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Fargo flooded with free beer; mayor to make good on promise

Fargo faces a new kind of flood, but this one is being welcomed with open arms - and mouths.

One thousand cases of beer from Dixie Brewing Co. in New Orleans are on the way to Fargo to help Mayor Dennis Walaker fulfill a promise.

Wednesday night, everyone 21 and older who attends the post-flood party in downtown Fargo will be able to get one free Dixie beer.

During the flood fight, Walaker remarked that he'd buy everyone a beer after it was over. He plans to hand out 9,000 coupons for free beers Saturday.

Representatives from Dixie heard about the flood and Walaker's comment and offered to help.

Hurricane Katrina severely damaged the brewing company and then looters stole the equipment, said Ty McCaffrey, marketing director for Distinguished Brands, the supplier for Dixie.

But the brewery is rebuilding, with the beer being temporarily brewed in Wisconsin.

"They had some hardships and some difficulties, but they got the brewery back and running," McCaffrey said. "It's a symbol of hope for the people who just went through the flood in Fargo, and it also helps the mayor with his promise."

Dave Anderson, president of the Fargo Downtown Community Partnership, said he is touched by the company's generosity.

"The fact that they identified and empathized with our community immediately, I think is just really cool," Anderson said.

People will get a ticket in the beer garden of tonight's party and be limited to one free beer.

In all, Fargo will receive 24,000 Dixie beers. Anderson expects that less than one-tenth of that will be consumed tonight.

It's possible the beer will be sold, with the proceeds benefiting a flood relief fund, Anderson said.

Fargo also may share the beer with other communities that experienced flooding, he said.

If you go

- What: Going the Distance: The Flood, the Mud and the Long Run Celebration

- When: 5 to 11 tonight

- Where: U.S. Bank Plaza on Second Avenue North and Broadway

- Tickets: Free event features live music