Tuesday Night Lights: Burgum recognizes Hettinger event

The organizers of Tuesday Night Lights earned a Healthy, Vibrant Community Award from Gov. Doug Burgum.

Chamber Gallery
Maggie Weinert, left and Julie Ranum, right, enjoy s'mores at Tuesday Night Lights in Hettinger.
Contributed / Kat Weinert Photography
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HETTINGER, N.D — Tuesday Night Lights gained statewide recognition recently when Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford announced the Hettinger Chamber of Commerce had received the Healthy, Vibrant Community Award for the event. The recognition is part of Burgum’s Main Street Awards, which are organized by the Office of the Governor and the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

“We're just super honored that somebody would even nominate us for an award like that,” Chamber of Commerce President Kat Weinert said. “I absolutely adore Tuesday Night Lights. It's kind of like pumpkin spice lattes – we only do it in the month of September and then it goes away. So it gets more and more special every year that we do it because it is kind of a limited event.”

Tuesday Night Lights gathered residents of Hettinger in the heart of the city for activities, food and fun, she said.

“The kids play games, they roast marshmallows and have s'mores and there's different food vendors there,” Weinert said. “It's super special. And it's fun to see the community come together in an outdoor setting like that in the middle of town, it's just adorable.”

Chamber Gallery
Evie Jacobson plays Connect 4 at Tuesday Night Lights in Hettinger.
Contributed / Kat Weinert Photography

The city has a habit of creating award winning activities. They received Main Street Awards in 2019 and 2021 as well.


“We're very involved in the Main Street Initiative – we want Hettinger to keep improving and we want to create more engagement with our member businesses and our community,” Ted Uecker, Vice President of the Chamber Board said. “We're proud of the award. We think it's a real positive feather in our hat, if you will. But in the same light, it's about the community. It's truly not about any particular person, but we were able to facilitate bringing the community together, and I think we all need that. I think we're all tired of being at home and being on Zoom and, and not being able to go places and see people and so it's been a great event for our community.”

The event takes place every Tuesday evening in September.

“What we did was we strung a bunch of lights up from tree to tree, and then we played a lot of fun music on our intercom system on Main Street,” Uecker said. “We just had a lot of vendors that were selling everything from pumpkins to candles to decorations to different foods, vegetables, fruits, if you will. So kind of a farmers market all tied into one.”

Chamber Gallery
Hettinger residents gather in the heart of the city during Tuesday Night Lights.
Contributed / Kat Weinert Photography

The event is family-oriented with plenty for people of all ages to enjoy.

“We have games for our youth to play out on sidewalks in the square, whether they're doing hopscotch or coloring with colored chalk or playing different games that we've acquired through grants for our youth, everything from tic-tac-toe to checkers, you name it,” Uecker said.

Different organizations sponsor meals and food trucks pull into town for additional goodies.

“We've found it to be a growing thing you know, the first year we did it, we didn't have as many of the food trucks,” Uecker said. “We've just found the community really looking forward to it. And when the weather is good, we have quite a showing of our community coming out to enjoy a meal or to do a little shopping with some of our vendors or just to enjoy each other and sit around tables and visit.”

Chamber Gallery
Izzy Dix and Lydia French play bean bag toss during Tuesday Night Lights in Hettinger.<br/><br/><br/><br/>
Contributed / Kat Weinert Photography

The award was presented at the Main Street ND Summit on Oct. 12 in West Fargo.


“North Dakota is a state full of opportunity and active community partnerships,” Gov. Doug Burgum said in a press release. “We are grateful for all the communities that have invested in the ideals of the Main Street Initiative to help us garner even more opportunity for our residents and businesses.”

The Healthy, Vibrant Community Award recognizes communities or groups that have made investments in projects that enhance the health and vibrancy of communities.

“I think it's always cool to see people represented, no matter what town they're from," Hettinger Chamber of Commerce Office Coordinator Kayla Bliss said. "But I think it is pretty amazing to have a community that also supports the events that we put on, because if they didn't then it wouldn't be worth talking about, obviously.”

Tuesday Night Lights
The Hettinger Chamber of Commerce received the Healthy Vibrant Community Award for Tuesday Night Lights.
Contributed / Hettinger Chamber of Commerce

Ashley Koffler is a Killdeer, North Dakota native and Dickinson State University graduate, with a Bachelor’s Degree in writing, and minors in journalism and psychology. Formerly working in Community Affairs for Roosevelt Custer Regional Council for Development, her reporting focuses on Stark County and other rural municipality governments, community features, business and agriculture — among others.
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