Festival of Nations

The Festival of Nations is the largest and longest running multicultural festival in Minnesota, celebrating cultural diversity with food, music, demonstrations, exhibits and dance.

80th Anniversary May 3-6, 2012

Saint Paul RiverCentre, Saint Paul, MN

Taking pride in the richness of diverse cultures in our community the participating nationalities with 90 ethnic groups presented their delectable foods, brilliant folk dancing, fascinating cultural exhibits, folk art demonstrations and an international shopping bazaar.

Official website of the Festival of Nations

 The Festival of Nations events in Saint Paul, Minnesota

by Agnes Fulop-Sylvester

The yearly events of the Festival of Nations (begun in 1932) are Minnesota largest ethnic celebrations. Today more than 100 different ethnic groups are participating in an exciting four-day intercultural adventure organized by the International Institute of Minnesota. Every year about 90,000+ persons (students and visitors) from several states come to celebrate and learn about America's roots by catching the excitement of colorfully costumed folk dancers, exploring fascinating cultural exhibits,  seeing ethnic artisans demonstrate skills handed down for generations. They enjoy sumptuous taste treats at cafes featuring more than 225 ethnic foods and have exceptional desserts. More fun to shop at the Festival's busting bazaar. 

The spirits helps spending as thousands of ethnic volunteers work together at the Festival, proudly sharing their traditions with the visitors. The Minnesota Hungarians have been participating in the Festival of Nations events for at least 60 years. At the beginning the Festival events were organized in every third and later every second years. Because of the interest for this spectacular events was increasing the

Festival of Nations became a yearly happenings. At this time the exhibits were a nicely arranged but mixed display of different kind of Hungarian folk arts displayed in the Hungarian Kitchen booth. The menu offered the famous goulash and bakery’s specialties.
 
Our archive records are showing that, the Hungarian community in
Minnesota participated in the Festival of Nations events since 1949.
The early organizers and participants were: Dr. Géza Kertész, Dorothy Livány, Julia Preda, Maria Domonkos, Maria Faludi.
From 1960’s:  Denes and Berta Mathe, Denes and Eva Csathy, Arpad, Katalin and Marika Gallo, Lorand Andahazy, Dr. Robert Fisch, Kalman and Ilona Govrik, Rezsoe and Margaret Gracza, Tibor and Olga Zoltai, Arpad and Ilona Rumy, Laszlo and Hilda Szendrey, Andras and Karola Toth, Fr.Turmezei, George Preda, Ilona Fozo, George Kurilla and  his wife, Susanne Horvath, Margaret Rupprecht, Eva Mandics, Edit Kosa, Laszlo G.
Fulop, Imre and Elizabeth Vida, Mrs.Charles Dudas, Laszlo Noe, John and Ilona Barsness, later Paul and Magdolna Fulop.
from the 1980’s: Ilona Gardil, Kornelia Suveges-Prach, Miklos Mazanyi, Edit and Lajos Horvath, Emma Szabo,  Erika and Orsolya Szabo, Anna Nemeth and her family Rozy Nemeth, Erzsi Nemeth-Braynt, Rachel Braynt, Teri Nemeth-Gunderson, Oliver and Sheryl Papp; Lajos and Marika Miho, George, Barbara and Katie Bor, Csilla and Andras
Grauzer, Jolanda Grauzer-Szekely, Kitty Gogins, Paul G. Fulop, Marika Kerkay, Angela Fulop-Farris, Zsuzsa Fulop-Larson, Daniel Biro, Maria Bales, Vincze Zsolt, Zsoltika, Dimitri, Marika-Kubanyi-Vincze, Attila and Ibolya Konkoly and many more who helped at the Hungarian kitchen, exhibit and demonstration.
 
During the Festival’s four-day long events we set up our Kitchen, Cultural Exhibit and Demonstration’s booth.
 
In the past 20 years the Cultural Exhibits had been accommodated a variety of given themes assigned by the International Institute as main organizer) setting the direction of the exhibit.
 
As designers and organizers preparing the exhibiting materials and set up the "Hungarian Exhibit” booth Agnes and Laszlo Fulop, (1990-2005), Denes and Mari Saari, with Marta Nemesi (1996), Tibor Gallo and Sandor Gallo(2006-2008), the Fulops and Attila Szabo (2009) voluntarily worked together with a large number of helping members of our group, creating and set up an informative, spectacular and interesting exhibit. At the four days of these worthy happenings well prepared attendants have been willing to share our traditions and teach the visitors about the Hungarian culture.
 
Our Café (kitchen) organizing by Rozy Nemeth, working with her family Anna Nemeth, Erzsi Nemeth, Rachel Bryant and others and a large number of skillful MH members-staff has been one of the constantly visited kitchens of the event, offering specialties on the “Hungarian Menu”. The famous Goulash (soup & stew version with homemade noodle) and pickles have been the most popular dishes through the years, with mushroom stew for vegetarians, Dobos torte and Rigo Jancsi desserts.
 
Betty Bodnar Belanger as a Demonstrator for many years has been teaching and showing how to do the best of the Hungarian embroideries.
 
For years, as part of the events, two Chess-Masters, Laszlo Ficsor and Eugene Kerkay have been playing simultaneously with challengers.
 
There is an ethnic Hungarian dance group in the Twin Cities named  "Vidéki Dancers" founded and lead by Dennis Fritz. They are performing various dances from Hungary and Transylvania not only at the Festival events but for other invitations as well. 
Participating in the Fashion Show our group introduced beautiful folk dresses of Kalocsa, Matyo and Kalotaszeg.
 
Participating in these remarkable events, we are proud to keep the name Hungarian among the other ethnic groups in Minnesota. Our organization is grateful for the opportunities to present, share and teach others about the Hungarian culture, especially our folk art and history.
 
April, 2009.
 

 

(photo: Festival of Nations 2005)
 
 
Photogalleries:

Festival of Nations 2008

 

Themes:

2014: Peace among the people

2013: Children - our present and future

2012: Ethnic celebrations and events

2011: Marketplaces of the World

2010: Folklor - Heros and Legends

2009: Transportation and Innovation

2008: Architecture

For more information visit the following website: www.festivalofnations.com