It is a remarkable and deserving distinction that Bemidji was named the "Best MN Town" by Minnesota Monthly magazine at a festive ceremony held in the historic Lumber Exchange Building in Minneapolis. Bemidji prevailed in having been selected over the incredibly civic-minded cities of Austin, Owatonna, Waconia and Walker, who also vied for this distinction. When the Bemidji announcement was made, mayors, city officials and friends from these cities joined the throng of Bemidji residents in resounding applause.
My perspective is this: Bemidji exhibits "Minnesota Nice" in many ways. Having lived in Bemidji for over 46 years, I have pridefully observed Bemidji as an expanding community, and as the regional center for all of northern and northwestern Minnesota. As we gather in community and as our paths cross, people meet and greet, and say "hello" on the street. We are busy, mixing and mingling, at work, at play, shopping and enjoying hospitality, good food and good company. Many are we who find kinship, love and respect. Our many friends see one another as part of an expanding human family, sharing a strong desire to build common good. We find inter-relational quality of life interests, and lasting commitment with the many who share in a remarkably diverse community which feels "right-size" even as we continue to grow and to prosper.
The convergence of visitors from far and wide who experience these elements within the Bemidji community year ’round or seasonally, year-in and year-out, is well established and growing. So it follows that there are many contented, God-fearing, tolerant, happy and satisfied people who access or have had lifetime or longtime attachments to the greater Bemidji community.
Thus, it is altogether fitting that Bemidji has been named the "Best MN Town." Congratulations, Bemidji!"