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Published June 04 2013

Fest fashions: What to wear at this summer’s area events

FARGO – For festival fans, there’s plenty to enjoy throughout the next few months, ranging from music to food to culture.

Just as these festivals feature unique bands and venues, each brings together different demographics, resulting in fest-specific attire.

Because festival fashion might seem complicated to someone who’s never been before, I turned to my colleague Anna Larson for help in figuring out what one should wear to upcoming events like WE Fest or Moondance Jam.

Anna – my cubicle-mate and the closest thing I have to a personal stylist – offered her suggestions on how to fit in, but she also said it’s not a deal breaker if you can’t find anything appropriate.

“Wear what makes you feel confident and comfortable,” she said. “Create a look that works for you.”


When: Today through Saturday

Where: Fargodome, 1800 N. University Ave., Fargo; www.happyharrys

ribfest.com, (701) 241-9100

What to wear: When it comes to RibFest, the most important piece of clothing you can wear isn’t necessarily fashionable, but useful: A bib, to protect yourself from messy BBQ sauces.

Sure, there are napkins and wipes available at the event, but bringing your own bib shows just how dedicated you are.

Disposable or cloth, you can’t go wrong wearing your favorite bib to RibFest.

Scandinavian Hjemkomst and Midwest Viking festivals

Where: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 28-29

Where: Hjemkomst Center, 202 1st Ave. N., Moorhead; more info at www.hcscconline.org or (218) 299-5511

What to wear: Both festivals, which are held on the same days at the Hjemkomst Center, appeal to very specific groups, says Tim Jorgensen, events coordinator of the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County.

That appeal is reflected in what festival attendees wear to the events.

“If people have a traditional outfit from a Scandinavian country, they tend to wear it to the festival,” Jorgensen says. “As for Viking enthusiasts, they may certainly dress up and feel right at home in the outdoor Viking camp.”

And if visitors don’t have either a Scandinavian outfit or a Viking getup, “they may dress comfortably,” Jorgensen says.

This festival might prove the most difficult to outfit. If you can track down a legitimate Viking helmet, that’s probably your best bet.

But if all else fails, throw on your lefse T-shirt or Minnesota Vikings jersey and call it good.

Red River Valley Fair, Downtown Fargo Street Fair

When: RRVF is July 9-14 and street fair comes to town July 18-20

Where: Red River Valley Fairgrounds, West Fargo; more info at www.redrivervalleyfair.com or (701) 282-2200; Downtown Fargo; more info at downtownfargo.com

What to wear: Anna and I decided to combine the Red River Valley Fair and Downtown Fargo Street Fair, as both require roughly the same kind of attire.

Jodi Buresh, assistant general manager of the RRVF, says it’s important fair-goers dress appropriately for the weather.

“If you are coming for all day, plan accordingly,” she says. “It can be very hot and sunny during the day and will cool off in the evening at the concerts. Wear comfortable shoes.”

For women going to either of these two fairs, Anna suggests comfortable shoes – specifically, flat sandals – and something to keep you cool while walking around, such as a maxi dress.

Similarly, I kept my choices for these festivals simple. Shorts, a T-shirt and a hat were all I needed.

Of all of the area festivals we included, these two were the most basic.

Moondance Jam

When: July 17-20

Where: 7050 39th Ave. N.W., Walker, Minn.; more info at www.moondancejam.com or (877) 666-6526

What to wear: Besides obvious camping gear like sweatshirts and swimsuits, attendees at Moondance Jam often sport official shirts from past festivals, says Bernie Schumacher, Moondance’s media coordinator.

“We also see a lot of band T-shirts of bands they have seen in concert before,” she adds.

Along those lines, Anna went with a rock-themed outfit.

“When Motley Crue is in the lineup, edgier festival attire is a must,” she says, women should go with a band T-shirt and a fedora.

For men, I also found a retro-looking Pink Floyd T-shirt ($10 at Wal-Mart) that would fit right in with the crowd, even if the band isn’t among Moondance’s lineup.

WE Fest

When: Aug. 1-3

Where: Soo Pass Ranch, 25526 Highway 22, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; more info at www.wefest.com or (800) 493-3378

What to wear: “Break out the boots, plaid and paisley print,” Anna says. “This is a country music festival after all.”

For her WE Fest outfit, Anna started with a pair of cut-off jean shorts. If you don’t have any, don’t fret – anyone can cut their own with a pair of scissors.

“If you’re cutting an old pair of jeans, remember that tight-fitting jeans won’t make comfortable cut-off shorts,” Anna says.

Once cut, throw the jeans in the wash to get a rugged, worn-in look, she suggests.

After that, clothing in Anna’s outfit was at a minimum.

“Festival-goers sport little clothing during the hot daytime hours, and Soo Pass Ranch is located on Lake Sally,” she says. “So you’ll want your swimsuit handy.”

Of course, jean cut-offs don’t have to just be for women. Any sense of respectable fashion goes out the door at WE Fest, so I went ahead and made a pair of cut-offs for myself, as well.

That’s not the only bit of customizing I did – I also took a pair of scissors to a $5 country music T-shirt from Wal-Mart to cut off the sleeves and let my arms breathe a little.

Pairing it with a black cowboy hat, I was all set to blend in with the throngs of WE Fest’s country fans.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535