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Street dance returns to West Fest this week

A gold fish and a star fish take part in the West Fest parade Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, in West Fargo. Dave Wallis / The Forum

West Fargo is taking the party back to the streets this year to celebrate the city's 26th annual West Fest.

A street dance is planned to close out the evening of Saturday, Sept. 16, instead of the annual Fireman's Ball at Veterans Memorial Arena in recent years.

Mayor Rich Mattern said West Fest used to include a street dance, but it fell by the wayside as the Fireman's Ball became more popular. This year, when the West Fargo Fire Department decided not to host the ball, Mattern said it was perfect time to return to the old tradition of street dances.

"I just thought this was our opportunity to bring it back," Mattern said. "It's probably been 10 years since we had a street dance, but every year I still get asked why we don't have a street dance."

The dance, which will feature music from The White Keys, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sheyenne Street between Third and Fourth Avenue West.

"Hopefully it's very successful, and if it is, we'll expand on it or continue," Mattern said.

One factor that contributed to the success of the Fireman's Ball was the ability for participants to bring in their own drinks, including alcohol. Mattern said like Cruise Nights, which allow for open alcohol containers on the street, the street dance will allow coolers and drinks to be brought in. However, beverages—alcoholic and non-alcoholic—will be available at the nearby VFW and SIlver Dollar.

"I don't foresee any problems," Mattern said. "There is always some concern, but I think what we learned from Cruise Night, even though there is alcohol we don't have problems. Plus it's 6 to 9 p.m. ... that's early. The restaurants will have their own entertainment after 9 [p.m.] so if they want to continue an evening out, they can continue after the dance."

Usually, the last Cruise Night of the summer kicks off West Fest. This year, the fourth and final 2017 Cruise Night will be held next week, Sept. 21. Instead, West Fest will begin Friday evening with the West Fargo Jam at the DoubleTree by Hilton, featuring West Fargo alumni and Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome, at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, all-day events are planned as well as the annual parade down Sheyenne Street, which will begin at noon. Schedule of events:

Friday, Sept. 15

7-11:30 p.m. : West Fargo Jam - Free, featuring Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome, West Fargo alumni Andrina Brodgen, Jan Maxell, Billy Maxwell and Cowboy Angel Blue, Karen Morrison, Nelson "Buzz" Benson and others.

DoubleTree by Hilton, 825 E. Beaton Drive

Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017

-7:30-10:30 a.m.: Pancake breakfast - $6 per ticket. Hosted by Blessed Sacrament Youth Ministry. Tickets purchased at the event at Blessed Sacrament, 210 Fifth Ave. W.

-8-8:30 a.m. and 9-9:30 a.m.: Fargo Fit Life Boot Camp - free

No registration necessary. Sheyenne Street between Third and Fourth Avenue West

-7-8:15 a.m.: (Registration) 8:30 a.m. West Fest Children's Fun Run. Fees and registration at Site registration available at Sheyenne Street and Second Avenue West intersection

-8:40 a.m.: West Fest 5k and 10k

Fees and registration at Site registration available 7-8:15 a.m. at Sheyenne Street and Second Avenue West intersection

-9 a.m.-3 p.m.: Coed softball tournament - $125 per team at South Elmwood Park. Fees and registration at

-10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Food court at Sheyenne Street and Third Avenue West intersection

-10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Craft and vendor show at Blessed Sacrament North parking lot

210 Fifth Ave. W.

-9:30-10:30 a.m.: Bed races (new) Sheyenne Street and Second Avenue West intersection. Participants must be at least 16, $25 per team

-10:30-11:15 a.m.: Penny & Pals, Sheyenne Street between Third and Fourth Avenue West. Free.

-Noon; West Fest Parade. Noon Sheyenne Street from Second Avenue to 10th Avenue West

-2-4:30 p.m. Family fun:TCI Insurance #88 Nascar simulator, FM Walleye's Kid's Fishing Clinic, Games to Go inflatables, face painting, Red River Zoo Mobile, martial arts, library, caricature artists, balloon sculptor, magic show and food. Free. Blessed Sacrament and Sukut Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenue West

-3-4:40 p.m. VFW Bingo

-4:30-5:30 p.m. VFW meat raffle

-3-5 p.m. 188th Army Band Performance — free. North Elmwood Park

-6-9 p.m. West Fest Street Dance (new) free; featuring The White Keys

Sheyenne Street between Third and Fourth Avenue West

Sunday, Sept. 17

1-3 p.m. Honkin' Haulin' "Hands on Trucks" (new) — Free

Veterans Memorial Arena, 1201 7th Ave. E., event will be held in parking lot

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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