In Spring Break Of 1969, Thousands Of Party-Goers Raided An Unsuspecting North Dakota Town

North Dakota has always been known as a place where people live quietly, where most people get along and not a whole lot of big news comes out of it. People who live in any of the many small towns in the state usually like it this way, and it isn’t often disrupted. In the crazy year of 1969, however, a single, unsuspecting small town in North Dakota was descended upon by thousands of people and what resulted was one of the state’s only recorded riots. What happened that year, and how did it lead to a riot in North Dakota? Let’s find out:

Do you remember Zip to Zap North Dakota? Here are more huge things that happened in small towns in North Dakota that put these places on the map, too!

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Zip to Zap North Dakota

August 10, 2022

When was the Zap, North Dakota riot?  

Formerly known as the Zip to Zap Riot, this riot occurred from May 9th to May 11th, 1969. What was supposed to be a fun, small-town festival in North Dakota turned into a hellish nightmare when thousands of spring break revelers showed up thanks to coverage in North Dakota State University’s newspaper, which was then picked up by the Associated Press (for some reason). When the tiny town’s resources like liquor and other party stuff began running dry and the partiers became more aggressive, townsfolk asked them to leave, which escalated very quickly into one of the worst disasters in North Dakota history.  

What is the history of riots in North Dakota?  

Unfortunately, there is a brief history of riots in North Dakota, which is surprising considering our little state is the least-visited state in the entire country. There was, of course, the above-mentioned Zap Riots, but those were far from the only ones. In 2016, Native American folks protesting the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline saw their peaceful protest turn violent with the arrival of federal agents. During the George Floyd protests in May of 2020, there were small-scale riots started by independent instigators as an attempt to discredit the movement nationwide.  

Where is Zap, North Dakota?  

Zap (what a fun name, right?) is a town in Mercer County, North Dakota, which can be found in the west-central region of the state. It was founded in 1913 and is unfortunately quite infamous for the Zip to Zap riots in 1969. It’s a prairie county and is located nearby Spring Creek, which is a tributary of the Knife River. There are lots of natural wonders in North Dakota, and Zap is one of those cute small towns in North Dakota that helps you really appreciate everything for what it is.