MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — The Norsk Høstfest returns to Minot this week, and will bring thousands of people with it — meaning that both organizers and volunteers have a busy few days ahead of them. Fortunately for the festival, there are plenty of volunteers ready to go.
Teresa Loftesnes is the Volunteer Coordinator for Høstfest and must ensure that the event has enough helping hands to go around. Loftnesnes says nearly 2,500 volunteers come through the Høstfest office annually — and that this year, around 5,000 total volunteers will help with the festival.
“I say I have the best job at the office because people are happy,” she states. “They want to come and volunteer. They call on the phone and want to volunteer. They come into the office. We visit, and I can show them all the different opportunities, and explain some of the job tasks a little bit more clearly to them.”
Organizers are crossing their fingers for good weather this week to go along with their many additions — including a waffle booth and a bus service to and from the event. Meanwhile, Volunteers have plenty to do, such as hanging banners and helping vendors get all set up before the crowd arrives.
“I think it is so fun,” explains MSU Men’s Wrestling Team member and Volunteer Payton Wayman. “When they put us on the lifts, it’s so scary, but it’s so fun. It is fun being around other volunteers because everybody has a positive attitude about everything.”
Wayman recalls that he was asked by his wrestling coach to help with the show. He agreed because he says he enjoys working with people and being surrounded by positive attitudes. They make it look easy on camera, but Wayman says the banners he and his team were tasked with hanging up took them multiple hours to set up correctly.
Høstfest’s executive director Alexis Meyer also notes that the organization has plenty of troubles when it comes to setup — all of which are made much easier as a result of the kindness of its’ volunteers.
“The other major area that is always a little bit difficult for us is our move-in,” explains Meyer. ” It takes forklift drivers, and scissor lift operators, and people that can haul carts on trailers, so it’s a big project.”
One of the more unusual challenges comes from combining history with modern interests. With Minot’s aging Scandinavian population, how can the festival still attract a young audience while keeping the history and heritage intact? Meyer says booking the musical acts is one way to do that, but they’re also finding ways for kids to have fun at the festival — including hands-on demonstrations of traditional crafts, performances, and delicious food.
“I think the most rewarding thing is seeing the children’s faces in the hallways,” Meyer states. “This year, we have over 1500 students coming for school field trips, which is amazing. And seeing their faces light up when they are interacting with different entertainers and characters throughout the festival –that is the most rewarding thing to me.”
Hostfest organizers say that they are still looking for volunteers to help with food production and catering. In order to learn more about Hostfest or volunteer opportunities, visit the festival’s website, or call 701-852-2368.