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Soaking in Scandinavia: A Family Visit to Norsk Høstfest

Posted by Carolyn on

Lutefisk, anyone? North America's largest Scandinavian festival kicks off this week in Minot, North Dakota, transforming the North Dakota State Fairgrounds into a bustling hub of Scandinavian-centered activity. We've put together our personal annual visit tips to make your family visit to Norsk Høstfest a fun and full one.

All photos courtesy of Norsk Høstfest

Take the kids

Norsk Høstfest is filled with all sorts of sights and sounds that will capture the attention of kids of all ages. There are dozens of free stage shows each day, music galore (dancing encouraged!), and plenty of tasty treats at every turn. Plus, the crowd at Norsk Hostfest is one of the friendliest you'll ever encounter. Don't be surprised if you're stopped and asked the standard festival question, “Hi, and where are you from?” by more than one person during your visit.

Tip: Make sure YOU ask this question of others, too; if you happen to ask it of the “Mystery Viking” wandering the festival each day, he or she will reward you with $100 cash!

Come hungry

When you step through the doors at Norsk Høstfest, you're bound to discover one thing very quickly: the place smells amazing. From roasted almonds, to Swedish meatbals, to traditional Scandinavian fare like rømmegrøt (a rich Norwegian porridge topped with butter, cinnamon, and sugar), there is no shortage of delicious food. Many of the festival halls have large seating areas that make a great place for your family to rechare and refuel during your visit.

Tip: Concession stands are also open and serve American favorites like chicken strips and french fries.

Wear the baby

If you can get away with walking around Høstfest without a stroller, do. As with any festival, the crowds can sometimes be large and slow-moving, so the less bulk you have, the easier it will be for you to navigate. This is a great place to break out your baby carrier to tote the smallest members of your family around, or opt for a smaller, more compact stroller.

Tip: If you plan your visit after 4pm, adult admission is discounted to $15, and kids under 18 are free.

Pick up a festival guide

Norsk Høstfest is a fairly sprawling festival, so you'll want to have a map handy. Pick up one of the festival guides when you arrive and make note of the landmarks you'll want to know how to find easily (bathrooms and the first aid station are good ones to start with!) and the events you want to catch.

Tip: Stop by LEGO corner, which features an interactive "Display 'n Play" area the kids will love.

Soak up the culture

One of the most unique aspects of Norsk Høstfest is the rich and diverse culture on display. From real Vikings battling each other with swords, to talented artisans showcasing their crafts, to scores of vendors sharing their treasures, there is no better place to soak up Scandinavian culture this side of the Atlantic than Norsk Høstfest. And even if your heritage doesn't include an ounce of Norwegian, the you're sure to leave with an appreciation for the culture and its enduring impact.

Fast facts

- Norsk Høstfest doors open at 7:30am each day; shopping and entertainment runs from 9am-8pm daily
- Parking on festival grounds is free and shuttles are available to take you to the doors

Daily General Admission:
Adults - $40
College students (with college ID) - $20
Ages 13-17 - $10
12 and under – Free

After 4pm - Adults $15; kids free

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