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Norsk Høstfest Featured on the Cover of North Dakota Horizons

Norsk Høstfest Celebrating Scandinavian Culture

For 44 years, Norsk Høstfest, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, has celebrated Scandinavian culture and the heritage of the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden at the North Dakota State Fair Center in Minot. This year’s four-day event, September 27-30, celebrates all things Scandinavian including world-class entertainment, authentic Scandinavian cuisine, Scandinavian culture displays, and handcrafted Norsk merchandise.

“For four days, the North Dakota State Fairgrounds in Minot are transformed – the halls are renamed and adorned in traditional and modern Scandinavian décor,” says Jessica Ackerman, Norsk Høstfest board president. “Children are transfixed by wandering trolls, dancing fish and raucous Vikings. From ABBA to bluegrass, rosemaling to woodcarving, lefse to lutefisk, there’s a performance, demonstration, dish, dance, or Norwegian sweater waiting for us. It’s an event that activates all our senses and invites us to celebrate the region’s unique heritage. We can be transported to Scandinavia without leaving the state.”


The Beginning

Norsk Høstfest was founded in 1978 by the late Chester Reiten and a group of friends who shared his interest in celebrating their Nordic heritage. On the organization’s website, Reiten’s son, David, notes, “My father and some people decided they wanted to celebrate their Scandinavian heritage. My father, in the mid to late 1970s, found out about his heritage. He found some letters that had been written to my grandfather probably 80 years before, all written in Norwegian. So, my father decided he wanted to find out more about his Norwegian heritage, in fact, he took a trip over there. He took great interest in it. He went over to Norway, found his relatives and then from that he decided to have a Scandinavian festival to celebrate not only Norwegians, but all of Scandinavia.”