Scandinavian Heritage, Culture festival honors local pie manufacturers

Louise Oleson, DLJ Managing Editor
Malcolm and Theresa Oatman received help at the Høstfest from their daughter, Mattea, who is pictured here with her dad.

The Norsk Høstfest 2017 is now a memory and a good one at that for one local family. It was their second year as vendors at the scandinavian festival and Malcolm and Theresa Oatman, pro-PIE- etors of Hometown Pies hit a home run with their Hometown Pies Café in the Artisan Village off Copenhagen Hall.

On Thursday, Sept. 28 just prior to the 7:30 p.m. Jeff Dunham performance in the Great Hall of the Vikings Hometown Pies was honored with the “Chester” award. It is one of the highest honors the Høstfest hands out.

You’ve heard of the Oscars? Well, the “Chester” is the Oscar of the Høstfest. Only five are given out through the entire festival; Food Vendor, Artisan, Exhibitor, Volunteer and Chairman of the Year.

Hometown Pies won the “Chester” for being an outstanding food vendor. According to Michelle Bussard, office manager for the Høstfest’s main office in Minot, ND, the “Chester” is the highest honor a vendor can receive. The award comes with an actual bronze statue of the original founder of the Høstfest, “Chester” Chester (Chet) Reiten, and a cash award.

Hometown Pies is located in the Green River Foods manufacturing space of the City Plaza in Devils Lake. Currently they are without a retail outlet but if their experience at the Høstfest is any indication, it doesn’t stop them from providing delicious homemade treats.

Unique to the Høstfest their delicious apple pies were enhanced with lingonberries - a known scandinavian favorite.

About the Høstfest

Norsk Høstfest is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises funds to preserve, improve and share Scandinavian culture, heritage and educational programs. Program focus areas include Høstfest in the Schools, Scandinavian Youth Camp, the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame, Skien-Minot sister city relationship and Norsk Høstfest, itself. The festival also crowns a Miss Norsk Høstfest annually and holds trips to Denbigh, ND, for the annual wreath-laying ceremony honoring Sondre Norheim.

Norsk Høstfest is held annually in the fall in the N.D. State Fair Center on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds in Minot, N.D., USA. The festival was founded in 1978 by the late Chester Reiten and a group of friends who shared his interest in celebrating their Nordic heritage. The festival, now entering into its 40th year, has grown into North America’s largest Scandinavian festival with tens of thousands of people attending from all over the world.

The festival features world-class entertainment, authentic Scandinavian cuisine, Scandinavian culture on display, handcrafted Norsk merchandise, plus a fine dining establishment lead by guest chefs.

Norsk Høstfest celebrates Scandinavian culture and heritage of the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.  Each nation is represented in one of the halls in which the festival takes place, and each named after their country's capital city.  The individual styles of each country's entertainment, food, clothes, art, and jewelry can be found throughout Norsk Høstfest and also in the Scandinavian Heritage Park, the only park in the world representing all five Nordic countries; Denmark,    Finland,    Iceland,    Norway and Sweden.

While the festival has grown to become the largest Scandinavian festival in North American, there are other entities in Minot, ND, that have sprouted from the same interest of preserving heritage and celebrating Nordic culture. Among those organizations that have been cultivated through the joint interest in the Scandinavian culture are the Scandinavian Heritage Association, Høstfest-Heritage Foundation and the Telemark Trade Office.