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How to Throw A Great Fargo Marathon Party

Every May, Fargo goes crazy for the Fargo Marathon. This year over 24,000 people signed up for the races and thousands more packed the route, which winds 26.2 miles through parks and neighborhoods in two cities and two states.

Even non-runners get in on the action, with spectators, performers and volunteers lining the marathon route to offer encouragement, water and refreshments to the runners. The spectacle creates an almost electric energy.

The biggest (and loudest) crowds are traditionally found in Downtown Fargo and in the residential neighborhoods just south, along 8th and 9th Street, from 15th Avenue South up to Main Avenue. The shady streets are atmospheric under normal circumstances, but when the marathon comes to town, these folks pull out all the stops. Here are some tips for throwing — or finding! — a great Fargo Marathon bash.

#1 – Be on the Marathon Route. (Or make friends with people that are.)

If the marathon gods have honored you with a place on the route, you owe it to the world to put out a table, pour some drinks and cheer on all the people who are crazy enough to run for fun. The route changes every year, so check the website for annual course updates. #2 – Make Noise.

Music and cheering create the energy that encourages the runners and makes the party fun for your guests.  The marathon planners place a band or DJ at every mile marker, so if you’re looking for a party, just follow the rumble of bass.

If you’re not near a music station,  make an upbeat playlist and turn it up loud.

When in doubt, just cheer and high-five, like the ladies below.

The runners say the crowd energy at this race is awesome, and it’s just as important as water breaks and energy gummies. If your voice needs a rest, reach for instruments or noisemakers. The sounds of the Fargo Marathon include clappers, rumble sticks, maracas, a Native American drum circle and a ton of cowbells.

#3 – Bust Out Some Brunch.

All the best parties have a great food and drink spread, often served potluck style under a tent to protect against the elements. Muffins and mini quiches were popular this year, and bellinis and beer were the most popular drinks served.

#4 – Get Creative with Seating.

Pull out the patio furniture and folding chairs, use the coolers as seats or keep the kids in their strollers. The gentleman who was sitting in this chair just moved to the neighborhood and didn’t realize there was a marathon going on until he ran into an Elvis impersonator when he was walking his dog!

If your parents are especially cool, like Sara’s are, they’ll bring along a sweet blow-up seat and the runners will adore you.

#5 – Make Signs.

They encourage family and friends who are running and inspire total strangers. They might even get you a date.


#6 – Get a Gimmick.

Not everybody can hang out above traffic like the Fargo Fire Department, but anybody can set up a balloon canopy, a bubble machine or implement a crazy dress code.

And if all else fails, just blow up a giant gum ball machine for the neighborhood kids to bounce around in. Go big or go home!


Happy Marathon Day from Prairie Style File! How do you celebrate The Fargo Marathon? Do you prefer to run or cheer? Why?

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