The city of Fargo, located in Cass County, North Dakota, may at first bring to mind the nefarious setting of the 1996 Coen brothers movie, Fargo, but the movie's hilariously dark depiction of this sleepy American town couldn't be farther from the truth. Nestled along the Red River of the North, which forms the border between Minnesota and North Dakota, this peaceful community of 100,000 is the cultural and political hub of the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area.
Again contrary to its fictional reputation, Fargo has consistently been named by publications like Men's Journal and Money Magazine as one of the best places to live for, among other things, its low unemployment rates, clean air, and quality of life. This, combined with its regional importance, mean that visitors to Fargo can expect to be welcomed warmly by content and active locals, whether in town for business at city hall or for soaking in the local flavor.
The Fargo-Moorhead region is home to a number of replica churches and monuments celebrating residents' predominantly Scandinavian heritage, like the Stavkirke Norwegian Church Replica and "The Viking Ship" at the Historical & Cultural Society of Clay County. Locals also take a tongue-in-cheek attitude about their fair city's place in movie history, and "The Woodchipper" exhibit, featuring the actual prop from the Coen brothers' film, is set proudly on display.
The Fargo Air Museum, Plains Art Museum, the Fargo Theatre, and the Bergquist Pioneer Cabin round out the town's cultural and historical offerings nicely.
The National Endowment for the Arts selected Fargo to receive an Our Town grant, one of only 51 grants awarded nationwide. The grant will allow Fargo to connect spaces, people, public art and infrastructure in a sustainable and creative way. The city fathers are working with ecological artist Jackie Brookner on a variety of aesthetic and educational projects around water and storm water runoff in parks, wetlands, and rivers.
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