WEST FARGO — After video of a previously filmed "Antiques Roadshow" appraisal that set the value of a rare watch at upwards of $500,000 recently went viral, Bonanzaville has received international attention.
"Bonanzaville is going around the world," Executive Director Brenda Warren says. "We continue to get tons of hits on our website and people calling for more info on Bonanzaville."
Representatives from the popular PBS program said the local man's appraisal video has been viewed on YouTube over 7.2 million times and peaked as the No. 9 trending video on the entire platform. It has been viewed over 7.7 million times on Facebook, and the Facebook post has a reach of over 14.6 million people. The appraisal has also been posted by fans on many different Reddit communities, propelling it to the trending “Front Page” of the platform.
While the three airings of the show that taped at Bonanzaville last June have wrapped up, the Pioneer Village operated by Cass County Historical Society will now eye attractions for this summer. It will also be working on two building refurbishing projects this summer after it was awarded a state grant and donations were stepped up during Giving Hearts Day. However, the nonprofit will continue to have to solicit donations for regular operation costs.
Local leaders have also recognized the Pioneer Village for its continued commitment to not only be a tourism draw to West Fargo, but as the area's largest museum and preserver of Cass County history.
Last week, the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau awarded Bonanzaville with its 2019 Industry Excellence Award, which recognizes an individual or organization that has made a significant effort to bring a major convention, meeting or event to the community.
On Feb. 13, Giving Hearts Day donations to Bonanzaville surpassed Warren's goal and generated $30,950, enough money to rebuild the foundation of the Furnberg Store, which had to close to visitors last year until repairs could be made.
The State Historical Society of North Dakota recently awarded $400,000 in Cultural Heritage Grants to 22 eligible organizations throughout the state. It gave $25,000 for the rehabilitation of Fargo’s first house, which is now located in the northeast corner of Bonanzaville.
“These grants provide a rare funding source and important sparkplugs that energize our county and local museums and other organizations to preserve, document, and present North Dakota’s heritage in their communities,” said Claudia Berg, director of the SHSND, in a statement. “Legislative support is very much appreciated as we continue to support these community efforts statewide.”
Cultural Heritage Grants provide funding to nonprofit organizations, including local museums and historical societies, as well as city, county and tribal governments. Eligible projects include capital improvements, exhibits, special projects or events, education activities and collections.