MINOT – If the information is wrong just point a finger at the other person. Nobody will know anyway. You can do that when you are identical twins.
Bernie Sand and Betty Skari are identical twin sisters that have been greeting visitors to the Norsk Hostfest for a dozen years, much to the delight of Duane Brekke. Brekke has been organizing the official greeters or, according to the over-sized badges they wear, the “Know it alls,” since the early days of the 44-year event.
“Over the years we’ve had some fabulous greeters, but these girls really do a good job,” praised Brekke.
The smiling sisters grew up in Midway, eventually moved to New Town and 13 years ago made the move to Minot. They had visited the Hostefest in previous years and decided to get involved. That’s when they became greeters, meeting visitors at the door and on tour buses entering the Hostfest grounds.
“One time we were on a bus with all Norwegian people on there,” recalled Skari. “They sang Happy Birthday to us, and it wasn’t our birthday.”
“They sang in Norwegian too,” laughed Sand.
Brekke, who maintains he has attended Hostfest every day since its beginning, encouraged the singing by telling those on the bus that it was indeed the twins’ birthday.
“We have a good time and that’s the face we want to put on for all of our guests,” explained Brekke. “We introduce the Hostfest with laughter.”
“It’s fun. I like it. We meet a lot of nice people, even Duane,” said Sand with a broad smile. “The first year was terrible because, for one thing, we’re not Norwegian and I didn’t come here enough to know where things were, and we were the “Know it alls.”
Skari, laughing at the memory, reminded her twin that, “You get to meet a lot of nice people.”
Brekke said having such wonderful, happy greeters is important to the welcoming atmosphere of the Hostfest, calling the twin sister volunteers “flamboyant” and stated there are numerous Hostfest regulars, near and far, that seek out the twins to share a laugh and say hello.
“It’s the fun part of the Hostfest. We welcome the people,” said Brekke.
This year’s Hostfest, billed as North America’s largest Scandinavian festival, is scheduled to run September 27-30 at the State Fair Center.