Tag Archives: First on First Dickinson Summer Nights

Review Of First On First July 13 Concert In Dickinson, North Dakota

For the past four years I have been going to the downtown concerts in Dickinson, North Dakota on Thursday afternoons in the summer.  The concerts used to be called “Alive At 5”, but last year they changed the name to “First On First”.  The Odd Fellows Lodge organizes, runs, and comes up with the funding for the events.

Because I started a new job in the beginning of June, and I had to work out of town, this is the first downtown summer concert that I was able to go to this year, besides the July 3rd concert at the Paragon Bowling Alley.

At the First On First concerts, the streets are closed at 4:00 p.m. from the Rock Bar down to Bernie’s Esquire Club.  A stage is set up, various food vendors set up, a kid’s bounce house is inflated, and several outdoor bars are set up.  There is no charge for admission, it is open to all ages of people, pets are allowed, and neighborhood animals come.

I would like to first list the local celebrities that were in attendance.  “Wild Bill” Palanuk, local radio show host, and radio, television, and video narrator.  Kevin Holten, director of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall Of Fame and host of the television show “Cowboy Moments”.  Brock White, DJ and Master of Ceremonies.  Bernie Marsh, owner of Bernie’s Esquire Club and father of Marinna Marsh who is known world wide for her beauty.  Tracy Tooz, owner of Tooz Construction and organizer/sponsor of First On First.  Beni Paulson, Board of Directors High Plains Culture Center and member of Outlaw Sippin band.  Emil “The Edge” Anheluk, North Dakota Ukrainian Dance Association president and lead accordion player with Outlaw Sippin band.

Kristi Schwartz, president of Downtown Dickinson Association and owner of Allstate Insurance.  Kathy Fisher, owner of the Rock Bar.  Marchell Kubas, “List Of Attractive Women In Dickinson”.

The second aspect of this past Thursday’s First On First concert that I want to point out, is that this is one of the very few times and places in Dickinson where you will see attractive women.  Attractive women come to this event like birds to a bird bath or bird feeder.

There was quite a range of attractive women.  There were dignified housewives and professional women that wore nice light weight summer dresses or business slacks.  There were nice housewives and single women that wore jeans or walking shorts.  There were women that were seeking attention that wore shorter dresses, shorter shorts, and tops that could be revealing if they “weren’t paying attention”, accidentally on purpose.

There were Skank women that came to this event, women of dis-repute, and young women that would soon be women of dis-repute.  As far as I was concerned, there were three regionally infamous women of dis-repute at this event, which were entertaining to watch, from a distance.  You have to be out of range of how far they could spill a drink, which is how far they could throw a drink.  They wear revealing clothing, such as short shorts, small tank tops, and cut off sleeveless shirts.  They have to be out in front where every one can see them, and be the center of attention, and they become a spectacle when they get drunk.

On Wednesday I had observed a tall thin woman about 30 years old walking across a parking lot.  I was so attracted to her that I wanted to go right up to her and talk to her, but I was stuck talking to my former room mate who drove up and was telling me about his health problems.  She walked about as fast as a Bigfoot, with very long, quick strides, and I knew that I would have a hard time catching up to her, as my former room mate babbled on.

I felt that no one could tell it but me, that this girl was about as attractive as a model.  She was wearing eye glasses, had her hair tied back, was wearing baggy jeans, and a T-shirt, but I could tell that she was tall, thin, well proportioned, had a pretty face, nice complexion, pretty hair, that she was healthy, and I could tell what her personality was like, from having met women like her before.  Out of nervousness and not thinking, she waved at me.  But she got out of range, I didn’t want to head her off with my vehicle.

Serendipitously, I saw this tall, thin, model like girl at the First On First concert on Thursday.  I didn’t want to run right up to her, and scare her, and embarrass myself.  She bought a ticket to go in the VIP corral, and though I would be allowed in if I asked Brock White or Tracey Tooz, I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of everyone in the VIP and scare her off.  I waited for a better chance to talk to her.

Finally, I stopped her as she was coming out of the Rock Bar.  I explained that I had seen her yesterday, and that I wanted to talk to her because I thought that she was attractive, but that I was stuck talking to my former room mate.  She made me explain where this was, and why I thought that this was her, and I explained everything in detail enough that she was flattered that I had remembered her in such detail, and that I must have in fact wanted to meet her.  She was from Washington State, and she had been here in Dickinson for two months.  I talked to her for about ten minutes, and I let her go, saying that I hoped to see her again.

I interjected this personal story, to explain that the First On First concerts are a chance for people to meet and talk to people that they see or deal with in Dickinson during the day, but don’t have the opportunity to have a conversation with otherwise.  Also, it is an opportunity to make an ass of yourself, like I have almost done.  On more than one occasion, I had picked out a girl that I liked, and I wanted to approach, convinced in my mind that this was a good idea, and it turned out that everyone there knew that she was married but me, or that she was a drunk and everyone knew it but me, or that she was a low Skank, not even a fancy Skank, and everyone there knew it but me.

This First On First, I would characterize it as “very balanced” in every way.  The music was not too loud, the people were spread out evenly across the whole downtown area, there were equal and moderate lines at every food vendor and alcohol bar.  There were young and old people, a variety of dog breeds, professional people, blue collar people, retirees, disabled, hippies, high school kids, college students, out of state people, local people, yuppies, farmers, ranchers, and red necks.  Since every one was spread out across the downtown event area, there were no conflicts or fights, even though a great deal of alcohol was sold.

Three bands performed from 5:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.  I would estimate that the number of people at the Rock Bar, Bernie’s Esquire Club, The Odd Fellows VIP lounge and corral, and the event area between 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. stayed at approximately 700 people.  Even though I do not like the Dickinson Police following me around when I am driving, they are very helpful at the concerts and events in Dickinson.  At events like the Hairball concert, the Paragon Bowling Alley concert, and the First On First concerts, the events go so much smoother when the Dickinson Police are there, because the drunk people actually make the decision that they are not going to fight, grab a hold of people, damage property, and have a tirade, because they don’t want to be tasered, handcuffed, and taken to jail.

My Ninth Most Favorite Person In Dickinson, The Odd Fellows Lodge

My ninth most favorite person in Dickinson, North Dakota is the Odd Fellows Lodge.  I only became aware of the Odd Fellows Lodge in Dickinson in the summer of 2014 when I went to the downtown concert called Alive @ 5.  The Odd Fellows Lodge was the sponsor and organizer for Alive @ 5.  The Odd Fellows Lodge in Dickinson had existed since 1887.

Kevin Holten, who had been a professional rodeo rider, president of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, and writer for the Dickinson Press, joined the Odd Fellows Lodge in 2009.  In 2010, Kevin Holten organized the first Alive @ 5 in Dickinson with the Odd Fellows Lodge, I believe that it was his idea in the first place.  Kevin Holten is very mild-mannered and low-key, and I have never seen him say,  “I thought of it, it was my idea, and it’s mine, mine, mine!”

From the first Alive @ 5, and continuing, the Outlaw Sippin Band performs at the downtown summer concerts, provides and sets up their sound equipment for the concerts.  Even though sound equipment set up, operation, and take down goes from about 2:00 p.m. on Thursdays until about 1:00 a.m. Friday morning, I have never seen Beni Paulson, Brady Paulson, Emil Anheluk or any other Outlaw Sippin members gripe, complain, or argue.

Eric Smallwood was the lead organizer for Alive @ 5 in 2014 and 2015, until his ascension.  To the best of my knowledge, Eric Smallwood brought the following performers to Alive @ 5 for the first time:  Gwen Sebastian, Kat Perkins, Tigir Lily, Corb Lund, and Firehouse.

I believe that Kevin Holten was president of the Odd Fellows Lodge 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.  Jeff Porcupine Pokorny was president in 2015 and 2016.  During the years 2010 through 2016, the Odd Fellows Lodge building which was built in the early 1900s, went through some physical restoration, with the work being performed by the Lodge members.  It was a surprise to me that the Odd Fellows Lodge also owned the ground floor portion of the building, which they opened as a V.I.P. lounge and bar during the downtown summer concerts in July of 2016.

Membership in the Lodge is open to everyone, male or female, young or old, with no concern for the member’s religious affiliation, politics, or occupation.  There are many different types of people who are members of the Odd Fellows Lodge.  There are some college professors, teachers, business owners, housewives, oil field workers, and construction workers.

This year the downtown summer concerts sponsored and organized by the Odd Fellows Lodge changed its name from Alive @ 5, to First On First Dickinson Summer Nights.  The lead event organizers this year were Brock White, Tracy Tooz, and Mike Odegaard.  Brock, Tracy, and Mike organized and ran all the events very competently, and were always calm and professional.  Other important volunteers whose names I can remember:  Dell and Marchell Kubas, April Grant, the other April, Andrew, Tracy Nash, Jeff Porcupine Pokorny, Eric Odegaard, DSU football player Bryce, the Outlaw Sippin Band, …

In my previous blog post, I wrote a First On First Dickinson Summer Nights year end review.  I started that blog post being mostly positive about how the concerts were organized and run.  But I had to say that the downtown summer concerts seem to have become mostly attended by people whose primary focus is drinking alcohol, which I think has caused family attendance to decline.

My opinion is, that the downtown summer concerts will be most beneficial to Dickinson if they can be enjoyed by the broadest range of people, including families with children.  The more famous, “bigger” bands, brought mostly people that were in the age range of people that normally go to Rock or Country concerts, 16 year olds to 50 year olds mostly, with no kids, no elderly, and no families.

In 2014 and 2015, the North Dakota performers Gwen Sebastian, Kat Perkins, and Tigir Lily seemed to have brought more families with their children, probably for the following reasons:  they were from North Dakota, they were engaging with the local people, and because of the music that they play.  Last year a very good band that was not well known in Dickinson was the Corb Lund band from Canada, this was a “fun” band that was liked by all ages.  This year another very good band that was not well known in Dickinson was Zeona Road from South Dakota.  Zeona Road, Corb Lund, Tigir Lily, Gwen Sebastian, and Kat Perkins connected with the local people of all ages in Dickinson, and these performers made the concerts seem more like a family event and a community event.

First On First Dickinson Summer Nights Concerts, Year End Review 2016

The last First On First Dickinson Summer Nights Concert of 2016 was this past Thursday, September 1st.  I went to just about every downtown Dickinson summer concert in 2014, 2015, and 2016.  I have mixed feelings about the downtown summer concerts this year.

No one can deny that there were more than several well-known, famous, “bigger” performers this year:  Fire House, Black Hawk, Steel Heart.  Firehouse gave a very good performance, and they acted like they were glad to be back in Dickinson.  32 Below probably gave a performance that was as good as Firehouse, and they acted the most enthusiastic about being in Dickinson while they were on stage.

Event organizer and MC, Brock White, was positive, professional, and up beat at every event.  Event organizers Tracey Tooz and Mike Odegaard were professional, competent, and executed everything well.  The tractor trailer stage with roof and lighting was an excellent stage, the stage could not have been better.

The event area was much larger than last year.  There were about four different food vendors at each event.  Because of the larger event area, and the rented table trailers, people were able to sit and eat more comfortably.  Most event attendees would have liked it if the Wurst Shop would have been a food vendor again this year.

Everything that I have stated so far up above is good and positive.  The negative comments that I am going to write concern mostly the type of people that attended the concerts.  Somehow, the drinking of alcohol has become the predominant focus of the event.  I don’t know if anybody ever saw this coming, knew that this would happen, or considered whether this was desirable or not.

I know that alcohol sales are probably the primary way that the events are paid for, and that drinking alcohol may be the main reason why so many people come downtown for the concerts on Thursday nights, but the heavy drinkers make the events not “family friendly”, or even “friendly”.

Good-natured, mature adults, can be jovial and considerate people when they are drinking beer.  Good-natured, mature, jovial, considerate drinkers are fine for families with children to be around.  But the summer concerts were not highly attended by families with children.  I believe that more and more each year, moms and dads with kids, and other types of moderate, conservative people do not dare to come to the summer concerts because of the heavy drinking.  And I agree that these people are probably right in not coming to the summer concerts because the drinking of alcohol has become predominant, and many of the drinkers are not mature, or good-natured.

There are many young men and women that get drunk, start acting foolish, not using good sense, acting kind of wild, and many adults who aren’t drinking don’t want or wouldn’t want themselves or their kids to be around these young people.  There are both younger people and older people that become uninhibited when they drink alcohol, and they let their hostility come out in contentiousness, hostility, and fighting, which makes moderate adults not want to be around when there are a lot of people drinking alcohol.

Once it gets past about 8:30 p.m. at the downtown summer concerts, I get the definite feeling and impression that the crowd is not that friendly, the crowd is mostly wanting to get drunk and act wild, so it is not really like a community event at that point, it is like being in a bar that is having a band that night.


The Rock Bar And Downtown Dickinson Summer Concerts

The first Downtown Dickinson Summer Concert will be Thursday, June 9th, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.  1st Street will be closed from the Rock Bar all the way to Bernie’s Esquire Club.  The concert area will be larger this year so that people have more room, the food vendors have more room, and so that both Bernie’s Esquire Club and the Rock Bar can have outside beer gardens.

You can go to the Facebook page “First on First, Dickinson Summer Nights” to see who the performers are each week, all the way through to September.  The event is free to everyone, no charge for entry.  Part of the money to pay for the performers is raised by the alcohol sales at Bernie’s Esquire Club and the Rock Bar, that is why there is the policy of no personal alcohol being brought to the event.  Everybody that is going to drink alcohol needs to buy it from Bernie’s Esquire Club or the Rock Bar so that the performers can be paid.

This year the event will be different.  The event area is larger, so that people will not be so tightly packed together in front of the stage.  There will be more bathrooms located throughout the event area.  I am from out-of-state, and I don’t mind saying what everybody has noticed, most of the out-of-state workers have returned to the states where they came from.  If the local people in Dickinson found the events to be too crowded last year, they won’t be too crowded this year.

I also want to tell everybody that Kathy Fisher has returned to again own the Rock Bar!  I am sure that there are many friends, customers, and former employees that will be very happy to see Kathy.