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Bridge Bash to feature food, games, music on First Avenue North

Zane Voglewede, a Minnesota State University Moorhead freshman from Fargo, turns while wearing a virtual reality headset brought by Gravity Gaming to the Moorhead Business Association's first Bridge Bash on Sept. 8, 2016. Forum file photo1 / 2
Roommates and Minnesota State University Moorhead freshmen Ashley Johnson, second from right, and Alexis Heisler, right, await their orders from the Big J’s Smokehouse food truck Sept. 8, 2016, during the first Bridge Bash on First Avenue North in Moorhead. Forum file photo2 / 2

MOORHEAD—A free event this week will temporarily close a bridge to show college students that Moorhead is open for them long after graduation.

Moorhead Business Association's Bridge Bash will kick off at 5 p.m. and continue through 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, replacing the steady stream of traffic that normally crosses the First Avenue North bridge with food trucks, vendors, bands and more.

Executive Director David Hunstad said the first installment of the event that he said serves as something like a "welcome to Moorhead party" drew about 900 people.

"We're so glad students have chosen to come to our community for their education, and we hope that some of them will consider staying here and making it their home," he said.

Hunstad said events like this can help college students feel like part of the community—an important thing in Moorhead, a town of about 42,000 that has thousands of students at Minnesota State University Moorhead, Concordia College and Minnesota State Community and Technical College.

The success of last year's Bridge Bash prompted organizers to add more games and activities at the second annual event, which will feature seven food trucks operating on the bridge with about 25 vendors and businesses giving out free stuff and sharing their work with attendees.

Under the bridge, participants can head out on the Red River until nightfall with free canoe and kayak rentals from the Moorhead Parks & Recreation department. The parking lot nearby will host inflatable games, and two bands, The Shuttles and Brat Pack Radio, will perform on a stage at the west end of the bridge.

The Hjemkomst Center, 202 1st Ave. N., will offer free admission during the event as well as free parking.

The event's main goal might be reaching the student population of Fargo-Moorhead, but Hunstad said organizers would like a good turnout from other community members, too.

It's also an effective way for sponsors and vendors to get their message out about employment, services or products, he said.

The main thing, Hunstad said, is to show students that the community doesn't take them for granted.

"This is just an effort to do a little bit more to make them feel at home," he said.

Hunstad said he'd like to see Bridge Bash continue to grow and become an annual event each fall.

Attendees are asked to enter through a gate on the Moorhead side of the bridge, though people can also walk down the sidewalk on the bridge to get to the gate from the Fargo side.

Hunstad said free parking will be available at American Crystal Sugar Co., 101 3rd St. N., and Moorhead Center Mall, 510 Center Ave., as well the Hjemkomst Center.

All First Avenue North traffic will be closed from Third Street North in Fargo to Third Street North in Moorhead beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday. Motorists can still travel north and south on Second Street North in Fargo during that time.

All lanes are expected to be reopened by 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8, according to a Fargo news release.

On the web

For more information, visit www.mhdmba.org/Bridge-Bash

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.

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