MINOT, N.D. – Wednesday would have been the start of the 2020 Norsk Høstfest, but you’ll have to wait a year to get your fill of lutefisk and lefse.
Organizers made the difficult but necessary decision back in March to postpone the event for the first time in its 42-year history due to the pandemic.
Your News Leader spoke with the president of Norsk Høstfest to reflect on the decision and discuss planning efforts for next year.
Norsk Høstfest usually brings a flutter to the community, but with the annual Scandinavian festival canceled, there is something missing.
“During Norsk Høstfest, we have tour groups coming in to town. The hotels are packed. The restaurants are packed. The state fair ground is buzzing and we certainly don’t feel that this year,” said VisitMinot Executive Director Stephanie Shoenrock.
Norsk Høstfest President David Reiten said although the decision disappointed many in the community, the organization felt a duty to practice caution.
“We just did not want to take a chance on the health and safety of the people that show up to Norsk Høstfest,” said Reiten.
The three-day festival takes an entire year to plan.
Staff and volunteers said the extra time means an even greater festival.
“It’s given us an opportunity to look at Norsk Høstfest on a long term planning that will make us better for the upcoming years,” said Reiten.
Høstfest will return to Minot Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 of next year.
Reiten said Norsk Høstfest staff is observing health and safety precautions by mostly teleworking and wearing masks when they do meet in person.
They are also working to make next year’s festival as safe as possible.
The event, which draws thousands to Minot each fall from all over the world, is North America’s largest Scandinavian heritage festival.