Norsk Høstfest, Minot, North Dakota’s thirty third celebration of Scandinavian food and musical entertainment, ran from September 28 to October 2, attracting record crowds.
The five-day event is the largest Scandinavian festival in North America.
Continuous musical entertainment going on in six venues included headliners Vince Gill, Allan Jackson, Daniel O’Donnell, the Bill Gaither Vocal Band, The Four Tops and the Temptations. On one of the free side stages, performing twice daily were the Oakridge Boys and a group called Abracadabra, which made you think ABBA itself was back.
We caught the Gordy Lindquist “Crazy Fingers” show. He has played in the Fensala Hall with Country Blend, a group from Manitoba. This huge show runs smoothly thanks to some 5,000 volunteers.
The evening headliner concerts in the Great Hall of the Vikings always began with the national anthem, both Canadian and American, and a flag parade of all the Scandinavian countries. One evening Manitoba Fjallkona, Helga Malis was present, an Icelandic addition to the Norwegian and other Scandinavian heritage featured there.
Pönnukökur and vínarterta were sold in the Icelandic booth in Reykjavik Hall. In the Oslo Hall the treat was Viking on a Stick (Norwegian spiced deep fried meat balls). The Stockholm Hall had Swedish meatballs and rolls; in the Copenhagen Hall you could buy Danish æbleskiver or rice pudding. Of course there was lefse, rosettes, fattigman, Oof-da Tacos, sweet soup, bread pudding, waffles and much more wonderful food, some Finnish and German too.
The German cheese button and the Swedish bread pudding with caramel sauce were excellent. Fred and I took time to visit the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot and enjoyed seeing a beautiful Stave Church, a full sized replica of the Gol Stave Church in Norway. The building is a memorial to the pioneer immigrants who uprooted themselves from Scandinavia to make new homes in North America. Prominent in the park is a large 30-foot Dala Horse, a Swedish symbol. A Danish windmill, an authentic Finnish sauna, and statues of storyteller Hans Christian Andersen and Icelandic explorer Leifur Eiriksson are also there.
The seven foot and half inch bronze statue of Leifur Eiriksson statue erected in 1993 and dedicated in October 1994, is the largest project undertaken by the Icelandic Heritage Society in Minot. Ed and Marlene Potter and Grace Pixley and Hugh Lee joined in the bus tour. We were shuttled from our hotel to the entrance of the Høstfest always going past at least 50 parked tour buses. Bettie Weigl and Larry Heth also attended the event, taking their truck and trailer. A huge campground all around the venue was filled with hundreds of campers packed into the parking lot and grounds.