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Event Preview: 21st Annual Celebration Of Women & Their Music

PORTRAIT BY Hillary Ehlen | ADDITIONAL PHOTOS BY Kensie Wallner Photography

“There came a point with the show where I began to wonder if we should continue,” Deb Jenkins said. “The same weekend I was thinking about this, I ran into three different people whose daughters had won awards. One of them told me that their daughter was using Celebration of Women on her forms for admission to schools, another one said it was such a wonderful show and brought her daughter confidence. And lastly one of the parents said to me, ‘I’m so glad this is in the community. It’s important to have it.’ It was very serendipitous.”

Deb Jenkins

Jenkins, the founder of Celebration of Women & Their Music, had her hope restored through those parents’ comments about the impact the event she created more than 20 years ago continues to have on women in our community. She decided to continue, but with some changes.

Celebration of women and their music 2017

Twenty-one years ago, Jenkins’ initial thought was that she wanted to give back to the community while simultaneously showing her daughter that you could do more than one thing as a woman, mother and someone with a full-time job. It was also around the same time Lilith Fair, a women’s music festival, was touring the country. Jenkins thought to herself, “we could have our own Lilith Fair.”

Celebration of women and their music 2017

The event, usually hosted in the Fargo Theatre, will be moving to The Stage at Island Park. “The move is due to the fact that we can’t fill the theatre,” Jenkins said. “Which is okay. The new space will offer us time to regenerate. It’s a good size for the number of people we’ve seen in the last few years.”

The Celebration of Women will also be switching months due to the availability of the new venue, now taking place in January instead of February. “If we can get the word out, I don’t think the change in dates will affect the event too much,” Jenkins said. “Honestly, our winter weather would be my only worry, but we are North Dakota tough.”

Celebration of women and their music 2017

Another change this year, the awards process is now open to sophomores, juniors and seniors to apply.

Even with all the changes, Jenkins said the most exciting part about preparing for this year’s show is reigniting the event.

Celebration of women and their music 2017

“What has stayed the same is the commitment of the women that work with the show,” Jenkins said. “Although I started it and was on my own the first couple of years, that is not the case anymore. There is a group of women that mean business and they want to keep it the way it was when I started.”

Join Jenkins and everyone involved January 18-20 for a weekend of music and supporting the local women who pursue it.

Not A Scholarship

At the main event, the young women participating get awards given by community sponsors. These awards have no restrictions on them for their use. The winners must fill out an application form and there is a committee of three that determine who receives the awards.

Celebration of women and their music 2017

“These sponsors could be your neighbors, local business owners or even an individual who has never seen the show but has a passion for what it stand for,” Jenkins said. “They all believe in our mission and want to support us and the winners.” The awards range from $250 to $1,000.

Celebration of women and their music 2017

“Now with that said, we do have a scholarship set up,” Jenkins said. “This must also be applied for and the same committee decides. The difference is this goes directly to the college in the winner’s name.”

Celebration of women and their music 2017

Even though the application process is over for this year’s event, if you or someone you know is a high school or homeschool sophomore, junior or senior and participates in anything music-related, don’t hesitate to check it out. The application is at The awards application for 2019 will be posted in November.


Celebration of Women and Their Music 2018
January 18-20

Pat Lenertz Band & Celebration of Women
Thursday, January 18 from 8-11 p.m.
21+, no cover
101 Broadway N, Fargo

Connie Gjermundson
Friday, January 19 from 8-10 p.m.
21+, no cover
Drekker Brewing Company
630 1st Ave. N, Suite 6, Fargo

Peggy Bartunek Trio with guest Laura Jossund
Friday, January 19 from 9-11 p.m.
21+, no cover
Proof Artisan Distillers
414 4th Ave. N, Fargo

Free Truman | D Mills and The Thrills
Friday, January 19 from 10-close
21+, no cover
Sidestreet Grille & Pub
404 4th Ave. N, Fargo

21st Annual Celebration of Women and Their Music
Saturday, January 20 from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Tickets $20-$40.
Doors open at 6 p.m.

Main Show (scheduled to appear):
Karen Atwood – Minot
Cecilia – Minneapolis
Emily Holt – Fargo
Laura Jossund – Moorhead
Rosie Sauvageau Nestingen – Minneapolis
Haley E. Rydell – Minneapolis
Brenda Weiler – Fargo
Nita Velo, Sarah Morrau, Connie Hill – Fargo, Albertville
Award winners
The Stage At Island Park
333 4th St. S, Fargo

Tabah, Haley E and the Rydell’s, Diane Miller
Saturday, January 20 at 10 p.m.
21+, $5 cover
The Aquarium
226 Broadway N, Fargo

Written by Kara Jeffers

Fargo Monthly Editor Kara Jeffers is from Garrison, North Dakota, a small town north of Bismarck, North Dakota, on Lake Sakakawea. She graduated from North Dakota State University in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in theatre arts. In addition to working at Spotlight Media, Jeffers also works at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitor’s Center, where she’s one of the first people (and, at times, the only person) visitors meet when they arrive in North Dakota—talk about pressure.

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