Norsk Høstfest is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises funds to preserve, improve and share Scandinavian culture, heritage and educational programs. Program focus areas include Høstfest in the Schools, Scandinavian Youth Camp, the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame, Skien-Minot sister city relationship, and Norsk Høstfest. The festival also crowns an yearly Miss Norsk Høstfest and holds trips to Denbigh, ND, for the annual wreath-laying ceremony honoring Sondre Norheim.
Norsk Høstfest is held annually in the fall in the N.D. State Fair Center on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds in Minot, N.D., USA. The festival was founded in 1978 by the late Chester Reiten and a group of friends who shared his interest in celebrating their Nordic heritage. The festival, now entering into its 41st year, has grown into North America’s largest Scandinavian festival with tens of thousands of people attending from all over the world.
The festival features world-class entertainment, authentic Scandinavian cuisine, Scandinavian culture on display, handcrafted Norsk merchandise, plus a fine dining establishment lead by guest chefs.
Norsk Høstfest celebrates Scandinavian culture and heritage of the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Each nation is represented in one of the halls in which the festival takes place, and each named after their country's capital city. The individual styles of each country's entertainment, food, clothes, art, and jewelry can be found throughout Norsk Høstfest and also in the Scandinavian Heritage Park, the only park in the world representing all five Nordic countries.
While the festival has grown to become the largest Scandinavian festival in North American, there are other entities in Minot, ND, that has sprouted from the same interest of preserving heritage and celebrating Nordic culture. Among those organizations that have been cultivated through the joint interest in the Scandinavian culture are the Scandinavian Heritage Association, Høstfest-Heritage Foundation and the Telemark Trade Office.