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Rally for Recovery, a sober celebration, to be held Thursday in Grand Forks

The ninth-annual Rally for Recovery in Grand Forks is open to anyone, but its designed to give people in recovery a chance to have fun in an alcohol-free environment.

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An alcohol-free event in downtown Grand Forks aims to celebrate sobriety.

The ninth annual Rally for Recovery is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, in Town Square. It’s designed to be a sort-of block party where people who are recovering from an addiction can commemorate that process and let their hair down a little, according to Marlys Fisher, an addiction counselor and the chair of the rally’s organizing committee.

“There is so much work that goes into getting well that I think sometimes people don’t know how to have fun or they’re not sure it’s OK to have fun,” Fisher said.

The rally is open to anyone, not just people who are working their way back from an addiction. Fisher and other organizers have scheduled a DJ, a catered dinner from Texas Roadhouse, prize raffles, and a lengthy list of speakers that includes Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski, mental health workers and other counselors, plus two area residents who are set to recount their own stories of recovery.

“The more we talk and share our stories with one another, the more it destigmatizes it for people who are dealing with it, the more the community can see and become involved,” Fisher said. Earlier rallies have centered on parades with the same fundamental goal.


And alcohol-free events in Grand Forks can be hard to come by, which presents a challenge for people who are working to stay sober, especially at first.

“I've had multiple people say that they would just love to go play pool, but there's nowhere they can go play pool in early recovery without being in a bar,” Fisher said. “It’s hard to find places to just do things that doesn’t involve alcohol.”

Joe Bowen is an award-winning reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. He covers schools and education across the Northland.

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