Festival of Nations 2011

by Agnes M Fulop
 
The events of the Festival of Nations’ took place between May 5 and 8 in 2011, at the River Center in Saint Paul, MN. This significant and outstanding experience has been presented and organized by the International Institute of Minnesota since 1932. This year was the 79th Anniversary of the Festival and was celebrated by 94 participating ethnic groups of Minnesota.
 
”Marketplaces of the World” was the theme for this year’s festival. The festive and fun atmosphere year after year helps building friendship among the ethnic groups, to learn, accept and appreciate the richness and values of each others’ culture. Voluntarily working together for years all the participants of the ethnic groups are committed and devoted to broaden the colorful mosaic of Minnesota’s life. We all are contributing to build the future together.
 
This year there were 54 Cultural Exhibits, 33 Folk Art Demonstrators to show and teach about their culture and skills. 52 International Bazaars were selling ethnic products, 36 Ethnic Cafés (Kitchens) offered great varieties of their food specialties. 62 ethnic groups: dancers, musicians performed on stage, also language courses and other educational and entertaining programs were available for the visitors.

The Hungarian Café lead by Rozy Nemeth had offered Stewed Beef over Dumplings, Hungarian Goulash Served with bread and Sautéed Mushrooms w/Paprika over Dumplings, Pickles, Dobos Tort, Chocolate Cream Torte (Rigó Jancsi), Coffee, Milk. They had many visitors to try and enjoy the Hungarian cooking. Volunteers were: the Nemeth family, Anna, Erzsi, Teri, Rachel Bryan, also Paul Fulop, Attila Csiki and his wife and others.

The Cultural Exhibit (prepared by Agnes and Laszlo Fulop) was designed to show and inform the visitors about the given theme, Marketplaces of the World and how that relates to Hungary. The exhibit that Tibor Gallo, (the Chair of the Hungarian festival volunteer group) helped to set up, colorfully displayed the history and development of the markets and trades, market places in Hungary, highlighting the Central Market Hall in Budapest. The exhibit also showed information about our natural resources, agricultural produces and manufactured products. Our information-handout with colored pictures described and illustrated the history of Hungary and its markets. Volunteers were: Maria Bales, Barbara & Katie Bor, Judit Church, Viktor Frisch, Tibor & Kathy Gallo, Attila, Bela & Akos Konkoly, Katalin Kovacs, Eva Sandor, Tamas Szinyei, Timea Takacs, Zsolt Vincze, Maria Vincze-Kubanyi, Anna Williams, Olga & Lili Zoltai.

 
  

All volunteers who helped in the exhibit booth made a special effort to talk with the visitors inviting them to exchange thoughts and views about Hungary, our culture and the history of markets and trade. We all tried to teach especially the thousands of high school students who visited the Festival for two days from schools of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa and sometimes from other neighboring states.
 

The Videki Dancers and singers were cheered by viewers, performing daily during the 4 days events.
 
This year the Hungarian chess master Laszlo Ficsor was not able to participate in the Festival and was missed by many visitors. Also our demonstrator, the talented Betty Belanger-Bodnar broke her right wrist just days before the Festival events took place. Her beautiful Kalocsa and Matyo embroideries and her teaching skills were greatly missed. We wish her speedy and full recovery.
 
Festival of Nations 2011 Photogallery
 
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The leadership of the Minnesota Hungarians expressed their appreciations and thanked all volunteers.

Dear Festival of Nations Volunteers,

I would like to thank all of you for your time commitment and contribution to this year's Festival of Nations. Once again, with your continued participation, support and talent we were able to showcase our rich culture and heritage.
Your hard work is much appreciated. Thank you again.
Sincerely,

Csilla Grauzer, President, Minnesota Hungarians