penthouse suite at the Canad Inns Destination Center $200 shopping spree in Grand Forks [stores will be selected by winner] The prize package is sponsored in full by the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau.  The drawing will take place on Friday, March 26, 2011.  The winner will be notified via Twitter. Not only will you have a chance to win this fabulous prize package and get regular updates from us via Twitter, but you will also be eligible for future giveaways. Don’t tweet?  Don’t worry.  You can also “like” us on Facebook.  We offer a variety of promotions there as well. What do you like to do in Grand Forks?  Share some of your favorite things about our …

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Top Ten Tasty Treats

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The communities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks offer tasty dishes from a number of local hot spots.  Because I am a local, I know where to find the best treats in town and what to order.  Next time you are in Grand Forks, check out these edible treasures: 10. Criss-cut fries and gravy at the Big Sioux Truck Stop may not be “heart healthy”, but they sure are tasty.  The Big Sioux offers a full menu of comfort food items right off Interstate 29. 9. The chili at Bonzer’s really sticks to your ribs particularly in the winter months.  This thick and spicy concoction comes with all the toppings.  While you are there, grab a schooner filled with one of their many variety of beers or their specialty Long Island Teas.          8. The grilled Alaskan King Salmon with Sanders 1907’s own special North Dakota Prairie Sauce will melt in your mouth, especially when accompanied by the garlic mashed potatoes.   This fine dining establishment offers a delectable array of gourmet food items, including “Sushi Thursdays”, in downtown Grand Forks. 7. While the Parrot’s Cay may be a little off the beaten path, their wings are worth the extra few minutes it may take …

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