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.
Kyle Kosier from The Hockey Academy at Ralph Engelstad Arena tells us about Grand Forks’ first ever ball hockey tournament…
The Hockey Academy, in conjunction with the Ralph Engelstad Arena is hosting Grand Forks’ first-ever summer ball hockey tournament, the REA Ball Hockey Classic. The tournament, which will run from May 31st to June 2nd, will feature teams from North Dakota, Minnesota, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Much like its on-ice counterpart, the rules of ball hockey should be pretty familiar to the local community. Playing a 3-on-3 co-ed format (with a goalie), games will be held on both the REA Main arena and Olympic surfaces and will feature two 15-minute halves. Teams can have between 5 and 8 players and registration is $225.00/team.
Extremely popular in Winnipeg and other Canadian cities, ball hockey can be fun for everyone from seasoned hockey players to novices. No hockey playing experience is required, and the tournament will feature both open and elite divisions so that you can play against people of the same skill level. Each ice surface at the REA will be converted to hold 3 ball hockey floors, with games running “cross-ice”. The rules allow for a wide-open playing experience to emphasize scoring and offensive play. With an eye on safety, participants will be required to wear certain hockey equipment (helmets, gloves, shin-pads, etc.) and goalies will have to provide their own equipment.
Hockey Academy Director Karl Goehring notes with enthusiasm that “The Hockey Academy is very pleased to be able to bring an event like this to the REA, as it provides a fun experience for kids and adults alike.” In addition to the hockey, an all-ages concert is also being planned to provide some after-hockey entertainment.
Interested teams can sign up via the Hockey Academy website (www.reachockeyacademy.com) or contact the Hockey Academy at 701-777-6637.
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.
“For someone who has played countless concerts and churned out numerous albums, Sir Elton never lets his skill, energy and gratitude for the crowd fade throughout his nearly three-hour-long show,” this according to one reporter who recently saw John perform live. Even though the iconic entertainer has played various arenas all over the world, his stage show is said to be tailored specifically to each venue. And fortunately for Greater Grand Forks, Elton John & His Band will be appearing live at Ralph Engelstad Arena(REA), March 24, at 8 p.m.
John’s talented musicians include Davey Johnstone on guitar, Bob Birch on bass, John Mahon on percussion, Nigel Olsson on drums and Kim Bullard on keyboards. One of the most successful live bands on the road today, Elton & His Band put on the kind of concert you will never forget. The entire audience will be standing, dancing and singing along with much-loved classic songs like “Rocket Man”, “Bennie & the Jets”, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, “Your Song”, “Philadelphia Freedom”, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, “Crocodile Rock”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Levon” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”.
“Elton John is an entertainment legend,” said REA General Manager Jody Hodgson. “It is our privilege to host his first Grand Forks appearance at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. This show will be a must-see in the Red River Valley and a performance our community will never forget!”
The monumental career of this Grammy, Tony, Golden Globe and Oscar-winning singer/songwriter and performer spans five decades. With 35 gold and 25 platinum albums and 29 consecutive Top 40 hits, Elton John is one of the top-selling solo artists of all time. He has also sold more than 250 million records worldwide and holds the record for the biggest single in history, “Candle in the Wind ’97″, which has sold over 37 million copies to date. Since John’s career began in 1969, he as performed over 3,000 concerts everywhere from Toronto to Tokyo and Rome to Rio de Janeiro.
Want to win two, main-floor seating tickets? Once the Convention & Visitors Bureau reaches 2,000 and 2,500 “likes” on our Facebook page, we will draw from all our friends!
There are some great events coming up this week in Greater Grand Forks no matter what your interests are. Why not check out these events or log on to our calendar for more events. Please also share with us the type of events you would like to see in our simply grand communities!
Under the expert direction of 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 top players returning, including former Olympians Monique and Jocelyn Lamoureax, UND is sure to see playoff action again this season.
The University of North Dakota Men’s Hockey team, with veteran coach Dave Hakstol at the helm, is looking to repeat as WCHA champions. The whole crowd will jump to their feet after every goal and with future NHL stars like Danny Kristo, Corban Knight and Derek Forbot on the ice, 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 of delicious food and beverages is what you’re looking for, pay a visit to one of the many concession areas located throughout.
If you don’t want to miss out on all the fun, purchase tickets right now by going to fightingsioux.com.
October 15 & 16 (2:07 p.m.) vs. Vermont
October 21 & 22 (7:07 p.m.) vs. Ohio State
November 18 & 19 (7:07 p.m.) vs. Minnesota State
December 2 & 3 (7:07 p.m.) vs. Minnesota
December 10 & 11 (2:07 p.m.) vs. Minnesota Duluth
January 4 (7:07 p.m.) vs. Lindenwood
January 14 & 15 (2:07 p.m.) vs. Wisconsin
January 20 & 21 (7:07 p.m.) vs. St Cloud State
February 3 & 4 (7:07 p.m.) vs. Bemidji State
October 14 & 15 (7:37 & 7:07 p.m.) vs. Maine
October 28 & 29 (7:37 & 7:07 p.m.) vs. St. Cloud State
November 25 & 26 (7:37 & 7:07 p.m.) vs. Colorado College
December 9 & 10 (7:37 & 7:07 p.m.) vs. Nebraska Omaha
December 17 (7:07 p.m.) vs. Russian Red Stars
December 30 & 31 (7:37 & 7:07 p.m.) vs. Harvard
January 13 & 14 (7:37 & 7:07 p.m.) vs. Minnesota
January 27 & 28 (7:37 & 7:07 p.m.) vs. Wisconsin
February 17 & 18 (7:37 & 7:07 p.m.) vs. Michigan Tech
March 2 & 3 (7:37 & 7:07 p.m.) vs. Minnesota State
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!
Have you heard the breaking concert news yet? Popular 80s “hair” bands Skid Row and Warrant are coming to the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center on August 12! If you would like to go – without having to buy tickets – we have a proposition for you. Just submit a photo of your best 80s BIG harido and you could receive two free tickets to one of this summers hottest selling shows. If you want to throw on some parachute pants and a pair of Wayfarer sunglasses, that could only hlep your chances of winning! To enter, simply e-mail your photo to Shelley at the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau (email@example.com) or post it to our Facebook page for everyone to see! The deadline is Monday, August 5, 2011.