WEST FARGO — While West Fargo Events can celebrate a year full of highly praised events at venues in southern West Fargo, that doesn't mean the nonprofit that manages city and school district owned facilities will not turn an eye north to bring unique events to northern Sheyenne Street in 2022.
West Fargo Events is a nonprofit manages The Lights Plaza, POW/MIA Plaza and West Fargo Sports Arena for the city of West Fargo and West Fargo School District.
"All of the traditional West Fargo events that were pre existing before the Lights was built. There's a lot of people concerned that it will go all the way down. It will all return to where the community feels it belongs," said West Fargo Events Executive Director Mike Amundson. "The city of West Fargo has made it clear when giving direction, the investment the city made was not only in The Lights, but it has invested millions and millions of dollars all throughout West Fargo."
Amundson said along with moving the traditional events back to northern Sheyenne Street, such as Cruise Night and West Fest, programming will also be planned for the POW/MIA Plaza such as family and children events.
"Downtown is always going to be a little acoustic," Amundson said. "But we're still planning plenty events for the POW/MIA Plaza, we're not going to give up on that, it's not all about The Lights with West Fargo."
In southern West Fargo, The Lights will continue to draw in the crowds with a variety of events.
Amundson said the The Lights Plaza drew in 75,000 people for the many events from musicals, to concerts and even the kick-off center for this week's Mainstreet Event. During the summer alone, 129 events were scheduled at The Lights.
""It's been a fantastic year, 2021 went honestly better than we could have ever imagined," Amundson said.
To kick off another year of events and continue 2021's success, the West Fargo Winter Classic, or six days of hockey that will take place at The Lights and West Fargo Sports Arena Dec. 28 - Jan. 2. The event will host more than 100 games with youth and high school hockey teams.
"It will be very much like a festival, it's a celebration of the sport," Amundson said. "It'll be something that turns into an annual event, I have no doubt."
While Amundson is excited about the hockey event at The Lights which will have its own outdoor rink next to the rinks at West Fargo Sports Arena, Amundson said other ice activities will be planned at The Lights from curling to figure skating.
Along with events, West Fargo has brought and plans to continue Stage West in West Fargo. Stage West was formed this summer as a production company which presented the musical "Rock of Ages," which featured a cast full of West Fargo alumni, residents and former West Fargo School District high school director, Adam Pankow.
West Fargo Events plans to grow Stage West into a year-round theater group.
"We're always going to focus on local talent. We just want to give people an opportunity to take in those performances but also be a part of those," Amundson said.
In what is becoming true West Fargo Events form, the focus of Stage West and West Fargo Events won't hone in on just theater art, but Amundson hopes his teams will be able to provide venues for many different art mediums from performance to visual and even street artists to gather interest in.