Nordic style learning at Hostfest

Minot, ND—All roads lead to Minot and the Norsk Hostfest at the end of September and beginning of October each fall. Or at least that has been the case for the past 37 years, since the Hostfest opened its doors and welcomed the world to come for lutefisk, lefse, and good entertainment. More images from the amazing festival: A feast for the eye, a festival and gathering with over 70,000...

Attendance at the festival dropped off a bit after the 2011 flood, due to the rebuilding in Minot and lack of motel rooms but, without having the official numbers yet, it seems Hostfest is growing once again. "We now have plenty of hotel rooms, and it was thanks to the four thousand volunteers that made this happen. People would come up to me and thank me for the good times they were having. A couple vendors even ran out of food, there were so many people. It was lots of fun this year," David Reiten, president, told local media.

The festival has grown, and the 2014 version contained several stages with a variety of performances, more food than can be sampled over four days, a large market place with crafters and booksellers in the Nordic tradition, and educational opportunities. New this year was the Hostfest University program, a folk school at which participants could take classes in storytelling, wood carving and Sami silver bracelet making, among a variety of other offerings. Snug classrooms were set up in Copenhagen Hall, where one could observe artisans demonstrating their work in spinning, wood turning, rope-making, weaving, folk painting and wood carving.

A program for the younger generation was the Scandinavian Youth Camp, held the weekend prior to the festival. Over 130 children from the Greater Minot area participated in Swedish dancing, Norwegian dancing, Norwegian theater, Swedish folk singing, Nordic games, trolls and mask making, Lego and Vikings. Following the training at camp, children and youth performed as part of the Hostfest roster of artists. Statoil is a major sponsor, and funds are also raised through a silent auction at the festival.

By Valorie Arrowsmith