Hostfest is a place filled with colorful costumed performers, demonstrators, and teachers. The aromas of fine Nordic and home-cooked foods are part of the charm. The music meets you at every corner, and there are plenty of opportunities to meet new friends from far and wide.

Thousands of people attended the event and could enjoy programs at many stages at the North Dakota State Fair Grounds. Baltic Crossing (a group from Finland, Denmark and England) was very popular, as was the Harald Haugaard band from Denmark. Twin sons of the late rock and roll star Ricky Nelson did a show featuring their fatherís music. Ivares Pojkarna, Nordic Bees, and Ole Olsons Old Time Orkester were Minnesota groups that performed traditional folk music.

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Festival favorites are the many interactive characters that mingle with guests. The performers varied from a 389-year-old tomte to Grandma Schacht who went around on stilts with a walker in front of her. The youngest strolling character was a member of the Stone troll family ó every time someone took a photo of them, he would give the picture taker a magic rock.

For 15 years, children have been attending a Scandinavian Youth Camp in September to prepare for performing at the November festival. They have a variety of educational programs to choose among: Danish paper cutting, Swedish traditional song games, Nordic games, a Lego station, making troll masks and developing appropriate personas, and learning about Viking crafts. Following the weekend camp, they join their teachers at the festival for performances each day.

A new book hall was featured in 2015. Eric Dregni, author and educator from the Twin Cities performed readings from his books, "Vikings in the Attic" and "In Cod We Trust." One could buy books about the Sami, immigrant history to North America from the middle 1850s, mysteries and books that appeal to the young at heart.

Folks who like to dance had several opportunities each day. The bands invited them to step out to try the hambo, snoa, waltz, two-step or swing. It didnít matter that the halls were full, as some dedicated dancers never sat down.