I have just returned from my first Høstfest in Minot, North Dakota and it was quite an experience. For those who have never made the trek to Minot, let this serve as a five-star recommendation.
The Høstfest show is set up at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds on the northeast side of Minot. Vendors, artisans and performers can be found throughout the sprawling, eight-hall complex. The booths vary from gorgeous woodworking and rosemaling to quilting, paintings, sculptures and clothing (including our own shop, aktivstyle.com). You could fill the entire 4-day show by going from booth to booth and getting to know all of the business owners. Events are peppered throughout the festival including two daily fashion shows under the command of Dakota Chappy, seen in the photo with the author's parents showing off the best of Nordic apparel. Dakota Chappy has shops in Bismarck and Minot and can be found on Facebook.
Music is everywhere at Høstfest from small concerts held in little nooks to full shows in the Copenhagen, Reykjavik and Oslo Halls. One highlight was the Neil Diamond tribute concert held twice daily in the Oslo hall by Matt Vee and the Killer Vees. They delivered top-shelf Neil! The Høstfest also attracts national artists to their huge concert venue, The Hall of the Vikings. This year the headliners that wowed the large crowds included Charley Pride (a spry 85 years old!), Clint Black and Chicago.
Lutefisk and lefse are the main attractions along with potato dumplings and Norwegian waffles, but I was impressed by the breadth of dining options that captured many different Scandinavian cultures. You can enjoy your morning coffee with one of Norway’s best, Evergood Coffee. Finnish soups and sandwiches were available and Scandi in the Reykjavik Hall had a full slate of modern classics, including my favorite, fisksuppe! Your afternoon coffee (or Fika) could be found at the Hygge Café. I had the Swedish meatballs for more than one dinner and they were delicious. Luckily, you walk many miles throughout the halls so you do not end up putting on any weight even with the great culinary options.
The last time I remember being in Minot I saw “E.T.” in its first run. It has been a long time. Since then the city has gone through its share of ups and downs, from the reduction of activity at the Air Force base to the Bakken oil boom to the disastrous flood of 2011. After all of that, I found Minot to be quite vibrant with a wide range of coffee shops and with pretty good local eating establishments. The Badlands Restaurant is great for every day eating, while 10 North Main brings fine dining to the Upper Plains. Both have a thorough menu of local and general choices and are worth a visit if you travel to the Magic City.
All in all, it was a fun filled visit to the Norsk Høstfest. One which I plan to repeat next year. I hope you join me. If you enjoyed this article, please join our Vennegruppe mailing list at the bottom of the page. We promise not to overload your inbox!