It isn’t often that one witnesses hundreds of pantless people sprinting down a street in the heart of winter.
In Fargo, this sight isn’t all that unusual.
When winter rolls around, hundreds of gutsy individuals peel off their pants and tighten their shoelaces in preparation of the Undie Run, put on by the Fargo Frostival each year through the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau. According to Andi Thoreson, the bureau’s director of marketing, the Undie Run is exactly what it sounds like.
“It literally is a run, in the dead of winter, in your underpants,” Thoreson said.
This event is only one of many festivities put on by Frostival each year. Frostival is an annual event that provides opportunities for the community to embrace and enjoy winter through a plethora of different activities. For the fifth consecutive year, Frostival will be hosting a myriad of peculiar events scattered throughout Fargo and its sister cities, West Fargo and Moorhead. In previous years, Frostival has only gone on over a two-day weekend. This year, however, Frostival activities take place over the course of six weeks.
Trevor Magnuson, the Recreation Specialist for the city of Moorhead, said that the drastic change in the duration of the events stemmed from several comments made by disappointed community members last year. In their remarks, they noted that everyday commitments often conflicted with their ability to make it to the fun Frostival festivities they’d wished to participate in. To generate more opportunities for residents to embrace the cold weather, the organizers of Frostival resolved to prolong its events. This year’s Frostival began on Dec. 15, 2019, and will end on Feb. 22, 2020.
Community members not only impact the span of Frostival, but influence what events are held, as well.
A great deal of the quirky, thrilling events put on by Frostival originate from the suggestions of interested community members, Thoreson said. The types of events range from family-focused affairs to those geared more toward adults, such as the Frostival Winter Mixer at Harold’s, an event hosted by a local bar that offers a mix of different activities. While there will be certain activities for kids, such as craft projects, the main attraction at the mixer, like an ice bar with a booze luge and beer, is for adults.
According to Magnuson, Frostival has something to offer everybody.
“There are so many different events that it would be hard to find one someone doesn’t enjoy,” Magnuson said.
Although it was created with the purpose of helping community members have fun in the outdoors, not all Frostival activities require heavy coats and snow pants.
On Feb. 1, an event known as “Log the Sauna” took place at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead. Rather than tremble in the merciless cold, attendees were able to relax in a traditional wood-fired barrel sauna. Fortunately for those who prefer warmth to winter’s frigidness, the sauna isn’t the only indoor activity offered by Frostival.
On Jan. 18 and 19, an indoor volleyball tournament was held at the Rustad Recreation Center in West Fargo. On Feb. 3, Frostival sponsored the Winter Wonderland Open Skate, an event held inside of the Cullen Hockey Center in Moorhead, that offered free skating to individuals of all ages.
Marquay Belcher, a Moorhead resident, attended the Winter Wonderland Open Skate with his nine-year-old son, Lennon. Belcher said that his experience was one of pure enjoyment and that he plans to participate in future Frostival festivities. For him and his son, these experiences help to lessen the sense of dismality that often accompanies winter.
“Winter can be really dreary, so it helps to have fun activities to do,” Belcher said.
This year’s Frostival activities will continue until Feb. 22, 2020. Community members can look forward to multiple upcoming activities, including the Undie Run, Beard Competition, Winter Kickball Tournament, and Ice Bowl Adult Disc Golf.
Thoreson says that Frostival fun will return next winter– with even more peculiar, exciting activities for community members to enjoy.