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West Fest - 20 years and growing stronger

Twenty years and going strong - West Fargo has ambitious plans to celebrate West Fest 2011 with the same fervor those attending have been accustomed to in the past.

The annual community observance that typically draws in thousands with its great family-based appeal has been scheduled for a two-day run Saturday, Sept. 17, and Sunday, Sept. 18.

The only difference this year is that West Fest is being coordinated by the City of West Fargo, instead of the West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce who relinquished the activity upon their merger with the Fargo Moorhead Chamber of Commerce earlier this year.

At that time there was concern the popular, growing event would not have the people resources to carry on, so the city stepped up to the plate to take over coordination ensuring that West Fest would indeed continue.

According to event chairperson Dorinda Anderson, who serves as business development director for the city, it will be "business as usual" with the big 20th anniversary celebration. "We want to make sure people understand West Fest is still going to occur just like it has. We are going to try and mirror everything from last year during our transitional phase from Chamber to city-based event."

She noted that some commitments are already in place - Penny and Pals, the family fun activities at South Elementary School, and the concluding fireman's ball at the Fairgrounds.

"We are still working out the details," Anderson said, the "we" a reference to a variety of volunteer subcommittees comprised of community individuals with a special interest in seeing West Fest succeed.

Longtime West Fargo resident Larry Lubben is serving as publicity director.

Lubben reiterated that the goal with the new West Fest leadership will be "to maintain the same activities as last year until everyone is familiar with how the process works and then grow the event in future years."

Right now part of the focus is on Saturday's grand parade, including selecting a grand marshal to lead the procession. Both individuals and organizations are encouraged to participate in the parade, for which registration forms will be available soon.

Vendors are also being sought to man food concessions.

Anderson points out that the annual observance will once again provide the perfect setting to tie in other community-oriented activities, like class and family reunions, and any other types of homecoming celebrations.

On a related note, the city staff will also be taking on the responsibility of promoting the popular, annual Cruise Night which lines Sheyenne Street the third Thursday of each month, May through September, making the September event a major kick off for West Fest 2011, which many will view as the perfect introduction.

More information about all West Fest and Cruise Night activities will be forthcoming as they are finalized.

Various West Fest links, including parade registration forms and other correlating information, will be available soon on the city's website at