Salvation Army's Big Ring set for Nov. 24 at two Valley Dairy locations in Grand Forks

This year's event will include an online auction.

Richard Sandwick, one of many volunteers for the 2019 Big Ring event, pumps gas for a customer at the Valley Dairy in south Grand Forks. This year's Big Ring, which benefits the Grand Forks Salvation Army, is planned for 6 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 24. (Submitted photo)

The Salvation Army’s annual fundraising event, The Big Ring, set for Nov. 24, will take place at two Valley Dairy locations and will include an online auction this year.

Businesses, organizations and individuals donate a certain amount of cents per gallon sold that day. Last year’s donations totaled more than $1.75 per gallon and almost 9,000 gallons were pumped.

Volunteers from around the community take shifts pumping gas so customers don’t have to leave their vehicles.

The 14th annual event, hosted by Valley Dairy and Leighton Broadcasting, runs from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 24.


The locations are Valley Dairy businesses at 1220 University Ave. and 4701 S. Washington St.

The online silent auction, which begins at noon Sunday, Nov. 22, can be found at the Salvation Army’s Big Ring page on Facebook, . The auction was moved online to ease concerns regarding social distancing. The Salvation Army is planning to have at least 100 items, including a remote car starter as well as jewelry available for bidding.

“With COVID-19 affecting so many we serve, the need has never been greater, not only for the Salvation Army, but for the community of Grand Forks, Lt. Matthew Beatty of the Grand Forks Salvation Army, said in a news release.

The Big Ring has normally been held the first week in December in connection with the kickoff of the Christmas red-kettle season. The Salvation Army’s advisory board decided to move it ahead of the holidays, in light of the busy seasonal schedules and to avoid potentially severe winter weather.

The major fundraiser has netted nearly $50,000 annually to families in the greater Grand Forks region over the past several years, according to a Salvation Army news release.

Businesses or organizations that wish to donate an auction item, pledge a certain amount per gallon of gas pumped, or arrange for volunteers to serve at the event are asked to contact the Salvation Army by email,, call or visit the Salvation Office at (701) 775-2597 or at 1600 University Ave.


Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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