First time at Norsk Hostfest is delicious

Hannah Baleme/MDN Norsk Hostfest Board member Harrison Hruby, left, Minot Mayor Tom Ross and Miss Hostfest 2023 Harper Skaar are shown during judging at the Scandi Smorgasbord competition Wednesday at Norsk Hostfest.

Wednesday marked the start of the 44th annual Norsk Hostfest.

People come to Minot from all over the world to celebrate Scandinavian cuisine, music, and culture – people much like myself, who came from California and experienced the festival for the first time Wednesday.

Upon walking into Hostfest, I was met with the sight of people proudly dressed in bunads and hallways adorned in carefully made Scandinavian artistry. The festival goers’ pride in Scandinavian culture was truly something to behold.

Also at Hostfest for the first time was the Scandi Smorgasbord competition, which took place Wednesday morning. Judges included those such as Minot Mayor Tom Ross and Miss Norsk Hostfest 2023 Harper Skaar. To my surprise, due to the mayor having to leave early, I was quickly thrown in to take his place in judging the first-ever Scandi smorgasbord.

During the competition, we made our way through the crowd to different vendors, who entered their unique foods for the chance to win one of three awards: most creative, most authentic and overall best dish.

Each dish had its own flavor. Some were traditional Scandinavian dishes, such as Norwegian lemon cake, meat and sauerkraut and a Stroopwaffle cookie. Other entries included dishes such as nachos, popcorn, lemonade and cheesecake.

My personal favorite was popcorn featuring flavors you normally do not associate with it, such as taco and strawberry shortcake.

Once every dish was sampled, we, as judges, privately discussed which entries were deserving of each award.

Following much deliberation, we decided on the cheesecake as best overall, lemonade as most authentic and turkey breasts marinated in sauce served on a butter croissant as most creative.

A woman dressed in a bunad and blowing a Scandinavian horn announced each winner as they accepted their awards.

After the competition I was free to walk around and enjoy all Hostfest had to offer. Other events included a lutefisk-eating competition, a bunad parade and music performances throughout the day.

I have never seen anything quite like this festival, with people coming from all over the world to participate. It is filled with endless activities and workshops, making it easy to lose track of time. Regardless, I look forward to attending Hostfest again in the years to come.

Hostfest continues through Saturday.


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