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Wednesday, Oct 11, 2006 from Minot, North Dakota
Posted: Oct 11, 2006 | 355 words | 5 Comments
Minot has been host of North America’s largest Scandinavian festival for 29 years starting today. Norsk Hostfest many thousands visitors from all over the country and all over Canada for a four day event of cultural music, food, art, and much more. With over 200 vendors and dozens of stage performances each day there is more than enough to see in a single day.
Some of the musical performances I saw include Ringling 5 (a group of Montana ranches that sing some comedy country songs, and even one country rap song), Leah Durelle (a 14-year old Canadian country singer), and everyone knows the legendary Oak Ridge Boys. Some of the artists and craftsman I talked to included Mary E. Staby who hand-colors black and white photographs; Sidonka Wadina who is a master of straw weaving and participated in Washington D.C. as one of the best folk artists in the country; Nancy Schmidt who is a renown Vesterheim gold medalist rosemaler; Becky Lusk who specializes in woodwork and wood carving; and also Agnes and Ossian Kidholm who are from Norway and bring their wool weaving talents to the festival. This is just a brief selection of the variety of people that fill the arena. It’s an eclectic group of people, some who come dressed in traditional Scandinavian clothes and even one couple who dress as goblins from folk stories.
Giving a rough estimate I would say that the average age of the festival-goers is at least 50 if not 60. Hundred of them travel in the RVs and set up for the week here at the North Dakota State Fair grounds. One couple I talked to took a bus from the most northern part of Manitoba. Many of the people come back every year. One of the bands was in their 24th year attending Hostfest.
This was the first festival I’ve been able to attend on the trip so far. It’s neat to see how people who attend make friends at the festival and meet up with each other every year. There’s an eclectic group of Americans embracing the heritage and culture of the Scandinavian people.
Comment by Kristi Sauer
From Hugo, MN
That sounds interesting! Although I have no Scandinavian blood in my family, many people in MN do. I had to laugh about the average age!
Comment by Dad
From baraga, MI
The age thing isn't too surprising. Most younger people are not interested in the heritage thing until they age or mature, whatever you want to call it. We need to involve the younger descendents.
Comment by Stacey Carter
From Minot AFB, ND
I have to agree with the age of attendees. In the younger peoples defense, things are mighty expensive at Hostfest. (A $286.00 sweater is out of my league, as well as the $25 ticket per day admission) It is good to see so many people interested in their heritage!
Comment by Diane
From North Battleford, SK
This is my second year at the Hostfest and I was thoroughly thrilled once again! I am 50 and although most attendees were around 60, once you are over 40 WHO CARES! It is the wonderful heritage that I am so proud of. The entertainment was awesome and the shopping was gut, gut, gut!!! YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOURSELF MINOT! You have a wonderful thing going there! Canada loves you, eh!
Comment by Hermod H. Monsen
From Skien, Norway, NO
I have been there 4 times. It is just great.