MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Later this September, the 44th annual Norsk Høstfest will be taking place in Minot. However, it’s important to note that the event is also a time to honor the Scandinavian heroes who made an impact on both North Dakota and the rest of the world. One of these individuals — Sondre Norheim — is honored every year at the Hostfest with a wreath-laying ceremony.
Norheim is often referred to as the “Father of Modern Skiing,” and invented both Telemark and Christiana turns to the sport. Most notably, he is credited with inventing the first ski bindings out of twisted shoots from birch roots. While originally born in Norway on June 10, 1825, he immigrated to the US in 1884 with his family in search of a better life. Eventually, he would come to settle on a homestead in what is now known as McHenry County, where he spent the remainder of his days.
Sondre was typically described as a modest man, and even his neighbors knew nothing about his legacies in both Norway and the sport of skiing. When he died in 1897, he did so as a virtually unknown person, and his grave remained unmarked for many years. In 1966, he was memorialized by a large granite boulder and a plaque at Norway Lutheran Church, approximately five miles west of his homestead. Nowadays, a statue of Norheim also rests at Minot’s Scandinavian Heritage Park, a further testament to his legacy.
Before the annual Høstfest, which runs from September 27 to September 30, a wreath-laying ceremony to honor Norheim will take place on Tuesday, September 26. Any individuals who wish to attend the event may do so by catching a bus that departs from Minot’s Grand Hotel at 7:30 a.m, which will take passengers to the burial site and commemorative service. The bus ride and event are free and open to the public.
For more information on Sondre Norheim or the wreath-laying ceremony, visit this page on Høstfest’s website, or call the Høstfest office at 701-852-2368.