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Norsk Hostfest celebrates 40 years

Norsk Hostfest characters dressed in scandanavian garbThirty-nine years ago, a handful of Minot residents gathered for a one-night party with Norwegian food and some musical entertainment. They decided to do it annually and named it Norsk Høstfest. This year, Norsk Høstfest celebrates its 40th anniversary Sept. 27-30 in Minot.

Representing all five Scandinavian countries, today’s Norsk Høstfest fills the North Dakota State Fair Center with musical and comedic entertainment, authentic Scandinavian food experiences, unique shopping, hands-on activities, dances and more from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. for four full days.

“Entertainment has always been the festival’s primary draw,” says Norsk Høstfest President David Reiten. “We have strong entertainment this year in the Great Hall and more show options. Some great new Scandinavian artists perform on the free stages. Hands-on opportunities are more abundant. And, of course, we have some special 40th attractions!”



• Great Hall: Reserved seats are available for performances by Jeff Dunham, The Doobie Brothers, Celtic Thunder, Amy Grant, Joe Diffie and John Michael Montgomery, Little River Band, Gary Allan, Josh Turner and the Oak Ridge Boys.

• Free stages: Norway Idol finalist Ingvar Olsen, Danish magician Henrik Bothe and the European Highwaymen are first-timers joining acts featuring vocalists, instrumentalists, comedians, dancers, cloggers and more performing continuously throughout the day on several stages 



• Viking Village: The largest Viking group in Norsk Høstfest history gathers to live life as the Vikings knew it, demonstrating and teaching skills such as blacksmithing, archery and outdoor pot cooking.

• Tromsø Cultural Village: Felting, rock trolling and Nordic crafts are specialties of these Samis from Tromsø, Norway, who set up camp at Høstfest.

• Høstfest University: Scandinavian folks arts (Norwegian rosemaling, Nordic needle wool appliqué, Swedish Birch Bark Embroidery and more) are among adult Scandinavian folk art classes offered daily.

• The Nordic Kitchen: Nordic culinary experts demonstrate how to make Scandinavian delicacies as they interact with their audiences.



• Eating: Chefs from Norway prepare authentic Norwegian cuisine at En To Tre and Scandi. Sidewalk cafes offer tasty treats such as Swedish meatballs, Danish aebleskivers and Finnish stew.

• Shopping: First-timer Bonnie Lundorff, well-known in the world of fiber arts and quilting, is among several new artisans that join nearly 200 Høstfest exhibitors selling handmade and/or imported Scandinavian gift items, clothing, arts and crafts.

• Reading: Newcomers in the Høstfest Bookstore include Finnish cooks and food personalities Soile Anderson and Eleanor Ostman, authors of the newly released Celebrations to Remember. Bookstore authors share life experiences and read excerpts from their books in the Author's Corner.

• Freebies: Corporate sponsor Touchstone Energy® impacts the festival in many valuable, unseen ways with its financial and volunteer support. Festival goers enjoy the free flash bake cookies and daily prizes awarded at the Touchstone Energy booth.

So far, Reiten said, 40th anniversary attractions continue to be added. Among them are Høstfest-opoly, a property trading board game with Scandinavian playing pieces and properties; Scandinavian Cooking, a 40th anniversary cookbook; and a 16-foot high Kransekake, the traditional Scandinavian ringed wreath cake.

“You can't cover the depth of Høstfest in an article or even a book,” Reiten proclaims. “You have to experience it.”

To learn more and purchase tickets, go to