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Revived Hostfest brings back fun

Jill Schramm/MDN Cora Webster celebrates a ringer as her brother, Cole, left, takes aim at a troll figure with his hoop at Norsk Hostfest Friday.

The concerts, the food and the atmosphere were receiving high marks Friday from Hostfest-goers coming back after a two-year break or visiting the festival for the first time.

David and Dixie Schillingberg from Medicine Lake, Montana, have been regular Hostfest-goers, as his parents also had been. 

“We come for the rommegrot,” Dixie Schillingberg said. 

The Schillingbergs said they miss the En To Tre fine dining of past Hostfests and were disappointed some of the regular vendors didn’t make it this year, especially the booth with the pickled herring. The new layout also had them wishing for more signage but it didn’t dampen their spirits.

“It’s still fun. We are still enjoying it,” Dixie Schillingberg said. “The concerts are real good.”

North Dakota is number 48 on Patrick Winter’s journey to visit all 50 states, and Norsk Hostfest was a good reason to pick Minot as the place to visit. Winter, from Georgia, was at Hostfest Friday with friends from Minneapolis and Denver. They flew into Fargo and stopped in Rugby to touch what they called the “belly button” of the continent, or the Geographical Center of North America, on their drive to explore Minot.

Courtney Kilpatrick from Minneapolis, who was making her first ever trip to Minot, called her Hostfest experience “fantastic.”

Some in the group have Scandinavian heritage and are familiar with the culture, while others tried lutefisk for the first time, not necessarily giving it a thumbs up but appreciating the experience.

Winter said meeting the people at Hostfest, including seeing the number of Scandinavian visitors, has been the best part.

“Everybody is very very polite and everybody is very nice. That’s been a highlight,” he said.

Families also were having fun at Hostfest.

Allan and Renetta Pearson of Minot brought their grandchildren, Cole Webster, 7, and his sister, Cora, 6, from Burlington since they had the day off from school.

Cole said he liked the lefse, getting to make paper crowns and the music. Cora  enjoyed riding the stick Dala horse.

Renetta Pearson said they weren’t sure how many of the children’s events would be back with the revival of Hostfest so were pleased to see the variety of activities available.

Justin Yirsa of Big Sandy, Montana, was at Hostfest Friday for the third year with his five sons, ages 1 to 14. 

“I come for the rommegrot,” he said, adding his boys like the food, too.

“It’s different,” he said of the feel of the revived event. However, the Viking Village is back. Yirsa, confiscating wooden toy swords wielded by a couple of exuberant young Viking wannabes, said the village was a highlight of their day.

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