Past Reigning Royalty
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2019
Kast, who is of Norwegian and German heritage, is the daughter of Scott and Brenda Kast and grew up in the community of Minot, which many fondly refer to as the Magic City.
“I’m really happy for her,” Brenda Kast said as Sidni spoke with others after the crowning. “I think she’ll enjoy learning a lot more about Scandinavian heritage and continuing with what she does know.”
Sidni Kast has attended Norsk Høstfest, North America’s largest Scandinavian festival held annually in Minot, for as long as she can remember. For a few years, she was part of the festival’s entertainment as a member of Western Plains Children’s Choir. “That was so much fun,” she said. “Not only did you have to learn how to sing the songs but to pronounce the words in different languages.”
She has also served as a volunteer, spending hours scooping ice cream.
Kast was motivated to enter the Miss Norsk Høstfest pageant by the love her family has for Høstfest. Both the grandparents on her dad’s and mom’s sides of the family attend: Adrian and Shirley Kast and Byron Olien. Her grandmother, Barb Olien, is now deceased but attended faithfully, as well. She has fond memories of attending with her grandparents. “They always wanted to instill pride in where we came from,” Kast said.
A 2016 graduate of Minot High School and a 2019 graduate of Minot State University, Kast is currently applying for dental school. She’ll put the $1,000 scholarship she received as Miss Norsk Høstfest to use there.
Kast is familiar with crowns. She was crowned Homecoming Queen at both Minot High and Minot State. “It humbled me,” she said, “because it was my classmates choosing me. They thought I could represent them well and I appreciate that.”
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2018
Sometimes, jumping in quickly can be the best decision you ever make. That’s definitely the case for Miss Norsk Høstfest 2018 Lily Bonebrake. Just a few weeks before competition, Lily’s mom was watching the news and heard that the Miss Norsk Høstfest pageant was looking for more participants and the winner would receive a scholarship. Never one to turn down an opportunity to earn more funding for higher education, Lily signed up right away.
Since it was short notice, Lily didn’t have much time to prepare for the Miss Norsk Høstfest pageant competition. Thankfully, the competition is designed to focus on personality, interview skills and heritage, so Lily only needed her natural charm to shine through and clinch the title. “I was really surprised I won,” said Lily. “But it was a really good experience for me to do the interview and work through my nervousness.”
With two great-grandparents who were Norwegian and one who was Swedish, Lily’s Scandinavian blood runs deep. She tells stories of making homemade lefse with her grandma throughout her childhood. She’s attended Norsk Høstfest over the years, and is always excited to get to know all the people at the festival, especially the kids.
Lily love for children is apparent. When she isn’t in school or sports, Lily dedicates time as a CLC teacher at Washington Elementary. “The best part of working at CLC is getting to hang out with 2nd graders every day, being silly and having fun.”
Currently a senior at Minot High School, Lily plans to put her scholarship to use next year when she enrolls in college to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a NICU nurse. While she hasn’t officially committed to a university, she’s planning to attend either Minot State University or the University of North Dakota. This year, she’s finishing her senior year strong. Lily is an active member of the Student Council and the Renaissance Club at Minot High School. She’s been playing hockey nearly from the moment she could stand on ice, and currently plays on the Majettes girls hockey team.
This year marks a special year for Miss Norsk Høstfest. Even though the festival started in 1978, this year marks the 40th Miss Norsk Høstfest title holder as the program began in 1979. If you see Lily at the festival, make sure to say “hi!
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2017
August 12, 2017 was a big day for Arnikka Thompson. She was competing in her first pageant to compete for the title of Miss Norsk Høstfest. After successfully completing the interview, evening gown and fitness competitions, Arnikka performed the “Norwegian Dance” on her clarinet and clinched the win as this year’s Miss Norsk Høstfest.
Arnikka’s dream to become Miss Norsk Høstfest began at a young age. “I’ve gone to Høstfest every year except first grade. When I was in Kindergarten, I went to the Høstfest and saw Princess Märtha Louise of Norway who was there with her book, ‘Why Kings and Queens Don’t Wear Crowns’, and I loved it,” said Arnikka. “Later that day, I saw Miss Norsk Høstfest in her crown and I wanted to be just like her.”
When asked how it felt to have her dream come true, she said, “It’s amazing. I was elated.”
Arnikka is 100 percent Norwegian and her culture has been a part of her life from a young age. “I’ve been a part of the Sons of Norway since I was four months old when my mom took me to the meetings,” she said. As Arnikka grew up, she continued to embrace her culture. She attended Camp Trollfjorden starting at eight years old and served as a camp counselor in recent years. The camp is located near Lake Metigoshe and gives campers insight into the Norwegian language, dancing and cooking.
As a longtime Høstfest attendee, Arnikka is looking forward to reconnecting with festival friends and getting to meet more fantastic Høstfest attendees. If you get to chat with Miss Norsk Høstfest, make sure to ask her about her platform — encouraging music in small schools. You might even learn that you have an ancestor in common. Arnikka’s family is from the northern regions of Norway.
Miss Norsk Høstfest’s favorite Nordic food is rømmegrøt.
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2016
Emily Prock, Miss Norsk Høstfest 2016, views this title as a chance to celebrate a different part of herself. As a child growing up in Texas, much of her heritage experience was tied to her Hispanic mother’s side of the family. After her father was relocated through the military to Minot, Prock started learning more about her Scandinavian heritage on her father’s side.
“It’s exciting to have a title that lets me represent a part of me that I’m still discovering and very proud of,” said Prock.
A Minot High School grad, she is now a fifth-year senior at the University of North Dakota studying art education and elementary education. Prock was the featured twirler with the UND marching band for football and basketball. She originally got into pageants as a way to get to know people and practice her skill.
“I thought it was a cool way to bring my sport back to pageants,” said Prock.
As Miss Norsk Høstfest 2016, Prock will play an integral part in this year’s celebration, socializing with festival goers and attending the many events. Prock is looking forward to an immersive cultural experience and hopes to learn more about her own heritage and encourage others to do the same.
“[Being Miss Norsk Høstfest] means I get to represent a culture that’s not very prominent in other areas of the country and use social media to share what makes our culture unique,” said Prock. “It seems that some people here just brush off the fact that they have Scandinavian heritage. I want to ensure that kids understand that their heritage is something to celebrate and be proud of.”
Throughout her year as Miss Norsk Høstfest, Prock will make appearances and present on her platform – Putting the You Back in Beautiful. Focused on positive body image, Prock wants to encourage others to be accepting of their bodies regardless of what size they may wear. As long as they’re happy with how they look and know they’re putting their best foot forward, that’s what matters – not what others think of them.
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2015
Seventeen-year-old Jane Peterson of Minot has been named 2015 Miss Norsk Høstfest. That means you’ll find her at the festival each day, meeting people and connecting with her Norwegian heritage.
Peterson is the daughter of Jeff and Diana Peterson, and is a senior at Minot High School where she’s an active member of FBLA, FCCLA, and National Honor Society.
Having admired Miss Norsk Høstfest’s of previous years, she says that she’s excited to wear the crown herself.
“I didn’t really expect it, because there were other girls there, and we’re all the same type of people,” said Peterson. “And I thought, ‘what are the chances that I would win?’ I have always looked up to the other Miss Norsk Høstfest’s like Piper (Jones) and Macy (Christensen), and now here I am. It’s just super amazing.”
While the Miss Norsk Høstfest title may be new to Peterson, Norsk Høstfest is not. In the 6th grade, she was a participant at Scandinavian Youth Camp, a camp held the weekend prior to Høstfest for children in grades 2 to 10.
“I had enrolled in the Troll Mask Making camp,” Peterson recalled. “It was tremendous fun. In fact, I still have my mask.”
From there, Peterson grew to be active in the festival itself, enjoying many of Norsk Høstfest’s offerings.
“I like the food!” she said. “And I absolutely love Dacotah Banks’ Nordic Kitchen where the chefs teach you how to create Scandinavian dishes.”
While being Miss Norsk Høstfest, Peterson hopes to gain a little more insight into her Norwegian heritage and make life-long connections with the Scandinavian community. One of her first tasks will be heading to the Import Shop to pick out her new Norwegian Sweater, compliments of Dale of Norway. She also will be attending the festival the entire week, greeting guests and attending important events such as the Governor’s Reception and the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame Banquet.
NO ORDINARY TEENAGER
When talking to Peterson, it is easy to see that she is no ordinary teenager. Having been diagnosed with bone cancer in November 2014, she battled the disease and is now cancer-free. But not without a few casualties.
“I had broken my bone while playing football,” Peterson recalled. “It was when they were doing X-rays that they found the cyst in my leg. They did surgery and found it to be cancer. After much discussion about the options available for me, the doctors and I felt my best choice was to have the leg removed.”
Even now, her prosthetic leg doesn’t slow her down. She may get a curious glance from a passerby, but she doesn’t let it bother her one bit.
“The best are the young kids,” she chuckled. “They often inquire about what happened.”
But while cancer may have been a hindrance, it also yielded some surprising results. In fact, thanks to North Dakota Make-A-Wish, Peterson was able to fulfill her dream of learning to be a bee keeper.
“I am not even sure where this desire came from,” said Peterson with a smile. “I just wanted to try it, and when I was asked what I would like to do, I said ‘be a beekeeper’. I really enjoy it.”
The teenager now bottles her own honey – Buzz Off Honey – and sells it at the family vineyard, Point-Of-View Winery. She says she has future plans of selling it at local flea markets and craft shows, along with attending college to become a nurse practitioner.
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2014
Macy Christianson, of Minot, N.D., had been named Miss Norsk Høstfest 2014. Macy is of Icelandic descent and a veteran performer at Norsk Høstfest with Rinat Mouzafarov’s Skandi Ski Fantasy. The 18-year old winner is proud of her Scandinavian heritage, and excited for the upcoming celebration.
She has dreamed of this day for quite awhile, and says a lot of hard work went into the pageant. While this title means a lot to her, Christianson says it means even more to her community.
“I think it’s really good to be in touch with your heritage,” said Christianson. “To be able to learn about it at the Høstfest is an amazing thing. I have gone to the Høstfest for 14 straight years now, and I have learned so much.”
Christianson is currently attending the University of North Dakota studying psychology and recently has been crowned Miss North Dakota 2016 and will advance to the Miss America pageant.
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2013
Katelyn Johnson, a Hazen, ND, native, has taken the reign as the 2013 Miss Norsk Høstfest.
Johnson is of Norwegian and Swedish descent with her Scandinavian roots tracing back to Telemark, Trondheim, Edisvold and Sigdahl in Norway and Strom, Sweden.
“Being Miss Norsk Høstfest has been a goal of mine since I was little,” Johnson said. “For as long as I can remember, the Høstfest has been an instrumental part of my life. Knowing I get to fulfill my goal of being 2013 Miss Norsk Høstfest is an amazing feeling.”
As 2013 Miss Norsk Høstfest, Johnson will represent Norsk Høstfest during the festival and throughout the year at several functions, including participating in the North Dakota State Fair parade.
“I hope to be able to increase interest in Scandinavian heritage during my reign,” she said. “And of course, help all guests have a wonderful Høstfest experience.”
Studying in Norway
“In the summer of 2014, I will be arriving in Norway. I will be studying at the International Summer School through the University of Oslo. For six weeks, from June 21 to August 1, I will be taking courses in Norwegian language, Scandinavian government and politics, and Norwegian life and society.
In addition to the six weeks of summer school, I plan on staying an extra week to allow myself a chance to see more of Norway, as well as hopefully traveling to other Scandinavian countries. I have also contacted relatives whom I hope to meet.
As I have always dreamed of traveling to Norway, I am very excited to fulfill this goal!”
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2012
By Abbie Naze
It has been my privilege to serve as Miss Norsk Høstfest 2012 and promote the wonderful Scandinavian festival that has been a part of my life since I was a child.
In addition to my duties as Miss Norsk Høstfest, I had the opportunity through my university to study abroad in January in Bø i Telemark, Norway, a place that will now forever be a home to me. I focused on Scandinavian studies, encompassing Norwegian language, culture, arts, history and tourism. I even learned how to cross-country ski! Along with that, I performed cello with the Grenland Symphony Orchestra in Skien, Norway, the sister city of Minot. Being Miss Norsk Høstfest really gave me a great advantage; I was able to meet some incredible Norwegians during last year’s festival right before I ventured off to their land of lutefisk, lefse and trolls.
While my family and close friends in North Dakota and Norway certainly helped me out along the way, the biggest source of motivation came from the Norsk Høstfest community. I knew you were all rooting for me, and I have returned with a broader perspective on many things, a taste of what Scandinavia is truly like, more confidence and independence, and most importantly, the desire to learn more.
Mange tusen takk til alle! Whether you are a first-time Høstfest attendee, a volunteer in a booth, or, like my grandmother, a devoted Scandinavian who comes back each fall to get your fill of rømmegrøt or Danish pastries, be proud of yourselves. I look forward to continuing the Høstfest tradition for many, many years with you!
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2011
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2011 Courtney Johnson is a fan of the entertainment at Høstfest, and the yodeling performers are among her favorites.
“I always think yodelers are the coolest thing,” she told the Minot Daily News.
Johnson,a Minot native, is the a daughter of Todd and Lauri Johnson and was a Minot State Univerisy sophomore during the time of her crowning.
When she was younger, she remembers performing with the Western Plains Children’s Choir at Høstfest and seeing and admiring the then-Miss Norsk Høstfests. Competing for the title has been on her list of things to do for some time.
In 2011, she particularly felt strongly about entering the contest.
“With the flood and everything that’s happened,” she said, “I thought it was going to be important for the Høstfest to continue. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to show Minot strong. I know this was going to be an exciting year to be involved with Høstfest.”
Seeing the devastation in her community has been difficult, she said. Her family home on North Hill wasn’t flooded.
Johnson said she is “30 percent Norwegian,” which comes from her father’s side as her last name implies. Lefse was a staple at holiday dinners, where Johnson enjoyed listening to the Norwegian accents of extended family members gathered for the special occasions. She also visited Høstfest occasionally with her family during the years.
“It’s once-in-a-lifetime to be Miss Norsk Høstfest ,” she said. “It’s probably more involved that I thought, but I like that. I am glad it’s very involved.”
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2010
Piper Jones, then a sophomore at Minot State University, was crowned Miss Norsk Hstfest 2010.
“I’m so thrilled to be a part of something that’s been so important in my life,” Jones told the Minot Daily News. “I can’t wait to spend a week with people who are as passionate about our culture as I am.”
Jones, a fourth-generation Scandinavian American, stated that her grandparents, Reno and Marilynn Strand, of Bottineau, would take her ouf of school to attend Hstfest every year.
“I haven’t missed a Hstfest in as long as I can remember. It’s been an experience I’ve shared with my grandparents, and it’s one of the dearest bonding memories between us,” she said.
Jones is the daughter of Durand and Correen Strand, Minot.
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2009
Miss Norsk Høstfest 2008