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Putting the excitement on ice

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I must admit, I’ve grown up a big basketball fan.  Even though that is still my first love, when I finally experienced Division I college hockey live, I was hooked!  If you’ve never been, Grand Forks offers plenty of chances to see all the action up close.   Under head coach Brian Idalski, watch the University of North Dakota Women’s Hockey team this season as they skate, pass and shoot their way to victory.  With several standouts like Andrea Dalen and Josefine Jakobsen returning, UND is sure to see playoff action again this season.   The University of North Dakota Men’s Hockey team, with veteran coach and former UND hockey handout Dave Hakstol at the helm, is looking to end the season atop the newly formed NCHC.  The whole crowd will jump to its feet after every goal and with future NHL stars like Nick Schmaltz and Luke Johnson on the roster, you’ll be cheering nonstop.      Home ice advantage also means fans get to enjoy all the luxuries of the magnificent Ralph Engelstad Arena, including its granite floor concourses, plush leather seats, amazing sound system and state-of-the-art jumbo screens that highlight every second of the action.  If a variety …

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Fun for a kid…and a kid at heart

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“There’s nothing to do.”  Have you recently heard those four words that every parent and babysitter dreads?  If so, there’s no need to worry.  Greater Grand Forks has you covered, with lots of options to entertain kids.  Oh, and adults will like ‘em too!                                                         For outdoor fun, journey to Sherlock Forest Playground in East Grand Forks for a little monkey(bar)ing around.  Maybe shooting a few hoops or trying your hand Frisbee golfing at Lincoln or Riverside Parks is more your thing.  When you’re talking fall, of course you need to know Jack, O’ Lantern that is!  Located a short 20 minute drive west of Grand Forks, in Emerado, ND, is Nelson’s Pumpkin Patch.  It features both a straw and corn maze, haunted house, hayrides, farm animal petting zoo, games, concessions and more.      It’s a cold day outside?  No problem; just head inside!  The Canad Inns Destination Center features a tropical themed water park and mega arcade for both guests and non-guests.  Likewise, the new Choice Health & Fitness facility offers an amazing water park and pool area, in addition to topnotch workout equipment and classes.  Pay a visit to the rock climbing wall located in the Grand Cities …

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Stroll, Sip and Savor the Flavor of Downtown

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Much like a good Beaujolais, the Greater Grand Forks Art & Wine Walk keeps getting better with age.  The first glass of wine was poured back in 2006, when the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) and North Valley Arts Council (NoVAC) partnered up to host one of the most popular annual events our cities have ever known.  This past year, the CVB handed over its duties to the newly formed Downtown Development Association but the Walk remains virtually unchanged.       Held every June through October, on the third Saturday of each month, Art & Wine Walk offers regional artists a chance to display their talents and wares at several downtown Grand Forks and East Grand Forks venues.  A sample of wine will be available, at specified sites, for those 21 years of age and older.  Some locations may also choose to serve nonalcoholic beverages and snacks, along with featuring live music.    On the day of the event, a map listing participating businesses can be purchased for $15 at either the Red Roof TownHouse Inn or Blue Moose Grill & Bar.  A partial list of participants includes: Kittson Boutique; Brick & Barley; RH Standard; River City Jewelers; Hey Ocean and …

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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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