Hey there summer! Nice to see you again!

It’s that time of year again, time for the annual Grand Cities Art Fest held in downtown Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. I always think of the Art Fest weekend as the official beginning of summer, all schools are out, the weather has (hopefully) taken a turn for the better and flip flops have become my daily choice of footwear.

The 9th annual Art Fest will be held this weekend, June 11th and 12th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Two full days of art, entertainment, and my personal favorite, really good food.

Even if you aren’t really into the whole idea of arts and crafts, I would still encourage you to check out the Art Fest. Get out and enjoy your community, grab some greasy food and check out the two stages showcasing area musicians and performers.

A few tips for a better Art Fest experience:

- If you don’t plan on showing up early be prepared to utilize one of the two downtown Grand Forks parking ramps. Not to worry, the weather looks to be nice so a block or two walk to the action won’t be so bad.

- Wear sunscreen. I, unfortunately, didn’t heed my own advice and ended up resembling a lobster a few years ago. That is not an attractive look for anyone.

- Eat lots of food. Forget the calories, fat and general heart-attack-inducing properties of the food offered and just enjoy how good it tastes. And bring a roll of Tums for dessert.

For more information on the Grand Cities Art Fest check out the North Valley Arts Council website at http://www.novac.org/grand-cities-art-fest.html. You can also find a schedule of musical acts and performances at http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/206216/.

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School’s out for summer

It’s a busy weekend here in the Grand Cities. Spring commencement at UND and Northland Community and Technical College will not only unleash numerous bright young minds into the world, but will also usher in the beginning of summer for those of you who spent the past four months toiling in the classroom.

Downtown Grand Forks should be hopping both Friday and Saturday nights. If the bar is your scene, park your car in the parking ramp (I advise heading for the top level to avoid tickets) and head for your favorite watering hole. No one likes bailing their friends out of jail so be sure to take a cab home.

For those of you looking for a different, daytime scene, here are a few ideas:

- Heroes of Hope walk: Saturday, May 14 supporters of Heroes of Hope will walk to raise money for brain cancer research. The walk begins at 9 a.m. at Lincoln Drive Park. Participants pay $25 and can walk 1.3 miles or do the full 5k. The fee goes to the Heroes of Hope campaign. Check out the Heroes of Hope website for more information. Also, check out this article from the Herald profiling those involved. It’s a good read.

- Arts and Craft show: Saturday May 14, and Sunday May 15, the Blue Line Club and Arena will host a spring arts and crafts show featuring sporting goods, garden, floral, candy, ceramics, jewelry and other items. The show will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The Blue Line Club and Arena is located at 25th St. and 17th Ave. S. in Grand Forks.

- Dance Recital: Nancy Paisley Ballet School will be performing a spring recital at the Chester Fritz auditorium Saturday evening beginning at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Featuring both cute little kids and cute big kids performing. Check out the the Chester Fritz website for more information.

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Are you looking for a little mischief?

Head over to Joe Blacks tonight for live music courtesy of Dead Ringer.

Formally known as Mischief, Dead Ringer is a local band that has recently done a little revamping. Fronted by Grand Forks’ own Lynette Neppel, Dead Ringer covers everything from Heart to Led Zeppelin. The band has added an additional guitarist and, according to Neppel, this has helped expand their repertoire and added versatility.

There is no cover charge for this show but you must be 21 to attend. Music starts at 10 p.m. so come out early to check out Dead Ringer. New name, same great music.

Joe Blacks is a bar located in downtown Grand Forks. Check out its website for more information. For more information on Dead Ringer check out the bands Facebook page.

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Quick hits for the weekend scene

- “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” will be performed at the Fire Hall Theater in downtown Grand Forks. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Sunday. This musical is interactive in that the audience decides how it will end. Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for seniors, students and members of the military. Tickets can be purchased at the Chester Fritz Box office.

- The ‘Healthy Living Expo 2011’ is being held Saturday at the Alerus Center ballroom in Grand Forks. The expo offers seminars, samples and screenings that are focused on health and wellbeing. Parking, admission and all of the seminars are free. Learn new exercise techniques and sample four meals under 400 calories. The expo begins at 9:00 a.m. The final seminar will begin at 4:15 p.m. Remember, summer is right around the corner.

- The Empire Arts Center will host ‘Yoji-a benefit for the people of Japan’ on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is free and free will donations will be accepted at the door. Proceeds will go to World Vision Japan which has been providing support to the people of Japan since the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occured on March 11, 2011. There will be musical performances, a Kendo demonstration and a silent auction. For more information on the benefit check out this Facebook page. Information on World Vision International can be found at the organization’s website.

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Hit up this hootenanny

What, you ask, is a hootenanny?

To paraphrase my trusty Webster’s, a hootenanny is a get-together of folk singers for a performance, often involving audience participation.

Consider it the very first Hootenanny of Hope. It will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday night at the East Grand Forks American Legion. The event is a fundraiser for Relay for Life.

 If you’re leery of hopping onstage and warbling your own version of “Poker Face,” no need to worry. There are other ways to get involved. There’s a silent auction that features items donated by area businesses and artwork by Grand Forks’ Adam Kemp. Watch artist Liz Lunde as she creates pieces especially for the event; Lunde’s pieces will also be featured in the silent auction. Then there’s foot-tappin’ mood music featuring local bands The Hasties and the North River Ramblers. Appetizers will be served and the event is open to all ages.

A suggested donation of $5 at the door makes you eligable for door prizes. If you wish to donate more feel free, all of the proceeds from the event will go to the American Cancer Society.

 You can get more information on Relay for Life on the organization’s website, and more info about Saturday’s Hootenanny of Hope on this Facebook link.

Let me end this post with a scenario: Imagine going to a University of North Dakota basketball game at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center on campus. Picture a sold-out crowd.

 Now imagine that every person attending the game has cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 3,300 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in North Dakota in 2010.

 The seating capacity at the Betty is 3,300.

 That helps define this weekend’s Hootenanny of Hope, too.

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The Scene debuts with a big helping of Goulash

Welcome to The Scene.

This blog is dedicated to finding fun, interesting, charitable and sometimes out-of-the-ordinary things to do. As your intrepid author, I am on a mission to search out and write about what’s happening in Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and the surrounding area that appeals to young adults.

Whether it’s the bar, theater, sports, community events or any other scene, you will find ideas here. Don’t worry; not all of the scenes will require an age minimum.

What’s your scene? Know of something coming up? Email me at amartz@gfherald.com with upcoming events or ideas.

Here’s a scene you might want to check out this weekend:

You won’t need napkins with this Goulash

If you’re craving something a little different this weekend, head to downtown Grand Forks Saturday night for a serving of Goulash.

Coming out of St. Paul’s East Side, Goulash is a rock/reggae group that, according to the band’s Facebook page, “blends reggae and dub undertones with edgy punk and rap vocal stylings.”

This is not the first time Goulash has played at the Crosstown Lounge. Their shows are high energy with songs ranging from originals to covers. The three band members — Gordon Johnson, Jesse Gaston and Nick Johnston —  claim responsibility for not only playing music but bringing “mischief, fat rips and bad attitudes.”

For more information on Goulash, or a little taste of what they bring to the table, check out their Facebook page or MySpace page.

Music starts at 10 p.m. Five dollars gets you in the door plus a free drink ticket. You must be at least 21. The Crosstown is at 308 Demers Ave. in Grand Forks; more bar info on its Facebook page or website.

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