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Put on a green shirt and enjoy a unique weekend

A crowd gathers for the 2016 Potato Bowl Parade. Herald file photo.

The first time we heard that UND’s homecoming and Potato Bowl would this year coincide, we were excited by the potential. It’s a unique scheduling glitch that we suppose has frustrated some traditionalists, but not us.

The combined week is happening because of an odd start to the UND football schedule. In past years, the first game of the season usually was reserved as the annual Potato Bowl, a university and citywide tradition that’s been going on since 1966. But this year’s opener fell on a Thursday evening – not the best situation if a community is trying to cram a week of festivities around a football game.

So Potato Bowl week was pushed deeper into September, and traditionally, that’s homecoming time. It’s all fine with us, since it intensifies the communitywide excitement that comes around each September.

Earlier this month, Grand Forks was named the state’s best college town by the website, which analyzed various factors, including city population, rental costs, college education rates, transportation access, unemployment rates and bar access. Sure, it’s simply a data crunch, but we’ll take the designation and run with it. Others in the community should, too, and this is a good week for it.

Our advice?

Celebrate. Get outside and have fun. Temperatures Friday and Saturday should be pleasant -- around 60 degrees. Unfortunately, expected rain Thursday has canceled the Simplot French Fry Feed at University Park. That’s a shame, because the feed is one of this community’s trademark events.

Wear green and encourage others to do the same. Businesses really should be pushing this.

Attend Saturday’s football game at the Alerus Center. Grand Forks is home to a nationally ranked Division I college football team that last week beat the No. 5 team in the nation. The roster includes 48 players from either North Dakota or Minnesota. This is our team and it deserves the region’s support. Kickoff against Idaho State is 4 p.m.  

Be on the lookout for the winners of the prestigious Sioux Award, who this year include Jeanne (Heilman) Crain, Phil Jackson, Michael Lodoen, Mary (Muehlen) Maring and Lauris Molbert. Also, Kayla (Hoerth) Delzer and Darren Moquist will receive the Young Alumni Achievement Award.

Listen to live rock music downtown in Town Square from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday.

And lastly, enjoy what we expect to be a massive parade, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. The route this year will go through downtown Grand Forks on DeMers Avenue.

This unique week may not happen again for a long time. Take advantage of it.