The Norsk Høstfest, one of North America’s biggest Scandinavian celebrations will be returning to Minot in 2022, according to festival officials.
The annual home-grown festival, canceled twice due to COVID-19 since its last gathering in 2019, is under new leadership and filled with new hopes for an entertainment revival.
While many weren’t surprised by the cancelation of Høstfest at the height of the pandemic in North Dakota in 2020, many didn’t expect the event to again be stopped in 2021.
Høstfest’s new president, Tim Mihalick, says the decision to cancel the 2021 festival was unavoidable given several factors.
First, he says, the US-Canadian border remains largely closed, shutting off a large portion of Høstfest’s traditional audience.
Second, he notes, other international travel — especially from Scandinavia — is also limited, leaving in doubt the ability to welcome Nordic visitors.
Mihalick added planning for a large festival such as Høstfest requires a long lead time and, coupled with the uncertainty still surrounding the pandemic, it was virtually impossible to make the arrangements and commitments necessary in time to hold a 2021 event.
Mihalick replaces David Reiten as festival president, who retired this spring.
In 2011, Reiten himself took over from his father and festival founder Chet Reiten, who served as president of Høstfest from the beginning in 1978.
Mihalick says the new board is receiving guidance from a Minneapolis-based festival consultant to devise the best path forward.
“The board is working closely with the consultant to make sure that when Høstfest returns next year, it will be on solid footing to continue the legacy of the festival while positioning itself for future growth,” he says.
Mihalick also stresses he and the new board are confident Norsk Høstfest will be held in September 2022, re-starting an annual tradition that has been a big part of the Minot area and North Dakota since 1978.
The specific dates for 2022 are expected to be announced in the next few months.