the insider blog

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Savor reds, get greens, hear blues

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Don’t have any plans for the next few weekends?  Want to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather?  Well, we’ve got some good news for you!  In addition to all the great shopping, attractions and dining our grand cities offer, Greater Grand Forks has a whole slate of colorful outdoor events coming up.   July 4:  Sertoma 4th of July Festival & Fireworks 12 Noon to 12 Midnight Downtown Town Square & The Greenway Patriotic Kids Parade, live entertainment, children’s activities, silent auction, watermelon feed, food concessions, beer garden, concerts by Kenny & the Classics and The Roosters, 55th Annual Fireworks Show and more Free admission More details may be found on the “Sertoma of Grand Forks” Facebook page   July 4, 11, 18, 25:  Outdoor Farmer’s Market 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Town Square Fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, crafts and more Live entertainment and food concessions Free admission More details may be found on the “Town Square Farmer’s Market” Facebook page    July 11: Art & Wine Walk 1 to 5 p.m. Downtown Grand Forks – beginning on the corner of DeMers Avenue & 4th Street and ending at Empire Arts Center with a champagne tasting Sample an …

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Kid Stuff 101

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Yay, school’s out for the summer!  Uh-oh, now what am I gonna do?  If you’re looking for things to entertain kids, Greater Grand Forks has lots of options.    For outdoor fun, try the Sherlock Forest Playground, Sherlock Pool or the LaGrave Outdoor Skate Park, all located in East Grand Forks.  The Grand Forks Park District runs two outdoor splash parks, one in University Park and the other at Elks Pool, along with several playgrounds located throughout the city.  Turtle River State Park (just a short 22 miles west of Grand Forks) sponsors a summer series called “Dakota Explorers,” which is a hands-on environmental program for youngsters.   Family Fun Night, Grand Cities Art Fest and Sertoma Fun4th & Fireworks all feature many different games and activities.    On rainy day or when the temp dips a little too low, 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 at the Grand Cities Mall or …

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Great grinds equal grand times

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Seattle and Portland may have started the whole coffeehouse craze but Grand Forks has definitely perfected it!  All throughout our town we have several java joints (some locally owned, some national chains) ready to brew you up a cup of caffeine filled deliciousness.  Each has a little something different to offer…but all offer a great place to have a grand time.   DAKOTA HARVEST BAKERS – Along with amazing French press coffee, Dakota Harvest has some of the best buns in town!  For sweets lovers like me, the ginormous caramel sticky buns and cinnamon rolls are definitely the way to go.  Although, I definitely wouldn’t turn down one of their butterscotch scones, raspberry white chocolate muffins or Special K bars.  Location: 17 North 3rd Street, 701-772-2100   CARIBOU COFFEE – This popular regional chain has a variety of tasty coffee creations to either warm you up or cool you down.  My top choices are the Northern Lite Latte and Iced Campfire Mocha.  They even have drinks for little ones including a yummy Hot Chocolate and Mango Orange Smoothie.  Location: 2400 South Washington Street, 701-775-3668   COFFEE COMPANY – This Grand Forks original is the only place in town that actually …

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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.   …

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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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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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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Early bird shopping

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Looking to gobble up some bargains after you’ve gobbled up your turkey dinner?  As you probably already know, many stores are choosing to forgo Black Friday and open on Thanksgiving Thursday instead.   No worries…inquiring staff at the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau have checked around and done the leg/drumstick work for you!  Below is a list of stores and their post-bird hours:   Kmart: Open at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Best Buy: Open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving JCPenney: Open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Sears: Open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Shopko: Open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Target: Open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Walmart: Open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Kohl’s: Open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Macy’s: Open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Gordmans: Open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday Lowes: Open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday Cabela’s: Open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday Menard’s: Open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday Sam’s Club: Open at 7 a.m. on Black Friday    

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Applause and curtain calls

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If you’re a fan of all things musical like me, listen up!  Since 1972, the Chester Fritz Auditorium stage has hosted numerous legendary performances and with upcoming events ranging from Broadway to Beethoven and Christmas bells to steel drums, The Fritz’s 2014-15 schedule is sure to please a wide variety of tastes.      At just over 2,300 seats, Chester Fritz is the perfect size to host musical theater and intimate concerts.  Its top notch sound system, renowned acoustics and auditorium layout are such that it makes you feel at one with the production.     Experience a little of the auditorium’s great history by strolling down the halls lined with autographed pictures of past performers, just some of whom include Kenny Rogers, Wayne Newton, Cliff Richard, Jewel, Bette Midler and Manhattan Transfer.  When you’re in the lobby, make sure to look up and enjoy the iconic beauty of the Starcher Chandelier.  Custom made in Italy, it is lighted by approximately 30 lamps and blends 5,550 lead crystal beads, prisms and tear drops.     Whether it’s a family outing or date night out, Chester Fritz Auditorium has been the place to go for over 40 years.  And no matter what show (or …

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