On the afternoon of June 7, 1893, the worst fire in the history of Fargo began in downtown and spread from wood building to wood building, destroying city hall, the business district and the homes of most of Fargo’s 6,000 residents. The city rebuilt, bigger and better than ever. In fireproof brick! Fargo celebrated its renewal with a festival. The first Fire Festival was held in 1895. Each year the event grew more grand. The advertisement to the right is from the Fargo Forum in May 1900 announcing sixth annual event. The event was held annually until it was abandoned during World War I. A 40th anniversary event was held in 1933.
The 1900 program shown at the right lists the festivities beginning at 9:30 am Wednesday (June 6) with band concerts, followed by a baseball game between the "Fargo base Ball Team" and Wheatland at the Athletic Park. At 11 there there an open air circus on a platform built at Broadway and Front Streets. In the afternoon there was log rolling in a tank in front of city hall, more baseball, circus, and several band concerts.
On Thursday (June 7th, the anniversary of the fire), at 2:15pm there was an "exhibition run of the Fargo Fire Department, starting on Broadway, north of Second Avenue, thence to Front Street to the place where the great fire of 1983 originated."
The Fire department exhibition was followed by a "Grand Parade of all Secret Orders" led by El Zagal Temple, the founders of this festival. At 8pm that evening there was a dedication ceremony for the new Masonic Lodge.
The third day of the festival included more band concerts, log rolling, and circus acts. The Fargo baseball team played against the "Boston Bloomer Girls," in an early inter-gender game. The day and the festival culminated that evening in the Grand Masque French Ball and Carnival.
Broadway was cleared from Front Street to Second Avenue for the Ball. No one was permitted in this area except those in costume from 8:15pm until "milking time Saturday morning." The area was lit by colored electric lights and search lights. Seven bands furnished music! Who says Fargoans don't know how to party!
The following images of Fargo Fire Festival parades were found in the book Glimpses of North Dakota, published in 1901. I believe that the photographs were all taken in 1900.