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Bria Barton crop

Bria Barton

Bria Barton covers travel and tourism for Forum News Service and is based at the Bemidji Pioneer. A South Carolina native and USC grad, she can be found exploring Minnesota’s abundance of towns, food and culture. Follow her on Instagram @briabarton.

Contact Bria at (218) 333-9798 or

When I first arrived in Bemidji to work at the Pioneer, I set a goal, vowing to leave something good behind. Now, as I head into my final few weeks at the Pioneer, I sincerely hope I leave behind something as good as the impression the Northwoods and its people have left on me.
For a time, the longest skate path in the United States could be found in Vermont, measuring in at about 4.5 miles. But now, the close-knit town of Warroad, Minn., has claimed that title with its community-driven Riverbend Skate Path.
While Grand Marais is a year-round destination, these colder months are certainly its more off-season time. This means lodging is less expensive and the town isn’t overflowing with people -- all pluses for me, as I was looking for a quiet and relatively inexpensive getaway.
Festivities will kick off Friday morning, Nov. 26, in the Tourist Information Center with Santa’s Workshop and the Carts of Care Food and Toy Drive. Then, in the evening, the Night We Light Parade will travel through the downtown area, leading up to the Night We Light Ceremony in Paul Bunyan Park, which will feature a fireworks display over Lake Bemidji.
While conditions aren’t quite ready for snowmaking as of now, plans are underway to get the Buena Vista Ski Area and its guests ready for the upcoming season, which doesn’t have an official start date yet. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20, Buena Vista will hold its annual Welcome to Winter open house, which includes a ski and snowboard swap and ski patrol fundraiser.
This year marks the silver anniversary of the community’s beloved First City of Lights celebration, and work is already underway to make it the grandest send-off to the Christmas season yet.
On Monday, Oct. 18, Visit Bemidji’s executive director Josh Peterson and assistant director Brady Laudon announced to the Bemidji City Council that its campaign efforts had not been in vain, having succeeded in breaking a lodging tax record and bringing in a record number of visitors to Bemidji since the beginning of the year.
While Friday played host to kids’ fun runs and 5k and 10k races, Saturday presented the event's mainstays: the half marathon, 26k lake loop and the 26.2-mile full marathon.
Three years ago, Bemidji couple Brent Knutson and Shawna Erdmann, decided to enter into tournament angling together, becoming a team on the water, just as they are in life. Last month, they prevailed over 86 rival teams on Lake of the Woods to claim the Minnesota Tournament Trail Championship, taking home a variety of winnings that totals about $80,000.
The theater will present a two-night event called “Ordinary Women Doing the Extraordinary,” which will feature a series of short one-woman shows celebrating female innovators in science, art, journalism, adventure, business, comedy and leadership.