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Make a SimplyGrand grape escape

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See ya later Sonoma.  Maybe next time Napa Valley.  No need to travel across the country when you can pick great grapes and taste grand wines right here in Greater Grand Forks…at the popular Grape Mill Vineyard and Winery!   Overlooking the banks of our beautiful Red Lake River, Grape Mill’s cold hardy vines produce red, white and blush varieties with a unique, palate-pleasing flavor specific to this region. The Halversons – Russ, Gail and Matt – planted their first 200 grape vines back in 2006.  Today, the vineyard has well over 2,000 vines including the varieties Marquette, La Crescent, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc and Brianna.  Bottles of Grape Mill wine were even featured in Super Bowl LII celebrity gift baskets.   Situated on the estate, take a stroll through the vineyard and discover just what makes their vines so special.  You’ll also learn how each variety is grown, cultivated and turned into delicious wine.   After taking the tour, be sure to stop in Grape Mill’s tasting room and try some of your favorites or grab a bottle to take home for later.  On most Saturdays, you’ll also be serenaded by talented local musicians while you sip and savor.   …

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Start your engines

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Have you ever wondered why racing is one of the world’s most popular spectator sports?  You won’t find the answer by watching premier racing on television…to truly experience all the action and excitement, you must see it live, up close and in person!   May through mid-September, River Cities Speedway revs up with the sights and sounds of NOSA Outlaw Sprints, WISSOTA Late Models, Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks.  Every Friday, beginning with Hot Laps at 6 PM and a 7 PM Start Time, skilled regional drivers will battle for the checkered flag on one of the best 1/3-mile Bullring dirt and clay tracks in the nation.   While there, be sure to pick up a drink and some tasty eats (taco-in-a-bag and hot dogs are two favorites) from the concessions area or stop by the beer garden for an adult beverage.  A free treat also awaits the kids at the nightly candy toss.  Afterward, head over to the pits for an autographed picture of your favorite driver or stop by their souvenir shop and pick up a t-shirt.  If y’all are ready for an evening of nonstop thrills, it’s time to make tracks to the track!   Upcoming Special …

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Six SimplyGrand Gifts for Mom

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Mom loved and raised you…time to raise the bar and show her just how much you appreciate and love her back!  Sunday, May 13, is Mother’s Day and the perfect chance to express your feelings.  In case you forgot or haven’t figured out yet what to get her, here are just a half dozen suggestions:   One can never go wrong with dinner and a movie. First, take her to a special Mother’s Day Brunch at Crooked Pint, Eagle’s Crest Grill, Ely’s Ivy, Ground Round, Hilton Garden Café or Sky’s.  Follow that with a matinee of the soon to be released mother-daughter flick, “Life of the Party”, starring Melissa McCarthy, at River Cinema 15 or AMC Classic 10 Theater.   Is mom an 80s rocker chick, by chance? A certificate to The Darkside Tattoo plus tickets to Metallica on September 8, at Alerus Center, would equal one forkin’ grand gift!   A bouquet is ok but how about putting a new spin on it? Escort mom to All Season’s Garden Center, tour her through the amazing greenhouse and then let her pick out a planter or two for her garden or patio.   She put Pampers on you as a …

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See life through rosé colored glasses

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Just 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) joined forces to host one of the most popular annual events our community has ever known.  A few years back, the CVB handed over its duties to the Downtown Development Association (DDA) who now partner with the Public Arts Commission (PAC) to ensure Art & Wine Walk remains as SimplyGrand as ever!   Traditionally, this event has been a monthly summer-only occurrence.  However, organizers have now decided to hold Walks throughout the year, with the next one scheduled for Saturday, May 19, from 1 to 5 PM.  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 appetizers, along with featuring live music.   On the day of the event, a wristband and map listing participating …

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SimplyGrand times for grown-ups

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If you’re looking for some fun after the sun goes down, our two towns are one hot ticket!  With everything from live music and karaoke to bar bingo and trivia takeovers, we’ve got plenty of ways to entertain you.   Listed below is just a sampling of all the different places to play around after 5 PM and beyond:   Bar Bingo/Bargo – Up North Pizza Pub (Tuesday at 7 PM); Ground Round (Thursday at 8 PM) Karaoke – Brick & Barley (Tuesday at 10:30 PM); Rhombus Guys Pizza (Wednesday at 10 PM); O’Really’s Irish Pub (Wednesday & Friday at 10 PM); Diamond Lounge (every other Thursday at 7:30 PM); El Roco Bar & Grill (Thursday at 9 PM) Live Music – The Ember (Thursday Bluegrass Jam); Diamond Lounge (Weekends at 9 PM); Half Brothers Brewing Company (every night, times vary); Long Haul Saloon (Weekends at 9 PM); Shotgun Sally’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Saloon (Weekends at 9 PM); Southgate Bar & Grill (Weekends at 9 PM) Pool & Foosball – El Roco Bar & Grill; The Loft; TJ’s Sports Bar, Up North Pizza Pub Trivia – Bonzer’s (Monday at 8 PM); The Diamond (Tuesday at 7 PM); Rhombus Guys Pizza …

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Great things are springing up at Alerus Center

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No need for April showers…the Alerus Center is already blooming with simply grand events before, during and after that time!  With new General Manager Anna Rosburg at the helm, Grand Forks’ premiere entertainment and convention facility will be hopping, more than ever before, with a variety of different events.   March 2-3: 2018 First Robotics Competition March 20-22: 25th Annual ArtWise Elementary Art Show March 23-25: Home Design & Garden Show 2018 March 31: 16th Annual Kids Easter Egg Scramble April 13-15: Jurassic Quest April 14: GF Horticultural Society presents Gardening Saturday 2018 April 21: Toughest Monster Truck Tour Championship Weekend April 21-22: Red River Valley Motorcyclists 2018 Motorcycle Show May 3: Thomas Rhett w/special guests Brett Young & Russell Dickerson May 20: Five Finger Death Punch & Shinedown w/special guests Starset & Bad Wolves   For more information, including ticket/admission prices, go to www.aleruscenter.com.   If you’d like to grab a bite or enjoy some cocktails before or after your event, there are several awesome spots nearby to indulge and imbibe.  Just some of them include: Aalto’s, Tavern United and l’Bistro in Canad Inns Destination Center; Crooked Pint Ale House; Grand Junction Subs; Ramada Aroma Café & Dreamers Lounge; …

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Rockin’ the Ralph & Betty too

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Everyone knows about all the exciting happenings that take place at the awesome Ralph Engelstad Arena (REA).  However, the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center (BESC) right next door has got it goin’ on, as well!   Since its completion, the Betty has welcomed many great events and is best known as the host facility for the NCAA Division I Big Sky Conference University of North Dakota Women’s Basketball, Volleyball and Men’s Basketball teams.  Prior to their Division I transition, it was even voted the best Division II women’s basketball facility in the nation.   Of course, the Ralph is home to eight-time Division I National Champion University of North Dakota Men’s Hockey.  Some of the other things held there include concerts by a variety of award-winning musicians and nationally popular stand-up comedians, Disney productions and an array of professional sporting events.   Both facilities feature beautiful granite floor lobbies, large concessions and lounge areas and hall of fame sections for their respective sports.  For a nominal fee, you may join one of the guided tours taking place every Monday through Friday, at 1:30 PM, beginning and ending in the Ralph’s Sioux Shop.  This 90-minute trek tours guests through the entire $100+ …

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Wooing your Valentine in #SimplyGrand 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:   LOVE ON THE EAST SIDE. Drive your date to downtown East Grand Forks for a romantic movie and some ‘heart’y food.  Start out the evening with an earlier showing at River Cinema 15, perhaps in one of the theaters with new heated recliner seating.  Afterward, journey down the Riverwalk Centre hallway and canoodle over noodles at Mamma Maria’s.  Just some of the divine dishes to try are the classic homemade lasagna, chicken milano, lobster ravioli and cranberry tortellini.  And of course, a nice bottle of vino is a must.   UPSCALE AFFAIR. The Toasted Frog is the best place around to get pickled.  By that, I mean their martinis and deep-fried cheesy pickles are so amazing, they’ll make your head spin!  Upon exiting the Frog, grab your date’s hand, then stroll down 3rd Street, over and up to Sky’s on the 2nd floor of 322 DeMers.  Treat your 5-star sweetie to a 5-star dinner that includes classic cocktails, crab cakes, a king or …

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Have one fine auld lang syne

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No plans yet for New Year’s Eve? Ring in 2018 with your family and friends in Greater Grand Forks!  Our two towns provide residents and visitors lots of opportunities to have a great time in the great outdoors. Whether you want to pretend you’re legendary like Sidney Crosby or Kristi Yamaguchi, both the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks Park Districts offer scheduled times for open skating. If you’d rather do circle eights Downtown, the Town Square Ice Rink is just your cup of tea (or hot chocolate)! The whole family can also take in a day of sledding or cross-country skiing in Lincoln Drive Park.   If it’s blustery outside, then give bowling a try at one of two alleys. The kids would definitely enjoy splashing around in our water parks: Canad Inns Destination Center and Choice Health & Fitness. Open from 7:30 AM till 8 PM, Choice also features basketball, racquetball and tennis courts, fitness classes and a Kids Zone interactive play area. Northern Air Family Fun Center will be open from 10 AM to 7 PM and features a trampoline park, laser tag, plus lots of inflatables. And don’t forget to take a spin through Lincoln Drive …

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Building blocks of fun in Greater Grand Forks

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If you build it, they will come.  That’s what the staff of HB Sound & Light believed back in 2015…and they were correct.  The 3rd Annual Holiday LEGO Display, December 8-26, 2017, is backand better than ever!   This free, family-friendly event features thousands of toy blocks being used to re-create Grand Forks blocks.  Numerous iconic buildings and landmarks, such as Widman’s Candy Shop and the Smiley water tower, come alive in a magical miniature LEGO-inspired wonderland.  It all takes place Downtown, in the HB Warehouse, at 101 North 8th Street.  Business hours are 10 AM to 6 PM on weekdays and Saturdays from 10 AM to 3 PM.   Even though that would be totally awesome on its own, they didn’t stop there!  In addition to the simply grand displays, there will also be several special Open House happenings:    December 8, 5 to 8 PM (21+ ONLY): Tickets may be purchased online or at the door for $20 and include three drink tickets, hors d’oeuvres by North Dakota Museum of Art Cafe, live music, plus the chance to win a limited-edition Whisky by Far North Spirits and LEGO Architecture set. Alcohol may be purchased at the event from …

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