FargoStuff Blog - Fargo Shirts, Fargo Gifts & Merchandise
An artist of many trades is hard to come by. They work in different mediums, learning the ins and outs of each platform to furthermore push their capabilities. This alone sets them apart - they "march to the beat of their own drum." And, as it turns out, FargoStuff is lucky enough to have this kind of artist right on our site. Without further ado, we are happy to introduce our Featured Artist, Nancy Baier. Read on to learn more about Nancy, her artistic capabilties, and the advice she has to share with up-and-coming artists.
Aerial View - Nancy Baier
Woodland - Nancy Baier
I was born and raised in Michigan – in the Detroit area. Growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, our suburb was a small town. Later, I moved farther out, then to the “middle of the mitten,” and now here I am in Fargo, ND.
Out of the Woods - Nancy Baier
Moonlight Visitor - Nancy Baier
As a younger child, I remember loving to color… but what I loved most was blending the crayon colors. Then as a teenager, I found that I could draw things I saw very easily. The sense of proportion and perspective was natural to me. In my 20s, I worked as a technical illustrator and that ability had a tremendous impact on my skills. I made illustrations for technical manuals using everything from blueprints to actual vehicles. It may not sound too exciting but it was truly rewarding to earn my living by drawing! My work was also well-recognized by my peers and superiors which was great motivation.
Sediment - Nancy Baier
Island Espcape - Nancy Baier
The varied landscapes I’ve experienced in traveling throughout the U.S. and Canada have a huge influence on my work, and I find nature to be endlessly inspiring. The natural world permeates my very desire to create.
Dead Tree Landscape - Nancy Baier
Distance - Nancy Baier
Riverside - Nancy Baier
Trinity - Nancy Baier
Early on, my primary medium was pen & ink. A little over ten years ago, I began illustrating for rubber stamp companies and independently under the name Shady Tree Studio, LLC. Some of my illustration work can be found here (although my background given on this page has never been accurate!)
Snow Hare - Nancy Baier
Seaside - Nancy Baier
More recently, I discovered other mediums and moved on, marching to the beat of my own drum. Now I work in polymer clay, encaustic wax, printmaking, and have recently begun to learn the art of needle felting. I have a goal to combine fiber work with polymer clay. Stay tuned! Each medium has its own rewards and its own season. Quite literally. I prefer to cure my clay out of doors and in Fargo, in the wintertime, that is somewhat challenging. So I have pursued linocut, drawing, encaustic painting, and now the needle felting, in the meantime. But planning polymer clay projects is never far from mind. It is also exciting being involved in the polymer clay community as this product makes headway toward being more widely accepted as an artistic pursuit. I have been told that it is not typical to work competently with so many art mediums. In some ways, I would like to “settle down” into a specific method and recognizable style. I feel that every exploration is a process of discovery and one step closer to finding my own voice in art.
"The natural world permeates my very desire to create."
Botany - Nancy Baier
Birch Grove - Nancy Baier
Felix - Nancy Baier
Fox in the Forest - Nancy Baier
Purple Flowers - Nancy Baier
If I have any advice to give someone wishing to pursue art, it would be to consider these components to living creatively:
1. Observe. The world around you. In detail. The big picture. There is inspiration everywhere.
2. Skill and talent. You can learn the skills. And you need to tune into your natural talents. Run with it.
3. Desire. Nurture it. Discover what moves you and why. It will help you find your way.
4. Discipline. People make time for things that bring them joy. Artists make art, so do it. Set goals. (Easy to say, hard to do. We all have busy lives and this will be your greatest challenge.)
We'd like to extend a sincere thank you to Nancy Baier for taking the time to give us a look inside her artistic life. Artists like her gift us with enticing visuals, and we love taking every opportunity to highlight our artists. If you'd like to see more of Nancy's work, that otherwise may not be on our site, visit her site! Check out her artwork we have available to purchase right on FargoStuff - these prints don't disappoint, and they are avaiable on different substrates! Again, thank you to Nancy Baier and cheers to local art!
Spring is a highly anticipated season around our neck of the woods. With the official spring season “arriving” in less than two weeks, it’s only necessary we prepare you for Spring in Fargo. Here are 5 things to keep in mind as we welcome this season back with open arms!
Spring begins March 20th, but don’t expect it until about… May
The official first day of Spring is technically March 20th, but the groundhog saw his shadow so we may not see the snow truly start to melt for a little while yet! We’ve made it to the homestretch, however. Keep in mind: March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb; and we have to get through April showers before we start to see May flowers! Cliché? Maybe. But totally accurate. Moral of the story, May will be a good month!
Car Washes: The more the merrier
Spring brings flowers, sunshine, smiles… and a little mud. Not to mention the salt mixed in with the slush. Getting into parent-mode here, but take care of your car and your car will take care of you! That salt will cause rust and that rust will put a damper on your spring vibe.
Expect to see an influx of short-sleeved tee’s and outside exercise!
Us North Dakotans and Minnesotans may get a little ahead of ourselves, but 50 degree days and sunshine? Oh man, the summer clothes tote is making its way back into the sunlight. The 6 months of winter are graciously peeled away layer after layer when that first nice day hits. Expect to see everyone and their dog [literally] out and about, smiling and waving with feel good vibes hittin’ you in all directions! Be on guard, though. The Midwest is notorious for its “False Spring,” as my coworker best puts it. “False Spring” is where we go through that first nice day with all those feel goods; we pack up our winter gear, get a carwash, and break out the country tunes (because we all know country and sunshine just go together). Then, the next week we have blizzard. Fret not, spring is coming eventually!
Day-light savings time – clocks spring forward!
Thanks to the phone that’s probably in close vicinity, day-light savings isn’t quite as tough as it used to be. As far as manually setting the time forward, that is. Oversleeping, however, is a battle I think we all have to fight. But, day-light savings means more sunlight! Sunlight gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!
It’s a short lived season, enjoy the blooming while we have it!
Spring, much like Fall, comes and goes quicker than we’d like. So enjoy watching spring do its thing right in front of your eyes. We are a fortune area to be able to experience all four seasons – some more extreme than others! But Spring is a special one for us and we’re excited to welcome it back.
FargoStuff is a one-stop-shop when it comes to Fargo apparel. If you’re a local and proud, you can guarantee we have a shirt for that. Allow us to introduce you to our unique array of Fargo shirts. But first, can we appreciate that they’re available in onesies?
We’ve got your “Drink Local” tee’s, your Fargo lingo tee’s, and of course we’ve got the infamous Fargo Theatre tee’s. If t-shirts aren’t your style this time of year, they look great under a cardigan or sweater! Sometimes, these gems can get lost in the sea of scrolling, so we thought we’d resurface them for all to see.
The beauty of the apparel at Fargo Stuff is that they are one-of-a-kind - only available on our site and through our vendors. If you’re curious who those vendors may be, check them out! Need another perk? You have the ability to submit an idea on paper onto cotton through us! Send us your design, and our art and sublimation team will bring it to life. This retail shop has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. Too much? Maybe. Learn something new? You betcha.
As always, we love hearing from our customers, and welcome suggestions with open arms. While you’re here, take a browse through these shirts, and enjoy 10% off today only. Cheers!
Have you ever been so caught up in a good book, or a so drawn to a piece of art that you catch yourself involuntarily smiling to yourself? That’s what happens when you see Rebecca Raber’s photographs. You might find yourself wearing that same smile after reading through this description about her life, her photography, and her journey, as well. Not only does she have an acute eye for photography, but she has a sharp ear for music and a talented hand at writing. Her insightful views are refreshing; and her local, North Dakotan background makes this featured artist all the better. Here at FargoStuff, we’re pretty big fans of our local artists, and we hope you enjoy learning more about them as we do. Read on, support local art, and enjoy!
Rebecca and Michael Raber - Italy
I grew up on a farm just outside Pisek, North Dakota. I am very grateful for that experience, because I know I first grew to appreciate beauty in those endless summer sunsets on the farm, looking through frosty windowpanes, or when my Dad would take us out to see when the mayflowers were first starting to appear.
I graduated with three other students, all of us being involved in everything that was available (in a very typical ND high school experience). I attended Jamestown College and earned degrees in Music Education and History/Political Science. I taught music for five years before earning my Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting at the University of North Dakota, where I stayed to direct their popular Men’s Choir, the Varsity Bards, for five years. Afterwards, my wonderful husband, Michael (pictured above) and I made our home in Fargo, where I taught at Shanley High School for 14 years, while also working towards my doctoral degree in Choral Conducting at NDSU. We have since moved to Bismarck, where we both work at the University of Mary.
"I am very grateful for that experience, because I know I first grew to appreciate beauty in those endless summer sunsets on the farm, looking through frosty windowpanes, or when my Dad would take us out to see when the mayflowers were first starting to appear."
A Day in the Life:
Honestly, my drive out to the University (in the country, south of Bismarck) is always a highlight of my day, because the landscape is so beautiful. Frequently, I’ll stop to take photos in a few of the favorite spots I have, the Apple Creek crossing and the River Bottoms…both are really close to campus. In the fall and spring, the fog will hang in the sky, hovering just above the ground. It’s breathtaking! Our campus has a stunning view of the Missouri River Valley. I love it!
"At the end of the day, I’m a choir director who appreciates beauty whenever and wherever I can find it: in voices, people, or the ND countryside!"
Describe Your Start
I guess I have always taken pictures, but not always in an “intentional” way. I have a distinct memory of trying out the macro setting on my camera just for fun while shooting a flower at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. When I got the photos back and saw what it looked like because of using the macro, I was hooked. I began taking pictures in a more “intentional” way…looking for interesting lighting, subjects, shapes, colors, textures, etc. when taking my shots. I’m not formally trained, but I love to take pictures.
Most Enjoyed Photography?
I love nature and landscapes most, particularly when I’m traveling. I also am drawn to architecture, and things that are really beat-up, showing that they’ve been part of someone’s life experience. I LOVE doorknobs, windows, and doors. When I’m in Europe, Michael and I like to walk around and seek those out. I love to think about how many people have used them over time, and wonder how their lives brought them in and out of those doors over the years.
"I guess I love photographing a sense of “home”…whether that’s a lone frosty tree up the hill from my farm, a long country road, or someone’s front step."
Where Can We See Your Work?
I have a website (www.rebeccaraber.com) where I have links to my favorite kinds of photography (travel, landscape, North Dakota, and people!). I love to take senior portraits…especially of my former students, and family/friends!
What Experiences Has Photography Provided You?
Actually, I love the opposite. I love capturing my favorite moments when I’m off doing something, and then sharing the photos with others! Once, while leading a choir tour in Texas, we had a bit of a bus issue, where all the students had to get off the bus. We were close to this beautiful stream, sparkling with the late afternoon sun. I rounded up all the kids for a quick group shot while we were waiting, and it’s one of my favorite memories of our time together!
Where Would You Like to Travel?
This is my dream question. I LOVE travel, and I love to capture the places I’ve been. I would go to Europe again and again. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled there several times through music, but there is so much to see. The tricky part is whether you go back and visit your favorite places, or go to see something new! New places on my travel list would include: Budapest, Greece, St. Petersburg or Moscow, and Scandanavia.
I have recently purchased materials for watercolors---we’ll see how it goes! I’m planning on using some of my photos for the subjects.
In this digital age, you can practice without fear of failure---you just delete what you don’t like! Having a camera (phone) with you at all times is both a blessing and a curse. It’s great because you can practice freely. It’s a burden when it distracts you from being in the moment and enjoying things with your original set of lenses---your eyes!
A huge thank you goes out to Rebecca Raber for allowing FargoStuff to feature her work. You can find some of her photographs right on our site; available to purchase with the option to print on different substrates. Watch for more of Rebecca's work in the future, and let us know if you know of more local artists looking to get their name out. Afterall, we're big about supporting local art and artists!
The month of February means a few things to us fellow Fargoans: Groundhogs Day, Giving Hearts Day, and Valentine’s Day! Groundhog’s Day makes the cut because a vast majority of us don’t want that groundhog to see his shadow. No shadow means Spring! A shadow, however, means 6 more weeks of Winter…… I digress.
As noted in our last blog, Giving Hearts Day is on February 8th this year, and is known as our region’s top giving day of the year! Not only that, but we are becoming one of the top giving regions in the nation. That being said, February is quite a month for us!
Lastly, February means Valentine’s Day. Some love this day, some are indifferent, and some may be less than fond of this day. However, Valentine’s Day is a day that can be special for everyone! Below are some gift ideas that can be given to all; a friend, family member, loved one, or maybe even a stranger. A little love goes a long way.
The Fargo Sweet Tooth Basket
Taste the local sweets of our labor with this gift basket! This basket comes with the popular “Drink Local” tee, Dot’s Pretzels, Twenty Below coffee, Yeobo gummy bears, Three Bears Honey, and a Fargo mug to complete the package. A perfect gift for friends, roommates, and family!
One of the best things about art is how much it communicates without a conversation. Share a piece of art you love with the one you love! Maybe Fargo was where you started your family, or where you began your career. Maybe it was where you encountered some of the most profound acts of random kindness – what better way to commemorate that than with a Fargo print? Available on different substrates, they are sure to make this the center piece of any room.
Okay, did the heart give it away? Clearly a fitting gift for the one and only “Hearts” day, but the meaning behind it is so much more. For a limited time, these Fargo Hearts are available on our site, and every penny goes to a charity of your choice. These reclaimed wood, Fargo Hearts are an awesome gift for sisters, brothers, coworkers, loved ones, and even a stranger. There are 20 non-profits to choose from when you purchase one of your own, and if you have one in mind that’s not listed, no problem! Write-in options to donate to your favorite charity are more than welcome.
Whether you love this day or dread this day, use it as a day to give. After all, that’s the theme of Fargo’s February! As always, we love hearing feedback from you and welcome any suggestions or concerns! In the meantime, everyone cross your fingers for clouds so that Groundhog doesn’t see his shadow. Cheers!
Our “Giving Hearts” are back and [redder] than ever. We’re encouraging Fargo to go red and give back this year by purchasing these collectible, Fargo hearts. Why? Because it’s Giving Hearts Day and our region holds quite the title in the giving department.
Giving Hearts Day is hosted by the Dakota Medical, Impact, and Alex Stern Foundation. For over 10 years, this event has helped to raise money for favorite charities in our region. This day is the community's biggest giving day; and with your help, the donations keep growing. There are over 100 volunteer opportunities, upwards of 600 charities to donate to, and thus far this giving day has raised $41,690,785 for non-profits of your choice.
Last year, we decided to play into the concept of a Giving Heart. We offered these reclaimed wood, Fargo hearts pictured below and sold 115 of them! Your contributions helped us to raise $1,725 - thank you for being a giving heart!
Fargo is something that is near and dear to our hearts, so it only makes sense to offer a Fargo heart and keep it as a momento. This year, we decided to keep the size and shape of this keepsake, but revamp it by going red. This heart is something we aim to continue in the future to make it a collectible item. Who knows, in 10 years you might have a wall of Fargo Hearts. The best part? All proceeds from each sale will be donated back to the charity of your choice.
On behalf of Giving Hearts Day and your favorite charities, enjoy one of these collectible hearts and donate the proceeds to a non-profit that is near and dear to your heart. When you receive this heart, take a photo with it using the hashtag #CountMe to keep the conversation growing. Your donations will not go unnoticed. As for next year, stay tuned; we will have a slightly varied (but always lovely) new heart for you to display on your shelf. You can #CountUs this Giving Hearts Day – join the conversation to count yourself!
“Giving Hearts are donors and more. Giving Hearts volunteer. Giving Hearts join. Giving Hearts make impact.
Giving Hearts count. Especially when they beat together.” - Impact Foundation
There is something to be said about an artist who continually works to perfect his skill over the course of his career. Dan Francis epitomizes that characteristic. For over 17 years, Dan has been learning and teaching his skills, and eventually making a business out of his photography. FargoStuff chooses local artists to showcase on our site, with some of their work available for purchase. Dan’s work was chosen without hesitation. Beyond his evident skill, Dan displays the qualities we look for in a local artist; with his work ethic, keen eye, and the success he has earned with his business, he sets the bar high for local artists. In reference to Dan Francis, read on to learn more about his career, the opportunities he has earned, and advice he has to offer for up-and-coming artists.
Dan Francis is a Master Craftsman Certified photographer based out of Fargo, ND. He owns Dan Francis Photography out of his studio in north Fargo. He specializes in quality work and looks to create beautiful memories for his clients. His mission is to make sure you get those memories printed and up on the wall or in an album.
"Dan Francis, I’m from all the way out west….of Fargo as I grew up in West Fargo. I would always draw during class, while math was my least favorite subject; I took 8 different art classes in high school and found my art with a camera and Photoshop. I graduated from what was called Northwest Tech in Graphic Design. I was a runner in high school and I was captain of my Cross Country and Track team. At a certain point after graduation I picked up tennis. During college I worked at the Fargodome setting up and taking down events, worked at the Redhawks stadium, and also was a graphic design tutor in my college days for a couple of students. From 2009 to 2015 I taught Intro to photography and Intro to Advance Photoshop at M State in Moorhead, MN. In that time, I taught hundreds of people the joy of photography and the power of the moment captured."
"I found my art with a camera and Photoshop."
Photo from Dan Francis Photography
A Day in the Life:
"Every day is different, except right away in the morning. I start my day as a dad first. I usually get my son ready for school and I walk him to school, with our dog, to get some fresh air and slowly take the day in. It always start this way; after that, I either head back home to make myself breakfast and look through emails for scheduling or after the walk I jump into my car to do a session at the studio or an on-location session. I try to schedule most of my sessions earlier in the day because that way I can have my afternoons open to edit or take care of things at home or the studio. I do all my editing and choosing of images because I know what I’m looking for and I’ve got it down to a pretty quick turnaround for my clients. I do a lot of my editing later at night with the prime time being 9pm-1am. With photography, only about 15% is actually taking pictures. The rest of the time I’m running my business with education/marketing/invoicing/responding to emails/editing, location driving."
Photo from Dan Francis Photography
Describe Your Start:
"I've been practicing photography for just a few weeks plus give or take 17 years. As soon as I got out of high school I traveled and brought my film camera. Yes, I brought 6 canisters of film, which is around 144 images to Australia and Hawaii. Now that seems like something that could have been taken the first few hours on vacation with a camera/phone. But that was the first set of building blocks in my training. Is this picture worth taking? Could I take it closer, or maybe use this composition before I actually clicked the button. I only have 144 exposures (without having to buy more film) will it be worth $4 to get it exposed for the roll? I took a photography class in college. Since my interest was in Photoshop, taking photography was just the building blocks. Upon getting a job a week out of college at a photography studio it all came full circle and it was etched in the stone of destiny."
"All I had to do was educate myself every day, learn something new, make A LOT of mistakes and have the ability to play."
Photo from Dan Francis Photography
"It started with a jump into Graphic Design during my college years, while I did some film developing in high school, my first year in college I had a digital photography class. I had been working on Photoshop version 5 (1999) a year earlier and those two things together just clicked with me. Photography and Photoshop, just like Peanut Butter and Jelly. After college I got a job working at a photography studio and I worked there for 6 years before starting my own business. That type of work now-a-days is hard to find, most people just jump into it. Which can be fine, but I had a great education working in a studio and slowly developed my craft before I began my business."
Photo from Dan Francis Photography
Most Enjoyed Photography?
"It’s always changing. I love the variety of my art. If you asked me 10-12 years ago, it would have been landscape. Drop me off at a national park and I could shoot all day. But as my craft evolved; so did my vision. Now it’s portraits, which at first was hard for me because I’m a shy introvert with the ability to be an extrovert but only for a short amount of time. I realized that many stories of mine that I wanted to tell needed people to tell them. So most of my self-created images are friends and family. I would say story driven art is always my goal whether it’s landscape, portraits, or weddings."
Photo from Dan Francis Photography
Where Can We See Your Work?
"My client list is mostly downtown Fargo clients, I’ve worked with the Fargo Theatre since 2007, I’ve worked with the Kilbourne Group since 2009 and photographed the first 6 TEDx events as well. You may have seen my past work at the Spirit Room, Uptown Gallery, and now I’m currently showing work on my own wall at the Revland Gallery and have a few selected pieces at the Fargo Stuff store to purchase. Also, you can see some of my commercial work every month in the Midwest Nest Magazine."
Photo from Dan Francis Photography
What Sets You Apart?
"Quality Education from person to person and international competition. From 8am-1am I was involved in photography and Photoshop in my younger years. I soaked up as much quality education as I could. I began going to competitions very early in my career, listening to master photographers talking about the craft. There was one day a month that photographers would meet up and have a guest speaker from all over the nation. Sadly, most of that doesn’t happen and it’s moved to online interaction. Also, my ability to use natural or artificial light is a quality that sets me apart. And lastly, my ability to use Photoshop as a tool and not a crutch. I began my education 17 years ago and have now completed a second degree through Professional Photographers of America (PPA). I’m currently the only Master Craftsman Certified photographer in Fargo."
"I soaked up as much quality education as I could."
Photo from Dan Francis Photography
What Experiences has Photography Provided for You?
"Being able to show my art to those that are interested in photography and showing them something that sparks imagination into their own work has been an experience. Photographing Downtown Fargo in the last decade, I’ve gotten to experience some great events; TEDxFargo, Alley Fairs, The Fargo Film Festivals, Frostival, and concerts. Just last year I got to spend the day with Sean Astin (from Rudy, Goonies, and Lord of the Rings) photographing him for the Fargo Theatre. My Fargo Past and Present creations have brought so many great conversations with people that have lived here for decades. And, of course, traveling. I’ve been to Australia and 35 states in America. I’m really fortunate that I’ve been able to do this full time the last 9 years and also to get a job in the photo industry right out of college."
Photo from Dan Francis Photography
"Starting photography I would simply say shoot every day, train your eye in composition, color, and impactful stories. If you want to photograph people, find the most interesting faces you can. If you want to photograph landscape, find the most interesting landscape you can. One image that I did was the escalator in Theodore Roosevelt National Park; there are many eye catching images, but I captured a working escalator in the middle of a national park that makes people not believe it was there. If advice for photography business: Photograph perfect practice and if you have a job that isn’t photography related, keep that job until you feel your photography has a foundation and you are losing money by not photographing. In a business that most people consider a hobby; you’ve got to have good business skills and plan or you won’t last 2 years. You can’t just do it for the love/passion of it. You have to price your work and time so you can keep going and creating memories for your clients and their kids 50 years from now."
"Take it to the next level whenever you can, create a style that is yours and get it in front of the right kind of clients that see value of your art." - Dan Francis
Photo from Dan Francis Photography
A huge thank you goes out to Dan Francis for providing excellent feedback about his background and photography, and a slideshow displaying his popular work. We look forward to learning more about our artists, and seeing more of Dan’s work throughout the community! Fortunately for you, we have some of Dan’s photographs available right on our site, and they can be printed on different materials. Remember, support local art and let your Midwestern work ethic take you far – you may be presented with the opportunities that Dan Francis has had.
“Passion is in all great searches and is necessary to all creative endeavors.” - W. Eugene Smith
There are a plethora of benefits to being an e-commerce company. For our customers, it’s convenient to open your browser, look over the inventory, and decide what’s right for you without leaving your home. On our side of things, we can easily track every order, maintain inventory and redecorate our website without having to run over to the hardware store.
One thing that’s difficult about being an e-commerce company, however, is the lack of customer contact. For those ordering from us, it can be difficult to give your credit card information to a website without knowing where it’s going, or who’s processing it. For us, it can be difficult to build a trusting relationship with you lovely folk between computer screens. With that, we introduce to you…. the FargoStuff Staff.
For those of you who might not be familiar with FargoStuff, we’re actually the sister company to Office Sign Company. Office Sign is also an e-commerce company located in downtown Fargo, which specializes in manufacturing interior signage. As you can imagine, the staff at OSC is also the staff at FargoStuff. Mind boggling.
The staff here consists of multiple departments. We’ve got your ever-so-friendly group of customer service reps who handle your orders, and the talented art department who occasionally designs some products to be offered right on our website. Along with that, provide stellar product photography for you to enjoy.
We’ve got the marketing department who handles the giveaways, promos and everything else you might stumble across on social media. The rockstars in the web department who keep this site maintained, stylish, and user friendly. Of course, we wouldn’t be where we are without the help of our accountant. We’ve got account managers; we’ve got specialists in vinyl, Braille, engraving, sublimation and inventory. And of course, we have the quality control specialists who send you your orders in tip-top shape.
Big or small, we all play a role in FargoStuff and we love getting the chance to recieve feedback from all of you! We always welcome suggestions, comments, or overall reviews of how we handled your order. Follow us on our social sites to see behind-the-scenes work for our awesome staff, and check out Office Sign Company while you're at it. Stay tuned, however, for our upcoming blog posts shining some light on our FargoStuff Artists. Cheers!
If you have ever read Marc de Celle’s Close Encounters of the Fargo Kind, you know of the incredible acts of kindness that he’s written about within Fargo. The title of the book says it all. The Fargo kind is simply that: The Fargo Kind. The people that make up this town, this state, and pretty much this tri-state area are few and far between. Now, I won’t turn this blog into a book review because I don’t want to strip you of the opportunity to read a truly heartwarming book. But rather, I’d like to add my own story about paying it forward: Fargo Edition.
Because this site reaches a vast majority, I like to give a little background about Fargo and North Dakota to those who may not understand the culture. For those who haven’t experienced them, Fargo winters can be brutal. Today, there is 30% visibility on the roads. It is currently -5° as a high, and tonight it will get as low as 22° below. The -5° temperature is actually quite welcomed here. However, there are a few factors I haven’t mentioned. The 30 mile per hour wind makes that balmy -5° temperature feel like -30°. And tonight, it will feel like -50°.
There is a point to all this meteorologist talk – stay with me.
Because these winter conditions are normal for our area, we know how to prepare. Nine out of 10 vehicles you see driving down the interstate more than likely have a winter survival tote tucked away in the trunk. This tote consists of the following:
• Warm winter boots - and I’m not talking stylish boots. “These boots are made for walking [through snow drifts]”
• Extra gloves and hat. Shamless plug: we have a new hat available for all your frozen endeavors (pictured below)
• Wool socks and a face mask
• A parka for the passenger who just decided to wear a brisk wind breaker.
• Shovel – THIS IS NOT A DRILL
• Portable air compressor – these things are a blessing
• Windshield scraper and brush
• Cell phone charger
• Flashlight, water, snack food, matches, OH MY!
• Sand – yes, sand. No, not because you plan for a make-shift beach. It provides traction when you’re stuck in a rut.
• Emergency reflectors and jumper cables to name a few.
However, there is still that one vehicle that comes less than prepared. Maybe that vehicle has California plates? Regardless, there is still a point to all this.
Last week while making my drive home from work, the lane to merge onto interstate was at a complete stop. The weather had warmed up to a point where it was above freezing earlier that weekend, but that day it was subzero temperature with conditions similar to the weather today, as described earlier. What happens to the roads when it goes from above freezing to below freezing? Slick, black ice makes its grand appearance. Vehicles without 4-wheel drive cringe at these conditions.
As curiosity would have it, I looked around to see what the cause of the halt was. While squinting through the blizzard arising, I looked to my left and saw the source. There was a three-car accident with each vehicle facing a different direction and car parts scattered around the street. Thankfully, no one was hurt. As emergency management would have it, the firefighters, ambulance, and police were there within minutes to help.
You may have caught on to what was mentioned, however. The accident that happened was to my left, not ahead of me. The vehicles in my lane could very well have continued on their route and let the firefighters, ambulance, and police aid the accident. My lane didn’t stop to stare while they helped, however – they stopped to help, too.
I know this isn’t a new occurrence – people help. But the people around me truly astonished me at their acts of kindness. They were quite literally giving these people the coats off of their backs! In front of me, people were getting out of their cars and into their winter survival tote to give coats, hats, gloves, blankets, even snacks to the people involved in this accident.
As I watched, I couldn’t help but feel proud to be a part of this community. Some of the people involved in that accident were not clothed well for that frigid winter day, and I can imagine how grateful they were to those who offered their belongings to help them. Eventually, my lane started to inch forward and everyone seemed to drive with just a bit more caution than they otherwise might have. The whole way home, I thought about the power of paying it forward and how Fargo has truly set a standard in random acts of kindness.
Marc de Celle tells the stories of the Fargo Kind best in his book, Close Encounters of the Fargo Kind. And as luck would have it, we have it available right on this very site. If you feel as though you need your faith in humanity restored, give this book a read. Try not to tear up and smudge the pages. For those reading this blog who aren’t familiar with Fargo, you may way to take a visit after reading his book.
I’m closing this blog with a simple favor: pay it forward. Or, as a Fargoan would have it, Pay it Far|ward. One thing I personally remind myself of daily is to look for opportunity. This is applicable to any situation – work, class, investments, or even helping others. If you are willing and able and you’re encountered with an opportunity to help someone, take that opportunity. Then… well, I think you’re picking up on things.
Thank you for reading this blog and we hope we were able to share a little Fargo culture with you! As always, we love hearing from our customers and we always welcome feedback, questions, and concerns. Stay warm out there and bulk up your winter survival tote – it’s a brisk one today, folks. Cheers!
Pay it Far | Ward
Ah, Fargo. We love you, but you’re cold. Every year a lot of us seem to forget that winter actually continues after the holiday season. Come January 2nd we’re out with the snow and ready for sunshine and blue skies. Not to snow on your parade, but that’s exactly what will happen until about mid-April. You may come to find yourself spending the next month locked away in your home watching Netflix and drinking soup like it’s going out of style.
If this is you currently, don’t be ashamed. Perhaps you haven’t heard of The Fargo Beat yet. The Fargo Beat has been sending weekly emails since 2008 to subscribers informing them of what’s going on around the community. In reference to their helpful winter tips, we’re going to get you through this cold month (and winter) ahead. We've got the clothing to keep you warm. Get out of your slippers and into your snow boots – we’re going on a sleigh ride. Here are a few suggestions to have a little fun while you’re waiting on spring.
(Photo via www.fmsertoma.com/holiday-lights)
Holiday lights at Lindenwood Park
For the past 19 years, Lindenwood Park has provided the city of Fargo with a beautiful light display that the whole family can enjoy. The park is open December 1st through the 31st from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM. Admissions are $6.00 per car or van, or $5.00 with canned goods for the local food pantries. Buses and limousines are welcome with a $10.00 admission, too!
(Photo via www.detroitzooblog.org)
Zoo Year’s Eve
Zoo Year’s Eve, located at the Red River Zoo will be taking place December 31st from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. This is a free event including carousel rides, animal encounters, Zoo Year’s resolutions, and a countdown to the New Year each hour. This is a great outing for a family celebration!
Fargo Theatre Entertainment
Stop in at Fargo’s iconic theatre downtown Fargo and enjoy The Disaster Artist and The Darkest Hour, showing December 29th through January 4th! Showtimes will vary, so check out their website to see what works best for you. Don’t schedule around your Netflix show either – the Fargo Theatre is a better setting.
Living in the Fargo Moorhead area means there are multiple sporting events to attend. Between the tri-college universities and local Fargo teams (Invaders, Force, Redhawks, FM Derby Girls, etc.), it’s pretty hard to say “there’s nothing to do in this town.” Get your pom-poms and your foam finger out – we’re getting our sports on.
Friday December 29th
- NDSU Women's Basketball vs Dakota State
- Fargo Force vs Sioux Falls - With every reserved seat ticket sold, $1 will be donated back to benefit Adopt-A-Pet Fargo/Moorhead!
Saturday, December 30th
- Concordia Men's Basketball vs St. Scholastica
- NDSU Men's Basketball vs Jamestown
- Fargo Force vs Omaha – Cowbells will be given to the first 500 fans through the doors!
Tuesday, January 2nd
- NDSU Women's basketball vs South Dakota
Wednesday, January 3rd
- Concordia Men's Basketball vs St. John's
- NDSU Men's Basketball vs South Dakota State
- Concordia Women's Basketball vs Saint Benedict
Saturday, January 6th
- NDSU Men’s Football vs JMU – Frisco, TX
Join In On The Happenings
If you'd rather play sports than watch them, we have a few suggestions for you, too. Get out of your snow boots and into some (warm) running shoes!
For ages 15 and older, candlelight yoga is “practiced in the gentle glow of candle light, this all-levels class is designed to help you relax, melt away tension, decrease feelings of stress, and increase a sense of peacefulness,” according to The Beat. As for admissions, YMCA Members have the option to a free will donation. For all non-members, it’s a $5 admission. The best part? All proceeds benefit LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA.
Stop in January 12th, February 9th, or March 9th from 6:45-8:00 PM at Fercho YMCA. There is limited space available! Only a small amount of mats will be provided, so bring a water bottle and a mat! Get flexible, people!
The 8th annual B-B-BRRR Winter Classic
On Sunday, January 28th at 1:30pm, get cruising and stay warm at the B-B-BRRR Winter Classic 10K!
“The course begins in Wildflower Grove Park, just south of Oak Grove Park, and takes riders of all abilities through a variety of terrain; pedaling across bike paths, prairie tundra and the frozen Red River of the North. The route for this race is dependent on weather conditions, but regardless of the weather, the race will go on!” To register, visit www.greatridesfargo.org. There’s an early bird of $30 before January 25th, so get movin’ and start training!
Maple River Winery Community Appreciation Weekend
Enjoy some wine and spirit samplings and sales on Pride of Dakota products! From December 29th to the 31st , take a quick stroll over to historic downtown Casselton, North Dakota to find the Maple River Wine for you.
No, wine sampling is not qualified as exercise. We just wanted to see if you were paying attention.
Sadly, the go-to barn for some swing dancing and country music located North of Arthur, ND burned down in October of this year. Formerly known as Johnson’s Barn, this place was a staple to the Arthur community, serving as a dance hall for 60 plus years. To keep the dancing alive, there has been a GoFundMe page created to rebuild this legacy!
Are You Not Entertained?
But wait, there’s more! The Fargodome and the Sanctuary Events Center will be hosting a few entertainments throughout the month of January. Check them out and see if one catches your eye!
- Kevin Hart - January 19th, Fargodome
- Wizard of Oz - January 23rd, Fargodome
- An Afternoon With Koo Koo Kanga Roo - January, 27th, Sanctuary Events Center
- Chad Daniels - January 27th, Sanctuary Events Center
Thanks to weekly emails from places like The Fargo Beat, there are plenty of ways to keep up with what’s going on in the community. Don’t sulk into the winter blues, curled up with your cat on a perfectly nice 15 degree day. Those days are rare happenings around here, so take advantage if you can! To find out more about what’s going on outside your frosted window, subscribe to The Fargo Beat and like their page on Facebook. Maybe you have a suggestion to add to their weekly newsletter? Send it over!Regardless, we love Fargo and we love letting you in on what's going on around this community. Thank you to The Fargo Beat for keeping us in the loop. Subscribe and stay tuned for what else is in store! In the meantime, enjoy what Fargo has to offer during this cold month. Before you know, your frosted window will be clear with this view.