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TEDxFargo 2019: Celebrating 10 Events & The Completion Of A Trilogy


TEDxFargo 2018: FORTH
Thursday, July 25th from 7am-5pm
Fargo Civic Center

Ideas matter now more than ever, and it’s time to move forward to house those ideas into our environment. This year’s TEDxFargo is aiming to share ideas, cultivate them into our community and making those ideas and solutions everlasting.

This day will be a chance for our community to share ideas and experiences through a world-class event with local, national and global thought leaders who will be sharing their ideas on the main stage to help solve challenges and create opportunities. This year’s event will feature 27 performers and speakers, which is the most the Fargo chapter has ever had.

For those of you unfamiliar with this event, TEDx is an independently-organized event. It happens in thousands of communities around the country and it’s part of the TED platform and ‘x’ meaning independently-organized. Our team at TEDxFargo is composed of the team at Emerging Prairie with local partners such as Livewire, Jeff Knight, countless volunteers and community partners. With a growth to almost 2000+ consistent attendees each year, this is the 10th event and form of TEDxFargo and the completion of a trilogy that started in 2017.

We sat down with Emerging Prairie’s project coordinator, Emma McIntyre, to reflect on the impact that TEDxFargo has on our community and why you should be in the audience.

This year’s theme, “forward,” is the culmination of a trilogy that started in 2017, and it just so happens to be the 10th TEDxFargo event. 
In a world where everyone is against something, how do we cultivate and align our passions to find out what we are for versus what we are against? This year’s event is tying together the last three years of ideas and embedding them into our community, and making sure that we pause on these ideas to make them pillars in our community.

“This year is fascinating because the last three years have been building up to this point of this trilogy. Our country is in a very odd spot of everyone disagreeing on something. So you know what you’re against and wholeheartedly what you don’t stand for. Which is where ‘for’ (last year’s theme) came from.

When it comes to this year’s theme of ‘forward,’ it’s not just the idea of putting ideas forward in the community, it’s also digging further into the word ‘ward,’ which means to guard or protect. So how do we guard these ideas that we’ve been cultivating and growing to make them everlasting? It’s a great way to close a chapter on 10 events,” said McIntyre.

So what is the next step for TEDxFargo after the trilogy? The opportunities are truly endless.

“I think the next step after the trilogy is figuring out what works best for us and figuring out how we can highlight on our bright spots. I’d love to do more events year-round,” said McIntyre.

TEDxFargo is more than just sitting in an arena, and there’s truly something for everyone. 
This city is special, and TEDxFargo gives you plenty of opportunities to connect with the community on a deeper level that you may not normally do.

It doesn’t matter your age, your profession or your background. Everyone is welcome at this event. From high school students to chefs, to corporate CEOs to folks that just love poke bowls, the content is pretty diverse over the 27 speakers and performances. Lunch outside in downtown Fargo, adventures, auxiliary events, musicians, live performances between sessions and more –– you’re definitely going to occupied for the entire day with different activities.

“The best part about this event is that there is a speaker for every single person in that audience. We have adventures going on the whole week before this year–in the past they’ve been in the morning and that can be a lot for people. We have about 50 events happening around TEDx between community events, auxiliary events, adventures, so many other things,” said McIntyre. “We are focusing a lot on curation and creation outside of the arena as well.”

In a previous interview, Emerging Prairie co-founder Greg Tehven stated, “To me, it’s one of those events where no one is supposed to be there, so everyone is welcome. It’s not just young people or corporate CEOs. It’s eclectic, edgy and I think that’s really beautiful. I think some people come to TEDxFargo and they’re supposed to like all of the speakers. They’re not. We’re asking them to consider a wide variety of ideas. We are also asking them to explore our community.”

This event is almost entirely sourced locally, which is why TEDxFargo can be described as a “love letter to our community.”
“If you wrote a love letter to Fargo, what would it look like? I have constantly been reminded that this is a love letter to our community. More than anything, this is a birthday party,” said McIntyre.

Sourcing local vendors, artists, food, production, venues, equipment and more makes this event all about Fargo, and that’s really something special. There’s a lot of work that goes into creating a unique, high-quality experience for every person who attends. Everyone involved puts forth the best of their craft. From the overall atmosphere to the experience design, content, graphic design and every single little detail in between, this is an event that involves the highest level of skill and creativity from all partners involved.

“The amount of people that are fully invested in this project never ceases to amaze me–from the volunteers, to Livewire transforming the Civic Center, to the sponsors, and the micro-connections. Every aspect of TEDxFargo ties back to Fargo. The ideas and the speakers that you hear on stage–they’re all because of a connection of some sort with something or someone in Fargo. From the people who serve your food to the chairs you sit on, it all comes back on the idea of community.

“I think our TEDx is one of the top events in the country. How do we compete with the big dogs while staying true to our community? Because that’s what it’s all about,” said McIntyre.

There are many reasons why you should be in the audience at TEDxFargo, and it shows in our community. While many TEDx events all over the globe typically see around 100 in attendance, TEDxFargo has seen 2,000+ in the last few years. That definitely says a lot about our community and what we care about, and that’s pretty cool.