Today the small town of Zap remembers 50 years of the legendary spring break that ended in a riot known as Zip to Zap. 

Partying and drinking played a huge role in why Zap, North Dakota made national news in 1969.

“I was a senior in high school and my best friend saw all the advertisement and said let’s go have fun,” said Vic McWilliams, former partygoer. 

Vic McWilliams was just one of nearly 3,000 college students that came to Zap to get down for spring break weekend to what was known as Zip to Zap.

It all started when a student from NDSU thought it could be an alternative spring break since the typical Florida spring break was expensive. The news spread fast in the student newspaper, attracting students across the country.  Little did they know, they would be forced out the town. 

“It got rowdy as the evening went on. we ended up sitting in the bar and it got trashed. I was sitting in one of the booths and a fist came through the wall,” said McWilliams.

The partying went beyond the bar and spilled in the streets. Some say there was even damage to the town, ending in a riot. That’s when the national guard came and everything changed. 

“The governor called us up and said that they were having trouble here so we had to back up the highway patrol. We marched down here and they had burned the bar down and they were throwing these empty bottles,” said  Eddie Laches, former National Guard member.

Over 500 guardsmen came pushing them out of the town and party-goers eventually went to nearby towns. 

It’s said that there were thousands of dollars worth of damage after the event. 

But not all was bad, Zip to Zap will forever go down in North Dakota history. 

The weekend led to relationships, that eventually led to marriage. People were even baptised in the church that weekend.