FARGO — Construction of the roundabout at Main Avenue and Second Street has been a recent obstacle for downtown drivers as it has shut down the Veterans Memorial Bridge that spans the Red River.

What may currently be a problem for drivers will be a plus for organizers of this year's Bridge Bash, happening Thursday, Sept. 5, as the event will utilize the closed street to throw a back-to-school party.

“This year, it worked to our benefit. Since the bridge was already closed, it wasn’t a hard sell to ask the cities to grant us our events applications,” says Lora Larson, development coordinator for Downtown Community Partnership.

The annual event is a back-to-school party for college kids, showcasing the downtown neighborhoods of Fargo and Moorhead to freshmen and welcoming back returning students.

“We really want to provide them with an event for them,” she says, adding she’d love to see all of the freshmen attend. “We want to show them what is local.”

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This year’s featured act is country and rock group Slamabama.

Now in its fourth year, the event continues to grow in size and scope. While it was previously held on the adjacent First Avenue North bridge, the larger Main Avenue corridor allows for more participants.

“This year, it gave us additional room to have additional businesses show themselves,” Larson says.

About 40 businesses, including 13 food vendors, will be set up on the bridge, trying to endear themselves to the students.

Hornbacher's employees Quinton Taylor, from left, and Fatima Amedi offer snacks to Concordia College students Veronica Hulke and Aeyana Calkins during the 2018 Bridge Bash, on the First Avenue North Bridge to welcome college students back to Moorhead. Forum file photo
Hornbacher's employees Quinton Taylor, from left, and Fatima Amedi offer snacks to Concordia College students Veronica Hulke and Aeyana Calkins during the 2018 Bridge Bash, on the First Avenue North Bridge to welcome college students back to Moorhead. Forum file photo

The event may be aimed at students, but it is free and open to the public. Because the focus is on all students, including freshmen, the show is alcohol-free.

Attendees are encouraged to park for free in the Moorhead Center Mall parking ramp, and North Dakota State University students can catch a shuttle from the Transit Hub on campus from 5:30-10:30 p.m.

“We want them to feel welcome by all of the businesses in the Fargo-Moorhead area and we hope to retain them here once they graduate,” says Sheri Larson, executive director of the Moorhead Business Association.

Bridge Bash has previously been solely a product of the MBA, but the organization partnered this year with the Downtown Community Partnership to showcase more businesses for students.

“We just wanted to bring the two cities together and the universities,” Sheri Larson says.

The event kicks off Greater Moorhead Days, a 10-day Spud-ebration, which includes the annual Medallion Hunt, Wings and Wheels Fly In and Car Show, Midco Kids Fest, The Flatlander FM Rotary Ride, the 45th annual Red River Run and more.

“It’s fun to see the communities come together,” Sheri Larson says.

If you go

What: Bridge Bash

When: 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5

Where: Main Avenue Bridge between Fargo and Moorhead

Info: This event is free and open to the public. Greater Moorhead Days will continue through Saturday, Sept. 14, throughout Moorhead; greatermoorheaddays.com