From The Left: Five Things Every North Dakotan Should Do This Summer

A while back, I wrote about how I feel that North Dakotan’s need to take a little more pride in our state. Our population is growing like crazy and we have some amazing economic conditions however, it often seems we take a very passive liking to our state.

I don’t understand this.

Even though the state is very hostile to my political views, I really do enjoy living and raising my family here. So, as the weather warms outside, I thought I would fun to create a list of 5 things every North Dakotan should do this summer. I don’t care if you just moved to the state, or if you have always called North Dakota home, if you complete this list over the summer, I bet you will have a much better appreciation for our state come this fall.

Attend a small town museum. I understand that some of our larger communities have some pretty amazing history museums. Bonanzaville in West Fargo and the recently remodel North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum in Bismarck are two of my favorite. However, I am really a big fan of visiting small town museums. These museums often tell the story of the people who originally settled the area and grew the communities. As the hours can vary and are often very limited, I highly recommend calling in advance before driving to the museums. While you are on the phone, try to arrange a tour by the most qualified volunteer. The stories from that tour guide are often worth the price of admission alone. On that note, these museums are often run by volunteers and run on donations. Don’t be afraid to leave a gift.

Attend a county fair. Many generations of youth in North Dakota have great memories of attending a local county fair. I remember taking some livestock to a county fair for 4H, and getting a free week pass. It was amazing how much fun I could have at that fair despite not having much money to spend. I learned the fair was a great place to meet and get to know many different people from throughout the county. Visit the venders, look at the exhibits, attended a musical event or a car race. It will be worth it.

Go camping. We have a lot of discussions in our state about people who come here to work and live in campers; however, if that is not you, I strongly suggest you give North Dakota camping a try. Whether you are intoGlamping or old school tent camping like me, there are many opportunities at a variety of price points throughout the state. You can find out about camping destinations here.

Invite somebody to your home. A few years back, I heard an NPR program that challenged the concept that people in the upper Midwest, in this case Minnesotans, are nice. We are friendly by nature, but we are also very insular. As North Dakota has grown, those of us who have lived here for a long time have often tended to be very leery of outsiders. Our communities are often filled with attached garages with doors that open as people leave for work, close when people get home, and are attached to homes filled with people who don’t know their neighbors. This has been a leading cause of our NIMBY problem. However, if we want to improve our communities, we need to step out of our comfort zone. If nothing else, at least invite somebody out for lunch, for a cup of coffee or a cold beer. Invite them to attend church or a community event with you. My bet is you will find they are a lot like you.

Attend a community event. I don’t care if it is Summer Theater, a local baseball game, a thresher show, or a concert. Our communities are filled with some great events that are often not attended well.

These are just a few of my suggestions; please use the comment section to add any suggestions I may have forgotten or don’t know about.

Have fun in North Dakota this summer!

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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