Business Buzz: Fargo Marathon brings over $900K to metro, TEDxFargo location announced, and more

Check out what the business team is following this week.

Seth Shiver from Mansfield, Texas, cruises past the Fargo Theatre during the Essentia Health Fargo Marathon on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
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FARGO — Final figures are in regarding the financial impact of the Essentia Health Fargo Marathon, the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau told The Forum.

All told, the week’s worth of marathon events brought in a total of $923,481 in direct visitor spending, Stephonie Broughton, sports and events manager for the Fargo-Moorhead Athletic Commission said. Broughton estimated the marathon brought in 9,800 visitors, which includes participants and spectators.

While not the largest, the marathon ranks among the top events in terms of bringing visitor spending into the metro, Kali Mork, director of sports for the F-M CVB told The Forum back in May. In the case of the marathon, direct visitor spending is tabulated based on the ZIP codes of all the marathon’s participants. Next, the calculation factors in how far away the participants live, whether or not they stayed overnight and in how many races they participated.

The Fargo Marathon made its return to spring in 2022. Previously, the last race held in the spring was in 2019. The race was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the 2021 race was pushed into the fall for the same reason.
It’s estimated that the cancellation of the marathon in 2020 as well as the loss of North Dakota State Bison football games cost the metro millions in direct visitor spending. For that reason, organizers and city officials like Mork were pleased to see the marathon return to its normal schedule in 2022.

However, the economic benefits of the 2022 marathon came up short of Mork’s hopes. Without knowing the number of racers expected, Mork had initially estimated that direct visitor spending would fall in between the $1.4 million 2021’s races brought in and the $2.5 million for which the 2019 edition accounted.


Marshall Johnson, Executive Director of Audubon Dakota and Vice-President of the National Audubon Society, speaks during TEDxFargo at the Fargo Civic Center on Thursday, July 25. David Samson / The Forum

TEDxFargo location and speakers announced

Organizers announced Wednesday, June 22, that TEDxFargo Beyond will return to the Fargo Civic Center for its 2022 event slated Thursday, July 21.

The idea-sharing event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers also announced a number of the scheduled speakers and performers Wednesday.

Among those announced were Grace L. Chao, Howard Dahl, Ross DeVol, Jay Doan, Randy Hedberg, Tom Kemmer, Dr. Arica Kulm, Kim Pladson, Bruce Rastetter, Heather Simonich and Tridog. To learn more about them or to purchase tickets, visit .

Gretchen McNeal shows off the cat magnets which illustrate one side of Scott and Christina McNeal's "Cosmic Treats" ice cream truck.
Contributed / Christina McNeal

A cool opportunity for special-needs workers

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the Christina and Scott McNeal family , who fixed up an ice cream truck in order to help their two children with autism get social interactions with their community while gaining skills for future employment.

The story highlighted their oldest child, Gretchen, who created art for their Cosmic Treats truck of space-traveling kitties piloting jet-fueled ice cream treats.


Now the McNeals would like to see their mobile ice cream parlor bring positive opportunities to others with special needs.

They want to eventually make Cosmic Treats available as a work experience for residents with special needs.

Christina calls this plan “a long-term goal. We are working out all the kinks this summer so that we can have that be our end game.”

They also hope the truck can help generate fundraisers for nonprofits devoted to people with special needs.

Besides driving its usual weekend circuit, the truck is available for corporate events, family reunions, block parties, school functions, birthdays, community events or any special gathering.

To learn more, call or text Christina or Scott at 701-490-0657 or message them on Facebook @Cosmic Treats or Instagram at @cosmictreats_est2022.

Angie Wieck is the business editor for The Forum. Email her at
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