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John Lamb, Published May 29 2013

Alley Fair, a showcase of another side of downtown, to feature crafts, music, food

FARGO - Joe Burgum raises a good point.

“It would be really hard to string lights across Broadway,” he says, sitting in Atomic Coffee, looking out onto a parking lot across downtown Fargo.

Stringing up festive lights isn’t a goal as much as it is a means of reaching one for the young event planner. Besides, he’s found a better spot to shine a little light.

Burgum, shown at left, is planning Saturday’s Alley Fair, a way of showcasing another side of downtown Fargo, in particular the back street between 300 Broadway and 309 Roberts St.

“We hope to throw a killer party but also hopefully reimagine an urban space,” Burgum says. “It’s not just an alley or a parking lot or a street dance, it’s a new venue.”

The event kicks off at noon with a collection of crafters and area artisans and music by Nina Grollman for a family-friendly afternoon that also features a wood-turning demo from DIY Wood Studio.

Edibles will be available from food truck vendors Taco Bros., Joe Sandwiches and neighboring restaurant Mezzaluna.

At 7 p.m. the artists and crafters will make way for an ID-only party with a beer garden, hosted by the Sidestreet Pub, and music from Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome from 8 to 11:30 p.m.

The Fargo Theatre is the alternate location in case of bad weather.

The 20-year-old Burgum, son of downtown entrepreneurs Doug Burgum and Karen Stoker, uses words like “activate” and “transform” to describe his vision for how he’ll make a paved stretch typically used for deliveries and smoke breaks into an appealing destination.

“I’m excited because it’s not going to be a cow pen in a parking lot,” he says, adding that he’s bringing in trees – or at least large branches – to decorate. Parts of the pavement will be painted over and yes, globe lights will be suspended around the event.

“I want to show that alleys can be amazing. Some of the best cities in the world have great alleys,” he says. “Alleys really show the character of cities. There are oddities and little nooks.”

He’s hoping the event is a big enough hit to bring it back next year, but he sees Alley Fair as more of a complement to the annual Downtown Street Fair than a competition. He says he’s worked with the Downtown Community Partnership on Alley Fair.

“It’s easy to get support when you’re planning a great event,” he says.

It also helps when the bulk of the event is located between buildings, 300 Broadway and 309 Roberts St., owned by his father’s Kilbourne Group.

Entrance to the 21-and-older event at 8 p.m. required IDs checked through 309 Roberts St.

“We want this to help other events downtown,” Joe says.

That sentiment is echoed by Ashley Morken, owner of Unglued, the Broadway craft market. She helped connect Burgum with crafters.

“The more unique and weird events we can have makes people appreciate living in Fargo,” she says, adding that she’d like to see more happenings off-Broadway.

“I just thought it was a super sexy event,” she says.

If you go

What: Alley Fair

When: Saturday from noon to 7 p.m., crafters and food vendors sell goods.

From 8 to 11:30 p.m., beer garden and music from Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome.

Where: The alley between 300 Broadway and 309 Roberts St., Fargo

Info: The afternoon craft fair is free.

The ID-only part at 8 p.m. is $10. www.alleyfair.eventbrite.com

Readers can reach Forum reporter

John Lamb at (701) 241-5533