Downtown GF spurred on by development group

RedLine, a country music rock group, headlined the night’s music. Photo by Jennifer Friese/The Dakota Student.

As crowds approach downtown Grand Forks, music grows louder and louder.

Children’s laughter and live music fill the air, along with the smells of various food trucks.

Saturday night, the Downtown Development Association, a new non-profit organization in town, hosted the first ever Rockin’ on the Red Festival.

“We really wanted to create a festival feel for something like this with a music event, have a couple of bands, food trucks,” Executive Director of The Downtown Development Association Stacey Majkrzak said. “We wanted to make sure we are community and family friendly. It is for all to enjoy the downtown area.”

Rockin’ on the Red was a community style event held behind the Toasted Frog past the flood walls.

Two bands — The Front Fenders and RedLine — performed live until midnight.

There was a beer garden and food trucks including Ground Round, Rhombus Guys and L&C Mexican Food. A dance floor was on hand by the stage for all ages to dance the night away, and there was a plethora of bounce houses for the children.

“At the end of the day, we want to look out and see a lot of community members. Our main goal is to bring people together enjoying some space,” Majkrzak said.

“Have one last hoorah before winter comes.”

The Downtown Development Association is a program to make downtown a fun and safe environment.

“Our concentration downtown includes infrastructure, economic development, maintenance, cleanliness, safety, and beautification, as well as bringing more events and activities downtown,” Majkrzak said. “Although we are a separate entity, we work closely with the City of Grand Forks. We are constantly working together to make fun things happen downtown.”

Sudeshna Pant, a senior at UND, is an intern working for the Downtown Development Association. The most important aspect for her was utilizing space.

“The Greenway is such a beautiful area, so why not use it? It is one of my favorite things about Grand Forks, and I’m so proud to be working with a group that’s willing to utilize it. It is such a good cause, and I can’t wait to see what else we come up with,” she said.

The Downtown Development Association is looking to grow hand in hand with the city of Grand Forks, and become involved with various aspects.

“We have instituted a clean up day every other Wednesday,” Majkrzak said. “We ask for volunteers to walk around the downtown area with us and just clean it up by picking up glass, garbage and cigarette butts.”

This Wednesday is the last clean up day of the season. Future projects could include establishing an outdoor ice rink in the town square during the holiday season in addition to a “Holiday of Lights” parade downtown.

Hailie Pelka is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].