GRAND FORKS — It will be an action packed weekend in Grand Forks. Several thousand visitors are expected to pass through to after a year of dealing with COVID cancellations.
"Now we're starting to see it really kick in again," explained Julie Rygg, executive director of Visit Grand Forks. "Probably in the last few weeks, we've had a number of festivals and events come back."
The NDSU Bison versus UND Fighting Hawks football game sold out at the more than 12,000 seat Alerus Center. Fans hoping to score last-minute tickets from scalpers should be prepared to pay double the original price. Looking for second-hand tickets on StubHub, buyers can expect to pay between $70 and $500 for a seat. Most of them are not even close to the 50 yard line.
One person posted a listing on Facebook for two $56 tickets to the football game, asking for $300. They sold.
The Eric Church concert still has plenty of available tickets, but it's getting hard to find a room to stay in Friday night. CanadInn and many other hotels have no availability. Other hotels with vacancies are charging hundreds of dollars per room. Saturday night after the football and hockey games have more hotel availability, but room prices are remain sky-high.
The surge in visitors means restaurants and bars will be busy. Visitor center staff keep in tough with these businesses when big events are coming up.
"We need more people to work but they've been doing a great job, and the people who are working in those industries are working so hard right now," Rygg said.
A couple weekends ago, the Alerus Center broke its all-time attendance record—seating more than 22,000 people for the Luke Combs concert. It's unclear if such a record will be broken again this weekend, but expect visitor numbers to be well into the thousands.
There are still plenty of tickets available for the UND hockey opener at The Ralph, ranging from $20 to $90.