Norsk Hostfest returns

Festival begins Wednesday at ND State Fairgrounds

Submitted Photo Workers began moving and staging displays and decorations for Norsk Hostfest on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds since last week, as the countdown begins for the first festival since 2019.

Since 1978, Minot has been home to the Norsk Hostfest, the largest Scandinavian festival on the continent. After a two-year hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, no one is more ready to throw open the doors than the people planning and organizing its return on Wednesday. The festival continues through Saturday.

For the most part, Norsk Hostfest is coming back unchanged. The festival will once again take place on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds, with different halls representing one of the five Nordic nations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Each hall will showcase the food, culture, and art of each nation, filled brimming with vendors and demonstrations. While the artists performing in the All Seasons Arena have shuffled slightly since the initial announcement, the festival will host a slate of AAA country acts like Big and Rich and Brantley Gilbert.

EPIC Events of Fargo was brought on to take the reins for the Hostfest’s return, which Hostfest Vice President Jessica Ackerman credited with bringing experience, a cohesive vision, and some necessary revamps to improve the overall experience and quality of life of the festival.

“We’re ready to bring it back for people to experience again, or for the first time,” said Ackerman, “I am so happy that the EPIC team has used their experience with events like this to fuse some new experiences for people.”

Some of the quality-of-life changes include resting points throughout the festival’s circuit, making it easier to traverse the five halls. One new addition to the festival is an “after dark” late night entertainment programming at different locations every evening, with a bar, dancing and live entertainment from groups like Mason Dixon Line and local band Wild Hands.

While in past years there was a Scandinavian youth camp for the younger set during the day, in 2022 the festival will have kids programming happening all day long in the Family Fjord Zone at no additional cost.

“With the two years off we wanted to make some changes, and come in kind of fresh,” said Hostfest Coordinator Alexis Meyer, “We wanted to look at things that have been there for years and figure out what is important, but also freshen things up a little bit.”

Five chefs from Norway are being flown in for the festival, with everyone’s favorite Scandanavian food vendors on hand to satisfy the public’s cravings for authentic delicacies.

“For food it’s less about a new item that you can try, and more about having that once a year opportunity for people to try that traditional Scandinavian food that they otherwise don’t get, or they’re gutsy enough to try this year,” said Ackerman.

For Meyer, it was important to honor the years of tradition and familiarity that the public has with the event, while still striking out and providing a new way to experience them.

“We’ve got two artists on staff who are working very hard using the old elements that we have to create new things that are exciting and will change the feel of the festival,” said Meyer. “But when I think about the food and the decorations, from the moment you walk through the front door it’s all five senses that can be engaged if you let yourself get immersed in the environment. We haven’t been to the festival for a few years, so there’s going to be some automatic newness.”

For Hostfest ticket information visit https://hostfest.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today