Norsk Høstfest: A Fest Worth Traveling ForSeptember 11, 2018
What do you get when you pull together culture and heritage from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden? “Pure Scandimonium.”
Entering its 41st year, the Norsk Høstfest is one of the largest Nordic festivals in the United States. Taking over the North Dakota State Fairgrounds in Minot Sept. 26-29, the festival draws tens of thousands of visitors each year.
We talked to Leann Mellum, director of marketing and communication for the festival to learn a little more about the event, its history and what makes it such a unique time.
“Since its inception in 1978, the mission of Norsk Høstfest has been to preserve and promote the values and traditions of Scandinavian culture,” Mellum said. “And our effort has never been more timely, with interest in ancestry and heritage at a seemingly all-time high thanks in part to widespread availability of DNA testing. Scandinavian traditions are strong and well-defined, but in order to survive among Scandinavian-Americans especially, they must be passed down to subsequent generations. That’s the driving force behind Norsk Høstfest.”
That driving force is powered by 50,000 attendees who come from far and wide to experience the festival. With so many people are coming from all around the country to experience Nordic music, food and culture, it’s quick to feel overwhelmed with options and possibilities.
“Come early, get your hands on a festival guide, sit down with a cup of coffee and a Scandinavian sweet, and map out your strategy,” she said. “The easy-to-use guide gives at-a-glance information on what’s going when and where. Or simply wander! Wherever you roam you’ll find something interesting [or delicious].”
For festival regulars, keep an eye out for new offerings, like “Café En to Tre,” a spinoff of the festival’s fine-dining restaurant, “En To Tre,” and a new literary destination based on the popular book The Christmas Wish, featuring a scaled-down Scandinavian cottage.
In addition to its Nordic offerings, some of the event’s big headliners include Michael Bolton, Tanya Tucker, The Beach Boys and Alabama. To learn more about the festival, visit its website.