7th Annual TEDxFargo event draws national attention

July 21, 2016

TEDxFargo, a festival-like event characterized by short TEDstyle talks, locally crafted food and live music, is being held in Fargo for the seventh time on July 21, 2016.

The event will showcase 24 speakers hailing from around the country. Like the first TED conferences years ago, the topics focus on technology, entertainment, and design (TED). This year, the event is characterized by the theme of Xccelerate, with the mantra, “moving ideas forward, faster.”

The speaker lineup this year includes the likes of Peter Rieke, the first paralyzed man to conquer Mt. Rainier; Sona Mehring, creator of CaringBridge website and named one of Fast Company’s most influential women in technology; and The Minimalists, two men who write about minimalist lifestyle to their 4 million followers just to name a few.

There’s a few local names as well, such as Jack Wood, a founder of Growing Together gardens that now provide food to 150 families; or Kellam Barta, an NDSU lecturer who was selected during the TEDxFargo Open Mic event with his pitch that “there is no ‘correct’ English.”

The talks are intended to spark deep discussion, and the event is designed to allow for that with intermittent breaks and a long lunch (which will feature specialty dishes by local chefs). Other events such as documentary showings and a Startup Drinks event are being hosted the week of the event to offer an opportunity to meet the speakers off stage as well.

The event will take place from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Fargo Civic Center on July 21, 2016, and is expected to draw close to 1,700 people.

Four years ago, at the very first TEDxFargo event, that number was closer to 100. The event was initiated after Emerging Prairie executive director Greg Tehven worked with TEDxTC (Twin Cities). He decided to try and bring it to Fargo because, “I wanted to prove that there was incredible talent here, and do something special,” he said.

He worked with Mark Weiler, Dr. Susan Mathison, Karla Aaland and Jade Nielsen to create the first TEDxFargo, which was hosted on February 7, 2012.

Since then, Fargo has hosted seven TEDxFargo events, with themes like City 2.0, Rethink Learning, On Purpose, TEDxYouth, and last year’s theme, Wonder. In that time the event has grown from drawing 100 attendees to over 1,500.

As with all TED events, the talks are also recorded and posted as online videos. The TEDxFargo video with the most views is currently Cam Adair’s 2014 talk titled, “The surprising truth about rejection ” with 206,352 views.

For Fargo locals, the event is hailed as an opportunity to celebrate the community while drawing a national eye to the city.“

Our community is becoming an epicenter of entrepreneurial activity, and we’re proud to showcase this to visitors from around the nation,” said Mayor Tim Mahoney.

Another local, Adrienne Olson, wrote about how the event has impacted her in an editorial to the Forum titled, “TEDxFargo: not your typical conference.”

“Participating in TEDxFargo has led me to new friends…I’ve also found new favorite things about my town,” she said. “I’m thrilled to live in a city that embraces this concept for learning and collaboration, and makes it available right in my backyard.”

There are still tickets left, available here ! Join us Thursday, July 21, 2016 at the Fargo Civic Center. Or at any of the events listed here.