Almost 40 years ago I lived across the Red River from Fargo, North Dakota for two academic years. I arrived in Moorhead, Minnesota from the farm after graduating in a class of 50. Fargo was like the celebrity I wanted to date but never could get near. It was urban, glamorous and intimidating to a kid with little, I mean, no, street sense.
Fast forward to Fall 2015. I now have a major crush on Fargo and I am no longer threatened by its size and swagger. In fact, I recently spent the weekend with Fargo and think I’m in love. I’ve been around a few blocks in the past four decades: Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Charleston, Omaha and a host of others in between. I know a good catch when I experience one, and Fargo’s a catch. Maybe a keeper.
- Totally unpretentious. That is what their marketing materials say, and in this case, it’s true. I spent a Saturday roaming through museums, visiting a street market, listening to a fantastic musician and eating in an outstanding Vietnamese restaurant, rivaling San Francisco’s best. The entire time I was met and greeted by friendly, helpful, fashionably forward staffers who projected a love of what they were doing. None were too cool for themselves or lacking in service. Very appealing. Fargo has an urban, contemporary vibe without being aware of how cool it is. Charming.
- Traffic Moves. I arrived during what most urban areas call ‘rush hour’ and the interstate highways were busy, but moving. The drivers were, shall I say, compassionate. I merged without fear of collision or sweaty palms because with advanced signaling, those behind slowed and let me in, some waving me over, and those approaching, eased over. I want them all to drive where I live and be an example for others. Compassion over rage…oh be still my heart.
- Looked Cute and Smelled Clean. Fargo’s growing. Traveling north on Interstate 29, one can see apartment buildings under construction to the east. What I didn’t see was debris in ditches, roadways or on site. I filled my tank and didn’t spot one piece of litter anywhere. I continued on to the airport with the windows rolled down, and while the wind was rather blustery, the air smelled clean and the abundant green grass was litter free. It’s clear Fargo cares about its physical appearance and cleanliness. Good enough to show off to others, for sure. Maybe even introduce to my friends real soon.
- Social Conscience. Walking downtown, I followed musical sounds and discovered the Red River Market and #FMUglyFood-a group committed to furthering the discussion about food waste on a local, regional and national level. The group encourages all to buy imperfect produce rather than have it go to waste. I’m hooked. I’m imperfect and certainly compatible with others less than perfect too. I can get behind a good cause with you Fargo.
- Athletic and Physically Fit. Driving east on Main Street, I nearly lost count of the number of athletic facilities one could visit, including an indoor city sponsored recreation center-ideal for winter, which has to be Fargo’s least attractive trait. [We’ll have to talk about that, if this goes any further.] There are walking trails, parks and boat landings along the Red River, encouraging citizens to be active. Even the airport’s waiting area has a well manicured walking trail. Active bodies. Active minds. Good fit. ESPN has hosted College Football Game Day in Fargo two years in a row. Apparently I’m not the only one crushing on Fargo. Seems I have some high profile competition.
Have you gone a little bit north and visited Fargo? Are you also crushing on it? If so, what do you find most appealing, and why? Comment.
Wanna make a move on Fargo? Check it out.
Copyright. August 2015. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved.