The Hungarian Heritage Foundation of the San Francisco Bay area organised this year’s Hungarian festival in Belmont, California. The foundation works to preserve, promote and share Hungarian culture, language and art in the United States of America.
Many Hungarians are living in the San Francisco Bay area, who treasure their heritage. There are Hungarian schools to teach language and culture in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, Hungarian Scouts programs, a Hungarian Reformed Church in Redwood City, a Hungarian Folk Ensemble in San Mateo, a Hungarian chorus that rehearses in Oakland…
It must not come as a surprise, that where there are this many Hungarians, they like to come together from time to time, show us what they have been working on all year, have some delicious Hungarian foods, meet others who live in this area and also, they like to have some fun together.
This year’s Hungarian festival was held on May 12 in the city of Belmont, halfway between San Francisco and San Jose. The event took place in Twin Pines Park, there was a main stage outside, but some programmes were held indoors in the Manor or the Senior Centre.
The event started at noon, and from that point on there was almost always a performance to watch on the stage. We had Hungarian folk dance ensembles from San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles, folk and contemporary music bands, a chamber chorus from Oakland and two Hungarian scout troops from Portola Valley performing on stage.
Eszterlánc Hungarian Folk Ensemble. Photo: Daily News Hungary
The organisers also made sure to offer kid-friendly activities: the puppet show was a huge success, rows of children watched in complete silence the story of The 3 Little Pigs in Hungarian. There was also story-time with Hungarian legends and myths read in English. The playground was also close by; there was a colouring station set up and felting and bobbin lace workshops led by Éva Gergely lace maker and designer.
Besides watching singers and dancers perform on stage, there is one other thing that every festival must have: food. Living so far away from home means that not all of us have the possibility to eat traditional Hungarian dishes very often. Which might have been the reason why every other visitor was walking around with a plate of lángos (fried flat bread) or some kürtős kalács (chimney cake). There were other dessert items, biscuits and cakes like Dobos cake, Zserbó and Napoleans (krémes) just to name a few.
In case you wanted to have lunch or dinner at the festival, there were a few options, like goulash soup, Hungarian sausage, pork steak, stuffed cabbage, chicken paprikash and mushroom pörkölt.
Other things that you could buy at the festival included Hungarian-inspired T-shirts and accessories from Magyar Apparel, leather bags from Panna Kovács, jewellery from Jolanda Pernyeszi and polymer clay cutlery and jewellery from Chilla Art Design.
Watch one of the main attractions below: Hungarian Wedding Traditions performed at the festival.
After a whole day of watching dancers and singers on stage, visitors had the opportunity to practice their own dancing skills at the Folkdance Party with singing and dancing circles. Professional folk dancers from several ensembles were happy to teach some moves to those who were interested.