Minot residents gather for lighting of downtown Christmas tree

MINOT, N.D. - Minot residents have gathered for more than a quarter century to celebrate the lighting of the city's downtown Christmas tree, which is enough time to create some interesting traditions.

“And I got it down pat. This is our 23rd year,” said Betty Fedorchak, Esoterica owner.

Betty has roasted chestnuts outside her store for 23 years. She said the tradition began when she saw how popular the treats are in New York City, so she had to try and make them.

“And we did have a doctor at the hospital who grew up in New York and he'd say he'd be the first one down here, remember. And he'd be the first one down and say if there's any left over, call me,” said Betty.

Betty said she has always had people willing to help out.

“Mike and I used to go hunting together and he needed some help. I'd come down and Petr would come down and we'd have a little holy water to keep our spirits up. We'd roast chestnuts and have just a grand old time,” said John MacMartin, Minot Chamber of Commerce president and guest chestnut roaster.

Betty joins other downtown business owners in making the tree lighting a special night for the city.

“Somebody found the tree. It was an anonymous donation. TC Nursery took the tree down and then brought it here, and along with the help of real builders, they hoisted up the tree. Then Midco came in and put the lights on the tree,” said Eric Hansen, Minot Business Association board member.

As long as Main Street still has businesses and Betty is still roasting, the evening after Thanksgiving will always be special in Minot.