“I really enjoy working with the citizens of Moorhead providing fun family-friendly activities,” explains Tara Ekren. As the Special Event Coordinator for Moorhead Parks and Recreation, Ekren has been providing family activities for eight years.
Originally from Landon, ND, she was the youngest child in a family of three children. Ekren remembers her childhood as one of safety and closeness. She relates that many fond family memories were made during many family trips. After high school, Ekren attended the University of North Dakota and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA Degree in Mass Communications. In addition to a great education, she adds that the love of hockey was also acquired.
Ekren began her professional career with Altru Health Foundation in Grand Forks with an internship while attending UND, which led to a full-time position after graduation. She noted that that the position provided her with valuable experiences such as working on fundraising for projects that made life better for people as well as saving lives and supporting people in some of their hardest times in their lives. Ekren added that many of these early experiences and lessons have followed her throughout her professional life.
The lure of Fargo/Moorhead came with the decision to join her husband-to-be Chad. They have been married for eight years and are proud parents of four-year-old daughter Madison. Chad owns a media production business specializing on sport production.
Ekren was selected to continue her career with the Alumni Foundation at Moorhead State University Moorhead as an assistant with the annual giving program. Her dedication and work ethics led to her advancement to the Director of Annual Giving and Event Management with responsibility for developing a year-round individual giving and special events strategy. Ekren said the position offered significant learning opportunities for her. The excitement to be on campus and to experience the college atmosphere once again with people who support higher education with passion was truly a positive experience. She enjoyed connecting life-changing donors with worthy students.
As often occurs in the fundraising world, fundraising fatigue was approaching, but the enjoyment of event planning led her to her current position as Special Events Coordinator with the Moorhead Parks and Recreation. Ekren relates that the mission is to enrich the lives of its citizens by providing a comprehensive system of parks and affordable, diverse recreation programs that encourage health, fitness, relaxation, and cultural enrichment.
In her position, Ekren is responsible for special event planning and management of seven special events that includes budgeting, working with vendors, talent management, media engagement, scheduling, and staffing. She is also responsible for advertising and marketing of Moorhead’s two public golf courses. Other duties include social media and website content, as well as the management of staff.
Ekren explains that her department serves the community with the goal to provide affordable programming and events that people want to participate in. She noted that many of the special events are free and open to the public so anyone can participate. The recreational activities provide year-round activities for Moorhead youth, adults, and seniors as well as a variety of family friendly special events with programming ranging from sports to art to park programs. Ekren emphasized that many of the special events are open to all communities and not just Moorhead residents.
Ekren listed 16 different special events that are held throughout the year. They include a Polar Party, Celtic Festival, Moorhead Ice Show, Easter Egg Hunt, Once Enchanted Evening, River Arts, Farmers Market, and Movie Night. The list is rounded out with Summer Splash, Doggy Dip, Greater Moorhead Days Parade, Kids Fest, Halloween Bash, Tree Lighting, Skate with Santa, and Sleigh Rides.
“I enjoy working with organizations that help others,” said Ekren. “I love what I do, and sincerely hope that in some small way, I am making a difference.” No matter what groups of people you’re working with, she adds, you’ll find that they have new and unique ways of looking at the world that can broaden your horizons.
Special Event Coordinator
Moorhead Parks and Recreation
218.299.5296 C: 701.306.3294
Visit us online at moorheadparks.com
Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moorheadparksandrec