Visitation to North Dakota remains strong after Labor Day

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Bismarck, N.D. – Labor Day Weekend signifies the last big push for the summer travel season, giving many people the impression that tourism dwindles after this signature holiday. But that’s not so in North Dakota, according to North Dakota Tourism.

“A recent visitor study showed September and October, considered the shoulder season in the tourism industry, trends high in visitation and not far behind the peak summer travel season,” Sara Otte Coleman, director of North Dakota Tourism said. “During the shoulder season, the weather and scenery are still nice. And, as families settle into their school routine, visitors without kids hit the road to take advantage of fewer crowds and reasonable pricing.”

Otte Coleman also attributes North Dakota’s strong fall visitation to the abundance of events statewide. “Communities across North Dakota celebrate fall with a variety of cultural and harvest-related festivals, ranging from small community-wide events to large draws like the United Tribes International Powwow and the Norsk Høstfest.”

Here are a handful of North Dakota events on the fall lineup:

  • 48th annual Potato Bowl, Grand Forks (Sept. 2-7): Created in 1965, this popular week-long event teams the University of North Dakota and the Red River Valley potato growing industry. Highlights of this annual festival include the World's Largest French Fry Feed and fireworks, Potato Bowl parade, 8-K run and Tater Tot Trot, tailgate party and University of North Dakota football game.
  • 44th annual United Tribes International Powwow, Bismarck(Sept. 5-8): One of North Dakota’s premier cultural events showcasing champion dancers from across the United States and Canada. This year’s showcase dancers are the Explendor Azteca Aztec Dancers.
  • Medora Musical, Medora(through Sept. 7): The “Greatest Show in the West” is professionally produced and performed outdoors in the beautiful North Dakota Badlands.
  • Papa’s Pumpkin Patch, Bismarck (Sept. 9 - Oct. 19): A fall family tradition since 1983. The pumpkin-lined paths lead kids of all ages to hours of fun. After selecting the perfect pumpkin, enjoy pony rides, Slide Mountain, a train ride, horse-drawn hay rides, nature trails, a corn maze, pumpkin cannons and so much more. Don’t forget to take pictures in this scenic fall destination.
  • Big Iron, Fargo (Sept. 10 - 12): The Midwest’s largest Ag expo showcases the newest and best in agriculture equipment.
  • Roughrider Rodeo Finals, Jamestown (Sept. 27 - 29): The best of the best compete in bareback riding, saddle bronc, bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, junior events and more.
  • Norsk Høstfest, Minot (Oct. 1 - 5): North America's largest Scandinavian festival features world-class entertainment, Scandinavian craftsmen, artists, dancers and delicious delicacies. This year’s entertainment lineup includes Alabama, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Kris Kristofferson, Bill Cosby, Marty Stuart, and many more.

Outdoor recreation, college sports and scenic drives are big attractions

In addition to fall festivals and events, outdoor recreation and college sports are a strong draw to the state during the fall, noted Otte Coleman. “Many people come to North Dakota to experience our great hunting and fishing opportunities. Plus, the back-to-school season signifies the start of sports, tailgating season and homecoming games. All of these activities attract people who stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores.” 

With fall colors about to dot nature’s canvas, scenic drives are also a popular thing to do this time of the year. “Whether on the back of a motorcycle or in a car, cruising North Dakota’s scenic byways and backways is a great way to discover off-the-beaten-path destinations and admire the beauty of fall and our state.”

For more information about events, attractions and activities in North Dakota, go to, or phone 701-328-2525 or 800-435-5663.

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