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Small-town, big celebration in Hoople, ND

HOOPLE, N.D. -- Hundreds of people are descending on the place known as "Tater Town, USA" in Walsh County to celebrate 125 years of building a lasting community.

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Spectators line the roads in Hoople, ND to grab a spot for Saturday's parade in celebration of the town's 125th Anniversary of being founded. (Luke Franke/Grand Forks Herald)

HOOPLE, N.D. - Hundreds of people are descending on the place known as “Tater Town, USA” in Walsh County to celebrate 125 years of building a lasting community.

Beginning Friday and continuing today, the small town of about 242 people is hosting a variety of events in order to bring people near and far together to remember years past and to celebrate what organizers say is a “bright future” for the town.

“You have to be proud of small-town communities like this,” said Ron Buchwitz, a member of the seven-member quasquicentennial planning committee.

Some of the events held throughout the three-day event have included a rib fest, street dances, a fireworks display, pig races and a concert by the Johnny Holm Band. Today’s events are focused primarily on First Lutheran Church, which is celebrating its 100th year of service to the town.

A parade consisting of more than 150 entries Saturday drew large crowds from surrounding communities and afar, including visitors from the Netherlands.

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Laverne Tcaralson has been living in the community for more than 80 years and enjoyed the parade as it passed by her house, which she and her husband built in 1950.

“The community has worked so hard to prepare for this, but it’s been so rewarding to see it,” she said.

Tcaralson’s daughter, Ruth Hall, grew up in Hoople and said she is still fond of the town, despite the fact that she now lives in Las Vegas.

“So many people have moved away, but Hoople is always home,” she said. “Hoople will always be our home.”

Someone with more connection to the town than most is Bette Hoople Larson, the great granddaughter of Allen Hoople, who founded the town.

In 2012, Larson began compiling information to create what eventually turned into a book called “All Things Hoople,” which commemorates the community’s 125th anniversary.

“For those of us from Hoople, and those having had any ties or connections at all, this event is one we have all been looking forward to with great anticipation to celebrate with those we’ve known all of our lives and those we’ve met through the years with a common bond to Hoople,” she said. “It’s nice to raise a glass to our forefathers and honor their hard work to create a beautiful little town.”

Although its population has dwindled over the years, many young families are settling down and establishing roots here.

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Jodi Fedje and her husband, David, are raising three children in the town and have been living in Hoople for about nine years.

Jodi said the close-knit community ties are irreplaceable when it comes to raising a family.

“You have friends everywhere you go,” she said. “It’s just an amazing place.”

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