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Greenway Takeover Festival begins this week

The first Greenway Takeover Festival starts Thursday in downtown Grand Forks, with entertainment, food, arts and crafts vendors, and activities for all ages.

The free, four-day festival will feature live music, games for kids and adults, beer sampling stations, a picnic area, a food truck alley and even a roller derby match—all on the greenway just north of the Sorlie Memorial Bridge.

HB Sound and Light is taking over the greenway with a massive stage, sound system and light show, and local, regional and headlining bands have been booked for each day of the festival, said Brian Lofthus, events coordinator with HB Sound and Light.

"Four arts groups are taking over a day in the festival, creating a unique sound and atmosphere, so no two days are alike," said Lofthus.

The groups are Alley Alive, for Thursday; Happy Harry's Blues on the Red, Friday; the Big Forkin' Festival, Saturday, and the North Dakota Museum of Art, Sunday.

Headliners include the Gear Daddies, Shannon Curfman, Dead Man Winter, and the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers.

"Bring a chair or a blanket and join us each day," Lofthus said. Cameras and strollers are welcome.

Festival goers are asked to not bring in food and beverages but, on arrival, may buy tickets purchase those items on-site.

Gates open at 5 p.m. Thursday when the event kicks off with music by The Red Light Quartet. Multiple entrances include behind the Toasted Frog restaurant on Third Street, off DeMers, and the bike path from the north and south.

For the complete festival schedule and map, visit

"Grand Forks has not done anything like this on this large a scale," said Tricia Lunski, marketing coordinator for HB Sound and Light, Grand Forks.

Lunski's husband, Jamie Lunski, owner of HB Sound and Light, has long wanted to reinvigorate the live music scene in Grand Forks, which he felt was "really vibrant" before the Flood of '97 but paled in years since, she said. "One day, he just said, 'It's now or never.' "

In planning the GTF, the Lunskis approached organizers of Alley Alive and the Big Forkin' Festival about combining forces, she said.

"The goal is to engage as many community organizations as possible," Tricia Lunski said, "such as the symphony, the youth choirs, SPA (Summer Performing Arts program)—anyone who wants to get involved. It gives them a stage they might not ordinarily get."

Jamie Lunski isn't planning a one-shot wonder, but something that continues annually.

"His idea is that it (could) be a weeklong event or held on consecutive weekends," Tricia Lunski said. "For example, we could have a 'SPA Takeover Day'—there are so many ideas out there."

"I'm just really excited to see how it can grow, how we can get other people excited about it," she said. "It's fun to do something new and different."

Volunteers are needed on days leading up to the event as well as to serve as greeters during the event. If interested, call HB Sound and Light at (701) 775-1150.

For more information, visit