Norsk Høstfest ties together old with new, carrying on traditions and bolstering Minot economy

Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 2:42 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. (KFYR) - It’s day three of the 44th annual Norsk Høstfest festival.

It’s filled with 200 vendor booths and even more patrons, but it all started in 1978 by the late Chester Reiten and a group of his friends who shared his interest in celebrating their Nordic heritage.

Event organizers say the festival lasted through the decades of the Scandinavian people who come from all over to keep the heritage alive.

And alive it was, as every booth revolved around a traditional Scandinavian theme, from food to music to garb to jewelry.

Organizers say people come from all over the country and beyond, seeing each other for the first time in years at the festival.

“It’s a family-friendly event. So, everyone from baby all the way up to 85 — we have a volunteer, actually, that’s 92 that’s here. So, I think that’s so wonderful that this is just something for everyone offered here,” said McKenzy Braaten, Epic Events Communications.

Braaten, who works in the communications department with Epic Events, which is the festival’s organizing body, says it’s not all about tradition.

She says this year they brought in some new side-stage entertainment and even more vendors.

Plus, they expanded the kid’s area, incorporated shuttles and brought back the Lutefisk-eating competition.

Braaten says the event bolsters tourism to Minot and the local economy as people flood the city and spend money on hotels and restaurants. Plus, local vendors get to share their small businesses with Høstfest customers.