By Laura Grimm
Winter is heating up with the second annual Frostival, which will take place Jan. 27-28 in various locations around Fargo and Moorhead.
Dannielle Riley is the manager of the visitor center for the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau. She sees Frostival as a fun way to provide vital community bonding during the long winters.
“Frostival was started because there was a need for us as a community to embrace winter instead of shying away from it,” Riley said. “Frostival made it possible for people to be able to participate in events outside in the middle of January, even in our cold and snowy weather.”
The cold can be a hindrance to tourism during winter, especially when Fargo-Moorhead residents complain about the sub-zero temperatures, freezing wind chills and heaps of snow that line the sidewalks. With Frostival, these annoyances become the basis for a variety of events.
“We hope to get residents and visitors alike to not be afraid of the cold and to become ambassadors for the area instead of putting it down because of the weather,” Riley said.
While last year’s Frostival went well, it also taught the organizers what they needed to improve for the second time around.
“We learned a lot about the different ways to battle the cold and make sure there are enough options not only for participants but also for volunteers to stay warm,” Riley said. “There have been a lot of different obstacles that the planners have had to overcome.”
Some of the obstacles stem from the scope and sheer number of activities that take place during Frostival, but Riley is confident that this young winter celebration will continue to grow.
“It has been difficult learning what types of permits and licenses you need for different things throughout the event,” Riley said. “Over time and working with more people who want to make the event better, it will be easier to organize and to make the event even better.”
Frostival can also be a way for students in the area to get off campus and participate in the greater Fargo-Moorhead area.
“I think it’s a fun way to get residents involved in the community during the winter months,” sophomore Steven Westra said. “There are a lot of fun opportunities. Good food, good people.”
MSUM’s chemistry and biochemistry club, which Westra is involved in, ran a booth at Frostival last year and will be participating again.
“Last year the chemistry club handed out samples of Dippin’ Dots made using ice cream mix and liquid nitrogen, as well as slime,” Westra said. “This year we’ll just be giving out ice cream samples.”
Their booth will be near the doors inside the train depot from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28. Flavors include vanilla and chocolate, but Westra warns that eating the ice cream too soon can leave scars from frostbite on tongues and cheeks.
Besides providing free ice cream to celebrate winter, the chemistry and biochemistry club hopes to spread knowledge about science in a way that interests visitors.
“They watch; we educate and entertain,” Westra said.
In particular, they hope to educate children about the science department at MSUM.
“The president of the chemistry club, Taysir Bader, was approached by the science department outreach position, Shireen Alemadi,” Westra said. “We were invited to provide an educational entertainment opportunity to raise interest in MSUM’s science colleges.”
Westra believes that community outreach can have long-term outcomes for the university.
“It engenders a positive relationship with MSUM and encourages children to consider MSUM for their higher education opportunities.”
This year, Frostival added new sports like snow volleyball and the END NORSE (North of Routine Snow Experience) race. The old Schumacher Goodyear building will serve as the kick-off location and base camp, featuring heated tents and a beer garden. Returning activities include sled races, a family dance and a chili feed. Some events are free, while others require a registration fee. The list of events and how to register can be found on Frostival’s website.
Riley expects this year to be even more of a success than last year.
“We are anticipating a larger turnout this year because of our marketing efforts and the amount of community support that we have received thus far,” Riley said.