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.