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Published April 18, 2009, 12:00 AM

Fargo Marathon sets party for flood volunteers

Fargo Marathon organizers are in it for the long run May 9 – putting on not just the morning races but now also the major community post-flood party afterward.

By: Kelly Smith, INFORUM

Fargo Marathon organizers are in it for the long run May 9 – putting on not just the morning races but now also the major community post-flood party afterward.

“(It’s a) big undertaking, but we’re going to do it,” said Fargo Marathon Executive Director Mark Knutson. “It’s a way for the marathon to give back to the community.”

After weeks of fighting the floods and sandbagging at the Fargodome, volunteers will get to sit back and celebrate at the dome. The flood volunteer appreciation party is scheduled to start there at 6 p.m. May 9.

Knutson estimates about 10,000 people will show up; 10,500 are registered now for the races.

And while a free post-race party was already scheduled for runners that night at The Hub in Fargo, Knutson decided before the rivers first crested that they should open it to the entire community, too.

“Is there a benefit to us? I don’t think so,” said Knutson, who lives in West Fargo. “Just all goodwill, and wanting to be a good partner of the whole community.”

The group is renting the Fargodome that day, and because the venue is booked both the weekends before and after the marathon, “that seemed the most appropriate date to do something,” Knutson said.

Plus, they wanted to hold the event while colleges are in session so students can attend.

“The colleges were just a big part of this,” Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said. “We need to thank the community, and that’s what it’s all about.”

While he supports the event, the city is not directly involved with it.

“This is a community event, not a city event,” Walaker said.

“The last thing any of the people at the city really needed right now was another job,” Knutson added. “We don’t want to go out soliciting money.”

In fact, the marathon will pay for the event, which Knutson estimates will cost $50,000 to $75,000 – money that will come from the nonprofit.

“The marathon has money in its savings, and we’ll use that to put this event on,” he said. “It’s just a way to give back.”

They’ll sell shirts for $3 or $4 to help offset costs, and whatever money is left over will be donated to flood-fight charities, he added.

While extra Fargodome security will be on hand, extra Fargo police will only be on hand if hired, said Sgt. Mark Lykken.

“They haven’t requested any,” he said, adding 10 off-duty officers will be on hand during the morning races for traffic control.

After the races and the finish line at the Fargodome closes at 3 p.m., crews will tear down and set up a new party scene.

They’ll reopen doors at 6 p.m. for free food and beverages as well as live music from The Johnny Holm Band and 32 Below.

Knutson said they’re not planning to have alcohol at the event.

“It’s all ages; we don’t want to do that,” he said.

As for Walaker’s quip that he would buy beer for the flood fighters after the fight was over, he said he’s still prepared to stand by those words.

“We’ll be there,” Walaker said of the post-race party. “I’ll give them a coin.”


If you go

  • What: Flood Volunteer Appreciation Party

  • When: 6-10 p.m. May 9

  • Where: Fargodome

  • Info: Free parking, food, beverages and entertainment from The Johnny Holm Band and 32 Below. Open to all ages.


Another event

  • What: The F-M RedHawks’ “Cheers to the Volunteers”.

  • When: 1 p.m. May 17

  • Where: Newman Outdoor Field.

  • Info: The RedHawks are giving away 4,082 tickets to the game to anyone who helped battle this spring’s flood – 40.82 feet being the record Red River crest in Fargo-Moorhead. The first 5,000 flood fighters will receive a T-shirt and local band Carmen The Cactus will perform a free post-game concert. Tickets will be on sale starting at 10 a.m. April 25.