Canoe Parade: Ritual, Wonder, and Recreation

It’s easy to get a bad reputation when your headlines mostly feature floods and drownings. But what if the Red River, at the center of the Fargo Moorhead community, were a place for us to create positive memories. A place where we spent time outdoors with our friends and families, where we felt safe.

Corn cob commissioned by artist, Olivia Bain (in canoe). Photos by Friesen Photography.

Corn cob commissioned by artist, Olivia Bain (in canoe). Photos by Friesen Photography.

The Canoe Parade launched for the first time in October 2017 with a flotilla of a dozen decorated vessels. The floats were designed to create a sense of whimsical wonder on the river, to spark creativity, and to spread joy along the banks. 

Colorful floral design and messages of peace won this kayak the highest award: the golden paddle. Photos by Friesen Photography.

Colorful floral design and messages of peace won this kayak the highest award: the golden paddle. Photos by Friesen Photography.

Behind the scenes (and the canoes) at Folkways, we’re working to solve even larger issues in our community. This event reaches into outdoor recreation and the effect that the Red River could have on attracting and retaining the workforce needed in the area. Attractive communities are ones with easy access to nature, hiking, and water.

People who have access to outdoor recreation think more highly of their community in general. A study by the Center for Active Design found that people who report an abundance of outdoor recreation space in their community are 28% more likely to think local leaders do a good job representing their interests. They are also 27% more likely to have a positive view of local police.

Folkways sees this event as an opportunity to cultivate a culture of outdoor recreation along the river and its trails, while fostering a love for the Red River itself. It is our hope that the Canoe Parade will become a staple annual event that reminds Fargoans of the power and beauty of the Red River. 

Prepare your float for September. We will see you on the Red! 

The Canoe Parade was supported by the City of Fargo Arts and Culture Commission, River Keepers, and Fargo Parks.

Want to see more from the parade?

Posted on October 24, 2017 and filed under Events.

Local Business: Mint and Basil

Local Business Spotlight: A look at Fargo’s small businesses and the people behind them.

Featuring: Mint & Basil, Hope Goldammer
By: Dane Johnson, Folkways Editorial Board

Mint & Basil in Downtown Fargo at 714 Main Ave. Photo Credit: Brynn Joki

Mint & Basil in Downtown Fargo at 714 Main Ave. Photo Credit: Brynn Joki

Mint & Basil offers Fargoans an opportunity to charm their homes with a touch more whimsy through wares and decor available at their downtown boutique. 

The shop’s founder, Hope Goldammer, was inspired to start the business after noticing a lack of shops providing kitchen supplies and home accessories in Fargo. 

But her entrepreneurial journey didn’t start with Mint & Basil.  

After graduating from North Dakota State University, with a degree in fashion design, Hope was met with few opportunities for work within her field of study in North Dakota. She adjusted her dream of working as a creative professional in a big company, in a big city somewhere, to create a new path forward right in her hometown of Bismarck. 

In 2011, her career as an entrepreneur began in earnest when Hope and her mother, Madonna Wald, an interior designer, started a boutique in Downtown Bismarck called LOT2029 – a name that combines how they refer to investment properties as “lots” with their respective birth dates, which both take place in July. 

LOT2029 found its home in a building that previously housed a radio station, complete with cubicles and a low-hanging ceiling; meaning that it would require six months of renovating before the space was in their preferred retail shape. 

The mother-daughter duo found their paired skillsets a winning combination, and they set off to replicate their business elsewhere. Attracted by its larger college population and active downtown, they determined Fargo to be the location for their second store. 

By 2013, LOT2029 had two brick and mortar businesses, Bismarck and Fargo, and an online store. 

Pictured: Hope + Donny Goldammer, Photo Credit: Brynn Joki

Pictured: Hope + Donny Goldammer, Photo Credit: Brynn Joki

By 2014, Hope said their business felt “growing pains” and so stretched into another retail space in Sioux Falls, SD. 

Then, on October 1, 2016, Hope and her husband Donny opened Mint & Basil at 714 Main Ave. in Downtown Fargo.  

Subsequently, Hope has become somewhat of a serial entrepreneur; to which she attributes benefits that go beyond success in business:    

“I wasn’t expecting the creative growth that happened when I put myself into the entrepreneurial mindset. I looked at how to grow my brands, but then I began questioning, ‘how do I personally grow?’” She reflected.

“I’ve gained momentum in other areas of my life,” she added. 

In considering how she might encourage other entrepreneurs who are just getting started, Hope, with some reservations because of its controversy, suggested that creatives should consider bypassing college as a more intelligent career move. 

“If you have a choice of what books you want to read and where you want to spend your time, then I think that you can learn more through personal experience,” she shared.

The experience of starting multiple businesses has also taught her one very important lesson: Let go. 

“Don’t micro-manage; that will stop you so fast,” she shared. “To grow beyond, you have to let go.” 

And taking her small business endeavors in Bismarck, Fargo, and Sioux Falls as evidence, you can see that growth is something at which Hope has become quite adept. 

Photo Credit: Brynn Joki

Photo Credit: Brynn Joki

You can visit Mint & Basil in Downtown Fargo at 714 Main Ave or shop online at

Posted on February 22, 2017 .

Grateful to receive Emerging Prairie’s Social Impact Award

Joe and Simone at 1 Million Thanks along with Kick-Ass Award winner (that's the award name and also an accurate description of Ashley), Ashley Morken, owner of Unglued.

Joe and Simone at 1 Million Thanks along with Kick-Ass Award winner (that's the award name and also an accurate description of Ashley), Ashley Morken, owner of Unglued.

Written by: Dane Johnson 

More than 200 folks from the Fargo-Moorhead region gathered in Fargo’s Sanctuary Events Center last month to celebrate the work accomplished by a handful of entrepreneurs, organizations, and community builders over the past year. 

Among those honored was Folkways. 

The event was hosted by Emerging Prairie, the area’s leading champion of creating entrepreneurial ecosystems that thrive, as a part of their third annual event called 1 Million Thanks.

“I’m grateful that we’re able to live in a community where there isn’t one organization building community, but multiple organizations – one of those being Emerging Prairie,” Folkways co-founder Joe Burgum shared. 

The awards (faux railroad spikes created by regional artists) represent Fargo's history.

The awards (faux railroad spikes created by regional artists) represent Fargo's history.

The crowd was full of people who can be identified as doers, those who are active and eager to implement new ways to improve their communities. These people were recognized with a variety of awards with titles like, Team Player, Kick-Ass Award, Rookie of the Year, and Belief Award. 

Folkways was given the Social Impact Award for creating a “business model that strives to solve social challenges.”

To be recognized for our work in creating the Red River Market, and even the more playful Log the Mobile Sauna, as positively impacting the community filled us with gratitude. 

As our co-founder Simone Wai shared upon receiving the award, we constantly remind ourselves of this quote by the Dalai Lama (mostly because it’s hung prominently in Folkways’ main restroom): 

“If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true meaning of life.”

With this perspective in mind, we look forward to continue making Fargo the greatest city on earth to live. This event showed us that we’re not alone in this pursuit.

We highly recommend you check out Emerging Prairie’s write-up on the event to learn about all of the other amazing humans who are doing great work in the Fargo-Moorhead region. 

Posted on February 15, 2017 .

Local Business: Love Always

Local Business Spotlight: A look at Fargo’s small businesses and the people behind them.

Featuring: Love Always & Christy Tehven
By: Dane Johnson, Folkways Editorial Board

With flowers cut in the kitchen and stored in the fridge next to the butter, and used orange juice containers serving as watering cans, Christy Tehven’s first three months’ worth of floral arrangement orders were fulfilled from her own home.

Fortunately for her, and her husband, Christy moved her floral studio into the back space of a vintage boutique next door to Twenty Below Coffee Co. by fall of 2016.

Posted on January 24, 2017 and filed under Local Business.

Local Business: Young Blood Coffee Co.

Local Business Spotlight: A look at Fargo’s small businesses and the people behind them.

Featuring: Young Blood Coffee Co. & Tim Griffin
By: Dane Johnson, Folkways Editorial Board

Tim Griffin, owner of Young Blood Coffee Co., believes that you owe it to your customer to apprentice under a master of your craft before launching into business yourself.

After more than a decade of working in the specialty coffee industry, for the likes of Stumptown and Four Barrel, Griffin has arguably subjected himself to learning from the best baristas and roasters in the country. 

“Go through the hard work, and put yourself under the training that is the best that you can find,” Tim advised.

Posted on December 23, 2016 and filed under Local Business.

Local Business: Front Street

Local Business Spotlight: A look at Fargo’s small businesses and the people behind them.

Featuring: Front Street Taproom & Aaron Templin
By: Dane Johnson, Folkways Editorial Board

In retrospect, it seems fitting that Front Street Taproom’s founder, Aaron Templin, would open a drinking establishment of his own.

But that route wasn’t always so clear.

It wasn’t until March of 2016, when Aaron left a six-year post he’d held within Scheels Arena’s Food and Beverage Department, that he began to explore what else might be in store for his vocational life. 

Posted on December 2, 2016 and filed under Local Business.

Folkways at 1 Million Cups

What is Folkways? 

by Joe Burgum

Last week I had the privilege of presenting at Fargo’s 1 Million Cups event about the work that my partner Simone and I lead through our company Folkways. The opportunity to talk about our community-building projects, and the beliefs that have inspired them, allowed us to initiate meaningful conversations about creating the community we want to live in with fellow Fargoans.

For those who were unable to attend the event, I wanted to extend the conversation to you by sharing the essence of the presentation in blog format. Please add your own thoughts and ideas to the comments, or by messaging me directly. 

Posted on October 26, 2016 .

Sudden Park

This summer, the Sudden Park popped up at the former Sahr’s Sudden Service station to activate the Horace Mann Neighborhood with a vibrant public space. Over four months the park has hosted eight public events including a neighborhood block party and a concert. That’s almost 1,000 visitors during public events only, not including everyday park use.

Two of these events were co-hosted alongside property owners, Kilbourne Group, with the goal of gaining critical insights to inform the future of the site. Though the timeline and design are still yet to be determined, we are incredibly grateful for all of the community input that has been given so far, and value these thoughts in the design process. 

Posted on October 24, 2016 and filed under Demonstration.

Sudden Service Design Sprint

During the summer of 2016, the Folkways team completed a 5-day Design Sprint (a fancy term for a brainstorm) to get community input on how to transform an old gas station into an urban park and community event space. It taught us that the biggest challenges require less time—not more—and that you can test anything in one week by building a realistic mock-up.

Day 1: Monday
First things first: we needed a goal: use community-centered design to activate and meaningfully transform the gas station into a beloved location for its neighborhood. We then mapped how you and others will interact with the site to better understand where we might be able to enrich your experience.

Posted on August 1, 2016 and filed under Demonstration.

Fargo Liquor Code Improvement Memo

Fargo’s liquor code is a complicated conglomerate of high start up costs, secondary markets, and twenty-six distinct types of licenses. Its convoluted structure is a cultural and economic bottleneck that obstructs economic growth and is counter to the public’s well-being. This system has not been created intentionally or negligently, but has become trapped by path dependency and the lack of a holistic plan.

Moving forward, city officials have the opportunity to create a new system that provides opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs while ensuring that all license holders are held responsible for their actions. In order for reform to be meaningful, however, it must address the economic, cultural, and community shortcomings of the current code. 

Posted on August 12, 2015 and filed under Demonstration, Local Business.

Roberts Alley Restoration Initiative

Folkways has a thing for alleyways. They're interesting, a little quirky, and they happen to be the setting for an event that we co-founded, called Alley Fair. As we have continued to make creative use out of these pedestrian thoroughfares, we have seen an increase in businesses taking advantage of them as well with new alley entrances, patios, and more. 

Posted on August 4, 2015 and filed under Demonstration.

Uber in North Dakota

In the fall of 2013, I packed my bags and moved to the bustling metropolis of Chicago for grad school at Experience Institute.

While living in Chicago, my classmates and I experienced the variety that comes with living in one of America's largest cities. From food to museums, nightlife to transportation, we had so many options.

This was when I took my first ride with ridesharing service, Uber.

Posted on July 31, 2015 and filed under Demonstration.

Walk [Fargo]

Walk Your City is simple idea to create a context of walkability. It’s often difficult to conceptualize the distance to a destination when the given comparison is only measured by miles traveled by car. Our understanding can be greatly increased by adjusting our measurement to duration, rather than distance. About how long will it take for me to walk?

Posted on May 4, 2015 and filed under Demonstration.