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 On Tap performed to a group of about 60 people scattered throughout the cozy space on chairs, couches, and standing around the bar.
“I couldn’t be happier with the success of our first Backstage Project concert,” said Emily Burkland, Executive Director of the Empire Arts Center. “The concert-goers loved the relaxed, intimate feel of the space. It felt just like a bar in New York or LA. It’s the perfect place to enjoy music and conversation with friends in a venue unlike any other.”
Chase Burkhart on April 27 @ 8pm
Rosie Sauvageau on May 10 @ 8pm
Mike & Hanna Power followed by Black Cat Abraham on May 24 @ 8pm
More concerts are being planned throughout the summer.
The charge for the event is just $5 at the door with a bar provided by Rhombus Guys.
Preview of upcoming artist Chase Burkhart
Fargo-based singer/songwriter Chase Burkhart brings a unique voice to the Grand Forks music scene. Wielding the acoustic guitar to complement a set of tenor pipes, Burkhart draws from a vast array of creative influences to inspire his musical expressions. Tapping into over 2 decades of experience with musical expression in a various genres, his music is best described as an acoustic fusion of folk, indie rock, R&B, and jazz.
For outdoor fun, head to East Grand Forks and the brand new Sherlock Forest Playground. There are also several other parks, on both sides of the river, with great play equipment, basketball hoops and areas to rollerblade, skateboard, fly a kite or simply just frolic in the sun.
Feel like staying indoors? The Canad Inns Destination Center features an amazing water park and mega arcade for guests and non-guests alike. Pay a visit to the Northern Lights Model Railroad Museum or stop by the rock climbing wall located in the Grand Cities Mall. The First Seasons Community Center, sponsored by the Grand Forks Park District, offers indoor playground equipment and other fun things to occupy the day. The whole family will want to explore the Cabela’s store in East Grand Forks. It features a 10,000 gallon aquarium filled with indigenous fish, a trout stream and numerous wild game mounts.
There are also plenty of special events coming up that both children and adults will enjoy:
-Preschool Story Time, every Tuesday, Grand Forks Public Library
-Story Time for Kids, every Tuesday-Thursday, East Grand Forks Public Library
-Toddler Story Time, every Thursday, Grand Forks Public Library
-Kids’ Story Hour, every Saturday, Ferguson Books
-”Charlotte’s Web”, April 15, Chester Fritz Auditorium
-ArtWise Youth Art Show, April 17-19, Alerus Center
-Knight for a Princess Daddy-Daughter Dance, April 20 & 21, Alerus Center
-2012 UNDIA Powwow, April 20-22, Hyslop Sports Center
-Friday Night Races, Fridays, April 20-September 14, River Cities Speedway
-Shrine Circus, April 27-29, Ralph Engelstad Arena
Whether it’s a park down the street or at one of the largest arenas in the region, Grand Forks and East Grand Forks give you plenty of options when trying to keep the little ones busy! For more information about these and many other activities, log on to our website.
While we are all busy shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, etc. during the holidays it is important to remember all the spectacular offerings of the season, and the Grand Cities have many. Here is a taste…
November 25-December 31 – Christmas in the Park Holiday Lights at Lincoln Park
December 2-3 – Winter Wonderland Concert & Feast at UND Memorial Union
December 4 – Gao Hong & Butterfly Concert at ND Museum of Art
December 8-11 & 15-18 – Santa’s Village at Lincoln Golf Course Clubhouse
December 13 – Tonic Sol-fa Holiday Concert at Empire Arts Center
December 17 – Lorie Line Holiday Extravaganza Concert at Chester Fritz Auditorium
December 31 – Celebrate the Night New Year’s Celebration at the Alerus Center
For more information about these and other events, you can check the online calendar of events. Please also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for great giveaways and regular Greater Grand Forks updates.
With events ranging from Broadway to ballet and kids’ shows to comedy theatre, the Chester Fritz upcoming schedule is sure to please a wide variety of tastes. You’ll also appreciate their renowned acoustics and auditorium layout, which make you feel at one with the production. No matter what show (or shows) you choose, it’s guaranteed to be a performance worthy of a standing ovation.
-Mannheim Steamroller on November 13, at 7 p.m.
-UND Band & Wind Ensemble on November 29, at 7:30 p.m.
-Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” on November 30, at 7 p.m.
-Lorie Line & Her Fab 5: “Christmas Bells are Ringing” on December 17, at 3 p.m.
-Monty Python’s “Spamalot” on January 12, at 7:30 p.m.
-UND Band & Wind Ensemble on March 6, at 7:30 p.m.
-”Damn Yankees” on April 1, at 7:30 p.m.
-Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show on on April 13, at 7:30 p.m.
-”Charlotte’s Web” on April 15, at 2 p.m.
-UND Band & Wind Ensemble on April 26, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for all events are available at the Chester Fritz Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 701.772.5151 and online. For additional information, including new events that may be added, visit the Fritz website or call 701.777.4090 or 800.375.4068.
It has been a busy summer in the Grand Cities; school has started and the UND students have all moved back, and we are on the heels of a fabulous Grand Forks weekend with the first-ever Rollin’ on the River Inline Marathon (the Convention & Visitors Bureau was the presenting sponsor by the way) and a record breaking attendance for the last of the 2011 three-part music series, Blues on the Red. It may have some asking what do we do now? The answer is PLENTY! I am going to just give you a brief taste of some of the great events coming up (details and more events can be found on our Calendar of Events) in September:
-UND Football season opener vs. Drake September 1 at the Alerus Center (don’t miss tailgating, as the presenting sponsor, the Convention & Visitors Bureau is giving away a great prize package)
-Outdoor Farmer’s Market in Town Square through September 24
-Choice Financial 10K Fun Run/Walk Setember 10
-Tour de Forks Bike Ride & Walk in Lincoln Drive Park on September 11
-AudioBody at the Chester Fritz on September 11
-Art & Wine in Downtown on September 17 (and October 15)
-4th Annual Fall Frolic Run in Riverside Park on September 17
-Potato Bowl Week (there will be a blog later highlighting activities) September 19-24
-UND Women’s Hockey vs. Manitoba September 23 & 24 at Ralph Engelstad Arena
-Grand Forks Women’s Show at the Alerus Center on October 1
In addition to checking our calendar (there is an RSS feed by the way), don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook and/or follow @visitgrandforks on Twitter. Not only do we provide the latest updates on things to do, but we have a number of contests with great prizes!
Have a fabulous Labor Day Weekend and a warm welcome to all our Canadian friends that will be visiting for Canadian Labour Day Weekend!