The 34th Annual Birmingham Ethnic Festival – a “Sunday in the Old Country,” will be held Aug. 17 on the streets of the old Hungarian neighborhood in East Toledo.
The festival will be held from noon to 10 p.m. on Consaul Street in the middle of East Toledo’s Birmingham neighborhood.
Pre-festival events will include the 13th Annual Waiter’s Race Saturday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. on Consaul Street. In the European tradition, teams of wait staff from neighborhood taverns and non-profit organizations will compete in a relay race. The 2008 contestants include Tony Packo’s Restaurant, VFW 4906, Rumpus Room/East Side Raiders, Ironworkers, Waite Coaches and the Hungarian Club.
Guests can enjoy a celebration of Hungarian folk dance and music at Foklor Tanchaz from 5 to 11 p.m. at Calvin Church’s parking lot. The Gyanta Band will perform Hungarian folk dance and music. Hungarian foods, including gulyas soup and palacsinta (Hungarian crepes) and a beer garden will round out the evening. VFW Post 4906 will be having a fish fry on Friday.
The kickoff for the festival begins with Opening Ceremonies at noon on the steps of St. Stephen’s Church, followed by a parade down the Festival Mall.
On Sunday, visitors can choose from a huge variety of foods. St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, the Hungarian Club of Toledo and Calvin United Church of Christ will feature their famous chicken paprikas, kaposta galuska and kolbasz dinners along with Hungarian pastries, paprikas noodles and gravy, kolbasz sandwiches, stuffed cabbages and szalonna sütes.
VFW Post 4906 will serve shish kabob, pigs-in-a-blanket, bratwurst, corn on the cob and szalonna sütes. Patrons can also choose from street vendor fare including potato pancakes, pierogis, chicken and Greek sausage pitas, curly fries, grilled chicken, barbecue chicken & ribs, cotton candy, pizza, and gelato ice cream.
Entertainment will be available throughout the festival and includes the Szikra Citera Egyuttes, Cspike Children’s Group, Holzhackers Buam Group, Rumblin Rythem Cloggers and the Csaladi Ensemble. Special musical guests include the Gyanta Band, which features seven musicians and dancers from Montreal and Toronto.
Along with enjoying the live entertainment, festival guests can shop for imported Hungarian embroidery and other ethnic items offered by Magyar Marketing. An arts and crafts area featuring many crafters will include Hungarian dolls and bears, quilted handbags, soy candles, jewelry, sand art, ceramics, paintings, shirts, silk floral arrangements, wall hangings, hand-blown glass and more.
The 34th annual Friends of the Birmingham Community Award is being bestowed upon Micky Gaetzke, coach of the Hungarian Soccer Team. The award is given annually to an individual, organization or corporation that has provided exemplary support to the Birmingham community.
This year’s Birmingham Ethnic Festival is being dedicated to the Hungarian Soccer Teams. Program books containing information about festival events, sponsors and organizations are available at all Andersons and Kroger stores.
Sponsors of this year’s festival include title sponsors St. Charles Mercy Hospital, Budweiser and the William Penn Association.
Admission is free. Street parking is available on the perimeter of the neighborhood bounded by Front, York and Wheeling streets. Handicapped parking is available in the lot behind the fire station at Consaul and Front streets.
For more information, visit Web site at www.birminghamethnicfestival.org