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Contest seeks to pick possible city flag for Fargo

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FARGO – Do you ever wish the city of Fargo had an official flag?

Jackson Ridl does. The Fargo native, inspired by a TED talk, decided to bring the idea to the attention of arts and city leaders.

Now there is a contest, ending Aug. 23, for the best, most fitting flag for Fargo. The winning entry will be presented to the City Commission, whose members will decide whether to adopt it as the city's first official flag.

But why does Fargo need a flag?

"I think it gives every single person in Fargo something to showcase of their pride in their city," said Ridl, a 19-year-old University of Minnesota student who is back home in Fargo for the summer working as an intern for Emerging Prairie, a Fargo digital media company focused on promoting entrepreneurism.

Ridl did some digging and found that, unlike other cities such as Minneapolis and Chicago, Fargo has no flag.

There is no guarantee that the winner of the flag contest will win approval at the City Commission. But the designer of the winning flag will at least walk away with $250, courtesy of The Arts Partnership.

The Arts Partnership's executive director, Dayna Del Val, was approached by Ridl with the idea in early June.

"I thought it was fun and interesting and right up our creative, entrepreneurial alley," she said.

She said the flag contest was a good way for Fargo to define itself.

"I like the fact that it is coming from within the area. So much has been written about Fargo from outside. You know, there's so much buzz about Fargo," she said.

Rules of the contest are listed on the website of The Arts Partnership, which has been working with the city's Arts and Culture Commission on the flag idea.

Designers are encouraged to keep the flag design simple, use two or three colors, avoid letters or writing of any kind, and "use meaningful symbolism."

For example, Ridl imagines the flag design could include the color gold, a nod to wheat.

After all the designs are received, an online vote will determine the top 15 ideas. They will go to the Arts and Culture Commission, which will select a winner.

Mayor Tim Mahoney said he is not sure what will happen when the winning design comes to the City Commission for possible adoption.

"Most of the commissioners have been pretty excited" about the idea, he said.

Mahoney said the idea was interesting. When he thinks of a possible city flag, he imagines some connection to water.

"I'll be curious what they come up with," he said.

Del Val said she received a couple of submissions Wednesday.

Adrian Glass-Moore

Readers are encouraged to reach Adrian Glass-Moore at (701) 241-5599 or with comments, criticisms and tips. He joined The Forum as its night reporter in 2014.