10 things heating up our summer calendar

From big concerts to smaller musicals, farmers markets and fair food, some things you don't want to miss this summer.

P!NK works the Fargodome crowd in 2014. Forum file photo

Memorial Day is right around the corner and with it comes all of the summer fun.

With three full months of events, we highlighted 10 — and then some — of the things we're most looking forward to.

Straw Hat Players

Minnesota State University Moorhead has cut its theater program, but song and dance are still alive on campus this summer with the 60th season of Straw Hat Players. The summer stock theater program draws in performers from throughout the community and is teaming up with local troupes like the socially conscious Act Up Theatre and Wheelhouse Theatrical Productions for “The Prom” June 13 through 15. The season opens with a tribute to the songwriters Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, "A Grand Night for Singing," from Tuesday, May 30, through Thursday, June 1. The following week it’s a compilation of hits from the late, great Stephen Sondheim, “Side by Side by Sondheim.” All shows are in MSUM's Center for the Arts.

Happy Harry's RibFest returns June 7.
Forum file photo


Memorial Day is the traditional beginning of summer, but it’s Happy Harry’s Ribfest that really brings the heat. The Fargodome’s main lot will be filled June 7 through 10 with seven rib cookers and a handful of other summery savories. Each night ends with a show on the main stage, with this year’s lineup featuring Parmalee on June 7, Fuel on June 9 and Lit on June 10. Jimmie Allen is no longer touring after reports of sexual assault were made against him. A new headliner will be announced for June 8.


'Jersey Boys' at The Lights

Trollwood isn’t the only outdoor summer theater programming in the metro area. Stage West returns to the Essentia Health Plaza at The Lights this summer for a pair of musicals. “Jersey Boys,” a jukebox musical telling the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, takes the stage June 23 through 25 and 27 through 30. The stage turns “Footloose” July 28 through 30 and Aug. 1 through 4. The Plaza will also be rocking with Hairball on July 21, Granger Smith on July 22, Sawyer Brown Aug. 10, Gary Allan on Aug. 12 and 38 Special with Elle King on Sept. 15.

Red River Valley Fair
The Red River Valley Fair returns July 7.
Forum file photo

Red River Valley Fair

The Red River Valley Fair has 10 days of fun lined up from July 7 through 16 . In addition to a midway that features all of the standard carnival foods, games, rides and attractions, this year features a stacked lineup of grandstand performers. Dan + Shay and Kip Moore play opening night on July 7 and are followed by Third Eye Blind, Jelly Roll, Flo Rida with the Ying Yang Twins, a Disney Princess concert, Shinedown, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Florida Georgia Line singer Tyler Hubbard closing things out on July 16.

Fresh produce is available at the Red River Market.
Contributed / M.Schleif Photography

Red River Market

Get a taste for summer at the Red River Market. Starting July 8, farmers and food vendors will set up on either side of Broadway on Second Avenue to sell goods every Saturday through October. The weekly event also features cooking demonstrations, musicians and other performers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Downtown Fargo Street Fair offers handmade goods as well as fair foods.
Forum file photo

Downtown Fargo Street Fair

It just wouldn’t be summer in Fargo without the Downtown Fargo Street Fair, which runs July 13 through 15. Whether you’re there for the arts, crafts and assorted goods or the foods, like corn dogs, gyros and frybread tacos, the annual event has something for everyone.

Trollwood's amphitheater
Trollwood's mainstage musical returns this summer.
Forum file photo


Trollwood's 'Singin in the Rain'

After last year’s entire run was canceled due to lack of trained technical workers needed for the set, Trollwood’s mainstage musical is looking for a big comeback this year. The program kept last year’s show, “Singin’ in the Rain” and invited back the cast. The musical runs July 13 through 15, 19 through 22 and 26 through 29 at Bluestem Center for the Arts, Moorhead.

Gooseberry's 'Descendants'

The main characters in Disney’s “Descendants” franchise aren’t just a chip off the old block. Gooseberry Park Players showcases the teenage children of four Disney villains in this musical about finding your own identity. The show runs July 18 through 23 at Horizon Middle School, Moorhead.

Nathaniel Rateliff (center) and The Night Sweats will return to Bluestem Amphitheater on August 15, 2023.
Contributed / Danny Clinch

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at Bluestem

Nathaniel Rateliff was born in St. Louis and made a name for himself after moving to Denver, so he feels comfortable in middle America. He must feel downright at home in Moorhead as t he R& B singer returns to Bluestem Amphitheater for the third time in six years on Aug. 15. That date will tie him with Duluth’s own Trampled by Turtles for most shows by a touring act at the outdoor venue. Other Bluestem shows include Train on Aug. 5, Symphony Rocks on Aug. 17, Lindsey Stirling on Aug. 23, Thrivefest on Aug. 26 and Jason Isbell on Sept. 10, with an additional couple of shows in the works.

P!NK thrilled at the Fargodome in 2019.
Forum file photo


Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe may make more noise on Aug. 11— my ears are still ringing from Mötley’s “farewell” set in 2014 — but the highlight of the Fargodome’s summer and quite possibly year should be P!NK’s show on Aug. 19. The singer’s previous two Dome shows have been energetic and exciting and she only amps it up this time with special guest Brandi Carlile.

All Terrian Lawn Care Professionals say that grass in North Dakota needs lots of moisture because it is not used to this kind of heat.
Share my adventure chasing and photographing the International Space Station across the sun — and learn how you can do it, too.
After more than 30 years of performing for thousands of local children, Penny and Pals gets ready for farewell performance Friday at Island Park in Fargo.
Outdoor concerts and events for kids highlight this weekend's big events.
The group is touring behind its latest album "Get Rollin."
She's running her family resort near Pelican Rapids, growing in her faith and enjoying a new stage of parenting
The singer fronted popular Fargo act D Mills & The Thrills and performed with Heavy is the Head before moving to the Twin Cities.
Reggie candy bars were all the rage when Mr. October ruled the baseball diamond in the late 1970s. Now, after more than 40 years they're back and chocolate-loving baseball fans are on board.
The Sanford Center is set to host Hellzapoppin: The World-Famous Traveling Circus Freakshow on June 22-24 as part of the group's “Shortyth Anniversary Decade of Destruction Tour.”
Sarah's Easy Chicken Souvlaki can be served on a grilled pita with tzatziki sauce and a simple salad of tomatoes, onions and cucumbers tossed in extra-virgin olive oil and seasoning.

For 20 years John Lamb has covered art, entertainment and lifestyle stories in the area for The Forum.
What To Read Next
Get Local