Charly Haley, The Forum, Published May 24 2013
VIDEO: Fargo woman's birthday carries elaborate surprise
When the blindfold was removed, Holt was presented with a picnic, and the couple shared some wine.
It was her 30th birthday, so she suspected she was in for a surprise.
“I thought it was going to be a picnic for just the two of us, and then we were going to dinner with everyone else afterwards,” said Holt, a reporter at The Forum.
But then the ukulele players showed up – and Holt knew this was more than an intimate picnic.
Musicians, dancers and friends of the couple gathered around the picnic blanket in a flash mob – a recent trend that uses social media to organize large groups usually with the purpose of entertainment – to serenade the couple with “Grow Old With You,” from the film “The Wedding Singer.”
The music segued into “Ho Hey,” by The Lumineers, with singers chanting “I belong with you, you belong with me.”
Holt smiled and waved as she saw familiar faces in the crowd of about 50 people.
The mob made its way to the Island Park gazebo, where Williams led Holt up the stairs as the crowd of friends, family and performers watched.
There, about 5:30 p.m. Friday, Williams got down on one knee with a bouquet of white roses and a single red rose, and asked Holt to marry him.
The couple kissed, and the crowd erupted. When the couple broke their embrace and turned to their onlookers, someone yelled to Williams that he didn’t hear the answer.
“She said ‘yes!’ ” Williams yelled, and the crowd cheered again.
Then, the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Holt as she stood in the gazebo with her fiancé.
“I feel completely overwhelmed,” Holt said, shaking but happy.
Williams, 34, who works at US Bank and is a local musician, had been planning the proposal with friends’ help since late January.
“This was a lot of work, a lot of planning, and a lot of keeping secrets from a best friend which is, like, impossible,” said Lana Jackson, a friend of the couple. “But no one deserves it more than her.”
All of the musicians in the flash mob were friends of the couple, Jackson said, and the dancers were from Red River Dance & Performing Company.
Williams’ parents and son were there, and Holt’s parents had planned to fly in from their home in Maine, but weather caused their flight to be canceled.
The mob rehearsed in Island Park from noon Friday until just before 5 p.m., when they got in their hiding spots and Williams led Holt into the park.
Williams said the event went better than he expected.
“I just wanted to give her a day she’d never forget,” he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311