Hostfest canceled, to resume in 2021

Minot’s Hostfest will not be held this year. The president of the internationally renowned Scandinavian festival, David Reiten, made the announcement Wednesday morning.

“The Norsk Hostfest board of directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 festival,” said Reiten. “This step has been taken due to uncertainty over the COVID-19 virus and its global impact, both now and in the fall. The health and safety of guests, volunteers, and performers is our utmost priority. Norsk Hostfest will be back in 2021.”

Thus, for the first time in the 42 year run of the event, Hostfest will not be held.

When asked about a decision made in March to cancel an event scheduled for September, Reiten acknowledged that some may think the decision to be a bit premature but that even fielding a large enough staff to handle early sales was difficult.

“We have no answers to what might be the situation in September,” said Reiten. “We have chosen to follow the path of minimizing risk to all involved.”

Hostest relies heavily upon volunteers to staff the festival, many of whom are retired and in the “high risk” category should they become infected with coronavirus. Reiten noted the Hostfest’s “older-than-average” demographic and mobilization of volunteers on a year-long basis was a consideration of the festival’s board of directors who “deemed it prudent to cancel.”

The Hostfest attracts thousand of visitors each year. The loss of the event will have a large financial impact on the community and beyond.

“It is a heartbreaking decision,” concluded Reiten. “We are aware that this will impact out fans, guests, tours, volunteers, entertainers, sponsors, hotels, chefs, international partners, donors, the City of Minot, and the State of North Dakota. We appreciate your support and understanding.”

Hostfest was scheduled to run four days, Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at the State Fair Center and fairgrounds. Jim Gaffigan, a four-time Grammy nominated comedian, was one of the headline acts scheduled to appear at Hostfest. However, the Hostfest suspended all ticket sales last Sunday as it became apparent that cancellation was becoming a probability.

According to Hostfest, refunds will be forthcoming for those who have already purchased tickets for the canceled event. Further information can be found at hostfest.com.


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