Hoeven Honors Scandinavian-American Hall-Of-Famer Chester Reiten

MINOT, N.D. – As honorary chairman of the nomination effort, Senator John Hoeven today inducted Minot businessman and philanthropist Chester Reiten into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame at the annual Norsk Høstfest awards banquet. He cited Reiten’s “boundless energy and unflinching vision” in championing North Dakota’s Scandinavian heritage.

“Chet and his wife and lifelong partner Joy have ensured that the Scandinavian culture and traditions would be preserved and celebrated by the descendants of the North Dakota pioneers who made this region their homeland more than a century ago,” Hoeven said.

As the founder of the Norsk Høstfest and the President of the Norsk Høstfest Association, Reiten has made an enormous contribution to the celebration of North Dakota’s Scandinavian heritage. Today, the festival draws thousands of people from around the world to celebrate Scandinavian culture with food, artisans and entertainment.

“People have wanted to add Chet to the Hall of Fame for years, but every year he’s humbly resisted. We’re glad we were able give him the honor he deserves – not only for his deep love for his Scandinavian heritage, but also for his abiding commitment to serving the Minot community,” Hoeven said.

Born in 1923 in Hastings, N.D., Reiten served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in Agriculture. After working in Jamestown as a county agent, Reiten began a successful career in television and radio management. He eventually owned four television stations and three radio stations in North Dakota. Reiten also served 16 years as a state senator, and 14 years as mayor of Minot, where he led recovery efforts after the city’s historic 1969 Mouse River flood, which was only surpassed by flooding this past spring.

An active community leader, Reiten is the recipient of numerous honors for his local, state and international contributions, including the North Dakota Rough Rider Award and the St. Olav Medal, which he received from the King of Norway for his work on Norwegian-American relations.

            “The people of North Dakota are grateful for Chet’s generosity to the state, and especially Minot,” Hoeven said. “Chet’s entrepreneurial vision, civic pride and cultural enthusiasm have yielded extraordinary results. Not least of these is Høstfest, which brings together people from all over the state, country, and world to share their talents, stories and lives. It’s what community is about, and we’re all grateful Chet has made it happen. He is tremendously deserving of being named in the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame.”