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Garland & grand gifts galore

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Christmas is right around the corner and our two towns are a source for the most SimplyGrand holiday gifts around! Yes, good buys can be found at local malls and big box stores but it’s our locally owned shops and boutiques which offer those uniquely ND (MN too) gems especially fun to discover. In addition to supplying great seasonal bargains, these businesses will be sparkling with beautiful decorations. You’re sure to find something for everyone on your list…even that “hard to buy for” relative you only see once a year!   One-of-a-Kind Holiday Finds in the Forks:   Badman Design – 18 S 3rd St, Grand Forks Talented local artist and metalsmith, David Badman, creates a variety of regionally inspired gifts including UND jewelry and a beautiful Empire Arts Center Christmas ornament. Stop by his 5,500 square foot design studio/store downtown and check out all the amazing creations including tables, lamps, crosses, mirrors, wine racks and much more.   Key Bliss – 3000 32nd Ave S, Grand Forks Featuring trendy but not spendy women’s clothing, Key Bliss also has a North Dakota Collection with several cute t-shirts, sweatshirts and accessories.   Kittsona – 402 DeMers Ave & 28 S 3rd …

Posted in: Shopping, Travel & Tourism, Uncategorized
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Takin’ it to the hoop

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If you’re a fan of high scoring, fast paced action and March Madness is your favorite time of year, a University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks basketball game is right up your alley…or court! Even though the men’s and women’s programs are only in their 5th season of Division I Big Sky Conference play, they’re already a force to be reckoned with.   Veteran head coach Brian Jones takes his club into this season on the heels of a 10-8 conference record in 2015-16 and a postseason tournament appearance. Starters Quinton Hooker and Carson Shanks head a team of skilled players at both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. The quick and tenacious sophomore guard Geno Crandall is also one to watch.   Strong favorites to finish atop the Big Sky, 4th season head coach Travis Brewster will once again be directing a squad of very gifted women. Leading scorers Makailah Dyer and Samantha Roscoe will light up the scoreboard, while fiery guard Leah Szabla frustrates opponents with her ball-handling and defensive skills. UND also has a full slate of other potent weapons including Bailey Strand and NDSU transfer Holly Johnson.   Along with a chance to see …

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Putting the excitement on ice

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In full discloser, I grew up in small North Dakota town where high school hoops ruled. Even though basketball 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 Lisa Marvin and Amy Menke, UND is sure to see playoff action again this season.   The University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks Men’s team, with veteran coach and former UND hockey handout Brad Berry at the helm, is looking to end the season atop the NCHC. The whole crowd will jump to its feet after every goal and with future NHL stars like Gage Ausmus and Brock Boeser 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 …

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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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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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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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Something for everyone…kids, adults and fans of the 70s

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Today’s blog is brought to you from local writer and buisness person, Michaela Schell.   Usually Mondays can be pretty boring and likely the least favorite of the week, but on Monday, October 21, Grand Forks has something to do for everyone.   For the kids…   Disney Junior Live on Tour! Pirate and Princess Adventure. It all starts with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. They will lead your kids on an adventure through their favorite Disney shows with their favorite Disney characters: Doc McStuffins, Jake the Pirate, Princess Sofia and even Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.   When I think about how much kis love these characters on TV, I can only imagine the excitement that will fill the Ralaph when these fun friends come to life. There will probably be more energy in the arena than when it is full of UND Hockey fans!   Details: Monday, October 21 at 6:30 p.m. Ralph Engelstad Arena Ticket prices: $20/$30/$50 To order call or log on to Ticketmaseter   For the adults…   MYTHOLOGY, a new show by Celtic Thunder. This world-renowned group performs folk, traditional Irish, adult contemporary, rock and classical crossovers. It’s a modern twist on the old Celtic storytelling …

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Trendy, new music venue opens Downtown

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Today’s blog is written by Michaela Schell, a local writer and business professional.   A new music venue has come to Downtown Grand Forks! You probably haven’t seen any big outdoor sign marking its location, actually you can’t even see the venue from the street. That’s because it is tucked away in one of Downtown’s already prominent landmarks… The Empire Arts Center. What used to be a staging area behind the theater has be recreated into a trendy little social area the Empire is calling “The Backstage Project.”  The Empire’s website describes it as a place “designed to utilize creative, urban spaces for live music performances by local and regional artists.” I call it “pretty cool.” Grand Forks is lucky to have the large scale concert venues such as the Alerus Center and Ralph Engelstad Arena and mid-size venues like the Empire’s and the Chester Fritz Auditorium’s stages for fairly large performances, but we have always been missing that small, intimate space where local artists can perform to an up-close and personal crowd. Until now. The Backstage Project kicked off its first show of the series on April 5th with music from local jazz band favorite, Jazz On Tap. Jazz …

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