Norsk Høstfest

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Norsk Høstfest ( Norwegian language: "Norwegian Autumn Festival") is an annual festival held each fall in Minot, North Dakota. It is North America's largest Scandinavian festival. [1] The event is held on the North Dakota State Fair grounds in Minot, North Dakota. Tens of thousands of people attend the Norsk Høstfest to celebrate and partake in the Scandinavian culture and entertainment. Altogether it has hosted cultural touchstones from Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Greenland, Åland, Faroe Islands, German-speaking Europe and the Netherlands. [2]

The festival was founded in 1978 by the late Chester Reiten and a group of friends who shared his interest in celebrating their Nordic heritage. The festival, which will celebrate 40 years in 2017, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises funds to preserve, improve and share Scandinavian culture, heritage and educational programs.

Highlights of the fall festival include announcing the annual Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame inductees. The Hall of Fame is an enduring means of honoring those persons of Scandinavian descent in North America who have achieved greatness in their fields of endeavor and/or whose efforts have contributed significantly to the betterment of mankind. [3] Other remarkable honors include the selection of the annual Miss Norsk Høstfest and naming of the Chester Award, which recognizes festival excellence in five categories: artisan, exhibitor, food concessionaire, volunteer and chairman.

Norsk Høstfest features a number of Nordic exhibits with internationally recognized artisans, craftsmen and chefs participating. The cuisine as well as the clothes, art and jewelry are authentic, fine quality and exquisitely Nordic. [4]

During Høstfest week (end of September through first few days of October), presenters associated with the festival travel to the surrounding area where they introduce Nordic heritage and culture to students in an effort named "Høstfest In The Schools". Additionally, Scandinavian Youth Camp is held the weekend prior to Høstfest. Children participating in the camps also perform at Høstfest in scheduled events such as the Troll beauty contest, Norwegian Folk dance, Swedish Maypole dancers, and the Troll parade. [5]

There are several headliner acts booked each night of the event, not limited to the event's Scandinavian theme. Headliners in the past have included performers from the United States, Canada and Europe. [6]

With the recent oil boom in the Bakken formation, Minot has seen growth in development including area hotels. Prior to the boom, hotels were hard to come by and often filled up months prior the festival making it nearly impossible for festival guests to find a place to stay. Today, hotel rooms in the Magic City are plentiful, making it easier for people to attend the festival and celebrate their heritage. [7]


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