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Zap is a city in Mercer County, North Dakota, United States. The population was 237 at the 2010 census.
Zap was founded in 1913 along a branch line of the Northern Pacific Railway that began in Mandan. The exact origin of the name is uncertain, though there are numerous unconfirmed theories; some say the town was named after Zapp, which was either a prominent Minnesota banking family or a coal-mining town in Scotland. Zap has been noted for its unusual place name.
The town of Zap is probably most widely known for the Zip to Zap riot, which occurred on May 10, 1969. The Zip to Zap was originally intended as a spring break diversion. Between 2000 and 3000 people descended upon the town after an article by Chuck Stroup, originally appearing in the North Dakota State University Spectrum newspaper, and then later picked up by the Associated Press, compelled busloads and chartered planes full of people from around the United States to go there.
The amiable revelry began early with an all-night party in the streets outside an overwhelmed small bar. When the mayor finally exited the bar in the middle of the night and discovered a bonfire on main street and realized the size of the crowd in his tiny town, he panicked and called the governor, William Guy. At dawn, marching in formation and armed with bayonets placed, the National Guard invaded the town and forced the crowd to leave Zap. The event moved to several other towns before the Governor announced that a park in Bismarck would host the crowd.
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