Downtown Fargo was in full bloom with Bison fans and Fargoans out for ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’ program.
In this sea of green and gold, there was plenty to behold besides the main attraction of the “GameDay” show. Fan art in the forms of signs and posters popped up like islands over the heads of the crowd, each one mugging for the camera.
Some homemade, some printed and some bought, the range was wide. It’s occasions like this that show how creative people can get, and with a national camera at the center of it all, everyone with a sign was jostling for attention.
Fan artwork really has no rules, so messages and styles varied. There were the classic “Go Bison!” and ESPN acronym signs along with birthday and anniversary messages. Fatheads had their place in the crowd, with faces ranging from football head coach Chris Klieman to several players to several cutouts of the same teenage girl.
Of course, some people couldn’t resist the chance to reference “Fargo,” the film and TV series eponymous with the city. Posters proclaiming, “Lester Nygaard was my neighbor” to “U Betcha it’s GameDay!” were flung out throughout the crowd. Even the film’s tagline “A lot can happen in the middle of nowhere” was front and center on a sign behind the GameDay hosts.
Senior Hannah Pilger tapped into that “Fargo” cult following with her sign. She printed off an image of Martin Freeman’s character from the FX TV series with “Bison? Aw geez!” in a talk bubble.
“I watched the ‘Fargo’ TV show, and I love the ‘ah jeez’ and ‘ah heck’ lines,” Pilger explained, pointing to her printed poster.
Other fans got creative with glitter, glue and tagboard, like juniors Nora Bunn and Stephanie Erickson. Both women gave shout-outs to football players Zach Vraa and Demitrius Gray.
Bunn’s “Vraa Vraa Vroom” sign featured finger paint and glitter while Erickson’s offered a little more. With messages on both sides, Erickson cheered on Gray (her former dorm mate) while teasing ESPN for an internship.
“I love sports so I’m hoping ESPN will hook me up,” Erickson said, smiling.
Just down the block from Erickson and Bunn was Rita Kaeding, a 1978 alumna who stood in a corner outside Boerth’s Gallery, hoisting her homemade sign.
With stick-on, shiny letters on posterboard, Kaeding’s sign was a GameDay acronym reading, “Grandma Alumna Moves Early to Downtown And Yells: GO BISON.”
“I’m very happy to call myself an NDSU alum and I’m very happy to call myself a grandma,” Kaeding explained, laughing as she tapped her poster.
Many other posters dotted the sea of swarming fans, with most referencing the Bison, Fargo or “GameDay” in some way.
A few posters generated remarks of tastelessness due to their messages. Signs referencing Fargo’s ranking for alcohol consumption were present, with one reading, “Fargo’s pastimes: #1: Drinking #2: Winning championships.”
This received a bit of backlash from a few of those present who sharply commented on how signs like that misrepresent Fargo on national television.
In addition, the sexually-connotative “Bison D” was scrawled across several signs in the crowd, however, this appeared to be as vulgar as fan posters went.
Most were clever, creative and often artsy, with colors, glitter and wordplay on nearly every one. “GameDay’s” sign sea looked like an unofficial art exhibition, just going to show that art can take any form in any place.