Ohio’s largest Hungarian festival returned on September 5, 2021 at the German Central Park in Parma, Ohio.
Festivities included delicious food, live musical entertainment, colorful authentic folk costumes, folk dance lessons and more. This was the 65th annual Hungarian Festival, presented by the American Hungarian Friends of Scouting,
Cleveland's Hungarian community was well-represented at the 75th One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens on August 29, 2021. They marched in the Parade of Flags and hosted music, food and cultural activities in the Budapest Cafe in the beautiful Hungarian Cultural Garden.
Despite a sudden and driving rain storm, a new addition was dedicated in the lower level (MLK Blvd.) of the Hungarian Cultural Garden on Sunday June 27, 2021. It is called Wings of Peace (A Beke Szarnya) and features a young girl releasing a dove to the sky. The new statue was commissioned by Marta Kirsch and Elisabeth Allison to honor their father Emery Kovacs Smith who emigrated to the US in 1923.
Artist Ken Roby and the Wings of Peace statue
Zsolt Pava, Diplomat for the Hungarian Communities Abroad, Chicago spoke representing the Government of Hungary and then Gyongyi Gratzl read a poem in Hungarian called Domokos Day by Janos Arany (1817-1882).
Brigadier General László Szego at Cleveland Hungarian Museum
On May 29, 2021, the Hungarian Museum was visited by Brigadier General László Szego, defense attache from the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, his wife Timea Szego, Consul General Tamás Kovács, and arriving diplomat Zsolt Páva, both from Chicago, who were in town for the Memorial Day bilingual commemoration at Sunset Memorial Gardens in North Olmsted.
The Cleveland and broader Hungarian and ethnic communities were deeply saddened to learn that László Bojtös, Honorary Consul General of Hungary, former Coalition Chairman and Board member, founding member of the Hungarian Communion of Friends (MBK), outstanding architect passed away on February 23, 2021. He was 89 years old.
Laszlo Bojtos at Hungarian Cultural Garden 75th anniversary
Cleveland International Hall of Fame inductee Jeanette Grasselli Brown says, "Christmas season brings back memories of my mom baking nut and poppy seed rolls, plus endless cookies. My dad's specialty was cooking pig's feet and putting the pot on the back porch in the cold overnight to set into a clear, amber jell-like consistency which was delicious.
Christmas eve dinner was always mushroom soup (which I didn't like but had to eat or "Santa would not come"!).
My parents decorated the Christmas tree on Christmas eve after my brother and I went to sleep, and I heard years later - with plenty of home-made Palinka to assist. The tree was decorated with candy wrapped in paper (which my brother and I helped to prepare for weeks before) AND with real candles along with ornaments. On Christmas day when tree was lit - it was magical (and happily, always safe).
On Dec 26 our family went to visit relatives and close friends - enjoying food and wine with each until we were totally stuffed!
Cleveland's newest Hungarian monument to St. Stephen, the first King of Hungary, is a cornerstone saved from the recently demolished St. Stephen Hungarian Church in McKeesport, Pennsylvania (1900-2020). The cornerstone was brought to the historic St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church at 9016 Buckeye Road in Cleveland Ohio which was established on June 4, 1893.
In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson shows map of a city that is really 2 cities, Buda and Pest, split by the famous Danube River but joined together as Budapest, Hungary. Budapest is one of the most visited cities in the world and is a hub of music, culture, architecture, education and so on. It's history - Turkish occupation, Austria-Hungary, Lajos Kossuth, Revolution of 1956 - all were influenced by the map. From the spas and baths to the bridges, the musical influence (Liszt, Bartok, etc.) to other notable citizens (Houdini, Rubik, etc.) Budapest is a fascinating city.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation hosted the 74th annual One World Day on August 25, 2019. Police estimates say that over 30,000 people visited the Gardens and attended One World Day. There was a lot of activity in the beautiful and historic Hungarian Cultural Garden.
The Children's Choir of Pecs Hungary visited the Hungarian Cultural Garden in Cleveland Ohio. They were welcomed by local Hungarian Garden leaders such as Ernie Mihaly, Carolyn and Jim Balogh, Elizabeth Taylor and others. They toured the Garden and then posed for a photo. The Choir then sang two songs.
Hungarian Cultural Garden in Cleveland - Upper level tour with Ernie Mihaly
The Hungarian Cultural Garden is one of about 30 ethnic gardens in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. It was established in the 1930's, went through some down years and was revitalized in the last 10-15 years. Ernie Mihaly was at the original dedication in 1938 and has maintained the Garden for years.
In July 2019, Ernie took us on a tour of the upper half (East Blvd.) of the Hungarian Cultural Garden, which includes the Franz Liszt plaque, before a concert by a choir visiting from Hungary. Carolyn Balogh, current president of the Hungarian Cultural Garden, added some information as well.
Click on the white arrow to watch the video.
Liszt Concert in the Hungarian Cultural Garden
Each year the Hungarian Cultural Garden puts on a free performance featuring the music of Franz Liszt for the community. The last several years the talented students and teachers from the Aurora School of Music led by founder and director Vera Holczer-Waroquet, have performed.
Carina Vincenti performing accompanued by Vera Holczer
A special announcement was made at the end of the Liszt concert program. Endre Szentkiralyi, president of the United Hungarian Societies, announced that starting in 2020 the Hungarian government will pay for 4 years of a Hungarian professor to teach at Cleveland State University.
Endre Szentkiralyi making announcement
Consul General Zita Bencsik, CSU Dean and Endre Szentkiralyi
Richard Fleischman inducted into Cleveland International Hall of Fame
Richard Fleischman is a world-renowned architect and active member of the Hungarian community.
On April 16, 2019 Richard Fleischman was inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame by his fellow Hungarian community leader Ernie Mihaly.
Ernie Mihaly inducts Richard Fleischman
Richard Fleischman gives his acceptance speech
Watch the video of Richard Fleischman being inducted and his speech.
Dr. Laszlo Szabo, Ambassador of the Government of Hungary, in Cleveland
Alex Kezdi reports that Hungary's ambassador Dr. László Szabo and his wife Dr. Ivonn Szeverény visited the Cleveland Hungarian Museum on Sunday November 25, 2018 after attending the Hungarian Association’s annual Congress.
Dr. Ivonn Szeverény, Ambassador Dr. László Szabo and Alex Kezdi
Ambassador Dr. László Szabo and his wife Dr. Ivonn Szeverény with Alex Kezdi and Chief Consul of Hungary (Chicago), Dr. Zita Bencsik
Clevelandi Cserkész Regös Csoport The Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble's 45th anniversary Gala Performance
The whirling of brightly colored and embroidered costumes, foot-stomping rhythms, enchanting melodies, and intricate harmonies captivated the audience at the Cleveland Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble's 45th anniversary Gala Performance, “From the Cradle to the Grave”. The Ensemble showcased the living traditions practiced as a part of everyday life in the Cleveland Hungarian community on Saturday, November
10, 2018 at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium.
A celebration that occurs only once every five years, the program featured the Ensemble performing to live music by the combined members of Kalman Magyar’s band Gyanta from Toronto and Cleveland's own Harmonia with Walter Mahovlich. Additionally, past and future members joined the current Ensemble in some of the dances.
This spectacular evening of song, dance, and music from the Hungarian homeland was a testament not only to the richness of the Hungarian culture but also to the Hungarian youth of Cleveland who are preserving
the customs and traditions of their ancestors.
The Ensemble, a group within the Hungarian scout troops of Cleveland, was organized in 1973 by Andrew and Mary Temesvary to study and teach Hungarian culture to its youth. The aim of the group is to preserve dying folk arts of the Hungarians living in the Carpathian basin, to search out the arts, make them their own, and present them to their viewing audiences. Folk dance, folk music, folk songs, folk costumes, folk art forms, ballads, instruments, and customs are areas explored in depth.
Girl's Circle Dance
The scout troops are the sole source of membership for the Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble co-directed by Mathias Tabor and Andrea Nadas. All members must be at least 14 years old, be capable of reading, writing,and speaking fluent Hungarian and also be active in their own troop's activities. Disciplined hard work is the main entrée of the group. The Ensemble dances, makes their own costumes, sings as a choir, hand-paints eggs for Easter, and celebrates other holidays with traditional Hungarian customs, many of which will be showcased in the performance. Research, woodcarving, painting, and many dance performances during the year round out highly active and rewarding experiences for each member.
Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble
The Ensemble has performed in many places including Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ontario, Quebec, Washington, D.C., Hungary and Transylvania, as well as appearing locally at Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Canton Civic Center, Akron's E.J. Thomas Hall, Cleveland's Palace Theater, Blossom Music Center, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Audiences have included many dignitaries, such as mayors, governors, ambassadors, President Ronald Reagan, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. During the summers of 2001, 2011, and 2016 the Ensemble toured northern Hungary and Hungarian minority areas of Transylvania, the Ukraine, Slovakia, and Serbia to perform ethnographic research and for the members to see folk culture firsthand in the villages.
Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble and Hungarian community at International Cleveland Community Day
International Cleveland Community Day at the Cleveland Museum of Art is a celebration of the rich diversity of our region’s multiethnic communities, featuring traditional music and dance performances, cultural displays, and ingallery experiences. The Hungarian community was well represented with a display table, banner and performance by the Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble.
Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble at Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation (CCGF) hosted the 73rd annual One World Day on September 16, 2018. A highlight is the Parade of Flags where people in costumes of their heritage carry the flags. The Hungarian Garden was well-represented in the Parade.
The Hungarian Cultural Garden was formally dedicated in 1938 making 2018 the 80th anniversary of the Garden. The Hungarian Cultural Garden is one of about 30 ethnic gardens in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. The Hungarian community and friends gathered in the Garden on June 24 for a look back and a look forward.
Several people who were at the 1938 dedication were also on hand for the 80th celebration.
Violet Sarosi, Richard Fleischman, Jenny Brown, Ted Horvath and Frank Dodish were present at the 1938 dedication and 80th anniversary
Franz Liszt Concert in the Hungarian Cultural Garden
After the 80th anniversary program including singing of the Himnusz, a retrospective on the Garden and introduction of dignitaries and people present at the 1938 dedication, Hungarian Cultural Garden president Carolyn Balogh turned the program over to Vera Holczer, founder and president of the Aurora School of Music, for a concert.
Students and faculty from the Aurora School of Music performed works by Liszt, Brahms, Bartok, Debussy and more.
Vera Holczer and Ruth Desiree Logan piano duet of Brahm's Hungarian Dances Nmbr 5
1897 Hungarian Cimbalom at Cleveland One World Day
Andrew Check II performed on an antique cimbalom from 1897 in the Hungarian Cultural Garden on One World Day in Cleveland Ohio. He explained the antique instrument and suggested that Hungarian music is getting lost.
Reformed School Choir of Pecs, Hungary in the Hungarian Cultural Garden
The Reformed School Choir of Pecs, Hungary travels in various parts of Hungary and to Hungarians living in the diaspora throughout the year. This is the first time that they performed in North America
The Choir gave a beautiful performance with selections in Hungarian and English at the First Hungarian Reformed Church in Walton Hills in the evening. In the morning they toured the Hungarian Cultural Garden.
Reformed School Choir of Pecs, Hungary perform in Hungarian Cultural Garden
Liszt (and Bartok) Concert in the Hungarian Cultural Garden
The Hungarian Cultural Garden in Cleveland hosted the annual Liszt Concert in the Garden on Sunday June 25, 2017. It featured talented musicians from the Aurora School of Music led by Founder and Director Vera Holczer-Waroquet.
60th anniversary of 1956 Hungarian Revolution - Cardinal MIndszenty Plaza
The commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight of 1956 continued in Cleveland on Sunday October 23, 2016. A memorial program was held at Cardinal Mindszenty Plaza in Cleveland which features both a statue of Cardinal Mindszenty and the Hungarian Freedom Fighter.
Hungarian 1956ers at Freedom Fighter statue:
Imre (Jim) Balogh, Edith Lauer, Steve Kekedy, Thomas Ratoni-Nagy, Ilona Balassy
60th anniversary of 1956 Hungarian Revolution - Cleveland City Hall
At one time (maybe still) there were more Hungarians in Cleveland than anywhere in the world outside of Budapest. Many Hungarians came here in 1956 because of the Fight for Freedom against the Soviet Union in Hungary. On October 20, 2016 the Hungarian community, including many 56ers, gathered at Cleveland City Hall to remember the 1956 Revolution. The Hungarian Flag flew over City Hall and a large Hungarian flag with the Communist symbol blanked out, hung in the Rotunda.
The Hungarian Cultural Garden in Cleveland hosted the annual Liszt Concert in the Garden on Sunday June 26, 2016. It featured talented musicians from the Aurora School of Music led by Founder and Director Vera Holczer-Waroquet.
Carolyn Balogh, Vera Holczer and Ernie Mihaly at the Liszt Concert
Hungarian Scouts Czardas Dance at Cleveland Museum of Art
The Hungarian Scouts Folk Ensemble performed at the Cleveland Museum of Art's International Cleveland Community Day in the Atrium of the museum. They performed in traditional costumes and danced a Marche and then a Czardas couple's dance.
Ernie Mihaly has been a tireless volunteer and caretaker of the Hungarian Cultural Garden in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens for many decades. He was honored for his service at One World Day 2015 and introduced by Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation Vice-President Rich Crepage
Hungarian Man's Costume
Ken Kovach from Cleveland's Hungarian community explained the Hungarian fashion he was wearing at the Cleveland Museum of Art's International Cleveland Community Day in the Atrium of the museum. The men's embroidered shirt is worn for village occasions as are the Fedora and Dancing boots.
Stay informed about the local Hungarian community by signing up for the free Cleveland Hungarian eNews mailings. You can select other groups as well. It's easy and free.
Ernie Mihaly was inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame on Monday May 12, 2014. The sold out (520 people and a waiting list) dinner ceremony was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott at Key Center. He was inducted by Richard Fleischman.
The Cleveland Hungarian Development Panel, in collaboration with the Great Lakes Science Center, hosted the 24th annual Paprika! event on March 1, 2014 at The Ritz Carlton Hotel. This year's theme was Diamonds of Science: The Brilliance of Hungarian Minds.
Sarolta B. Somogyi (nee Sarolta Bonaventura Varga), 92, was a Hungarian Association Board Member Since the 1950's and Responsible for Preparing Over 50 Books for Publication on Hungarian History, Culture and Language.
Sarolta B. Somogyi came to America at the end of 1950, having left Hungary 5 years earlier after World War II and after spending 5 years in primarily the British sector DP (displaced person) camp in Feffernitz, Austria, arriving in Cleveland, OH along with many others and joining a thriving Hungarian American community.
Along with her husband, the well-known and respected Prof. Dr. Ferenc Somogyi who died in 1995, they devoted their lives to perpetuating Hungarian cultural values and passing these on to younger generations.
Her most treasured pastime and precious moments were spent in assisting her husband in writing his books, which totaled 29 by the time he passed away. They were an inseparable team, complementing each other perfectly, and sharing the same values and interests in life. "They were truly soulmates," according their son, Lél Somogyi of Parma Heights, and daughter, Ildikó Grisanti of Olmsted Township.
After arriving in Cleveland, she was involved in the monthly publication of the "Vagyunk" (We Exist) news magazine from 1950 through 1956. After the birth of her two children, she and her husband became immersed in the work of the Hungarian Association, a worldwide cultural organization that still functions today putting on both scholarly and popular presentations related to Hungarian topics during its annual 3-day congress held Thanksgiving weekend (www.HungarianAssociation.com).
In her own right, she was a trailblazer, being one of the first woman board members of this organization, during a time when women had not yet come into their own in organizational involvement. Over the coming decades, she was heavily involved in editing, proofreading, typesetting and layout of the 50 annual books published by the Hungarian Association and its scholarly scientific, literary and artistic society, the Árpád Academy, chronicling the many and varied presentations of what became known in 1961 as the Hungarian Congress.
She also worked on the preparation and publication of other Hungarian and English language books by historians, writers and poets, helping to get them published.
Mrs. Somogyi was active in supporting a number of other Hungarian émigré affairs and in various Hungarian American organizations, including the Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society. She has been a Decorated Member of the Árpád Federation since 1972 and received awards from many other Hungarian American organizations as well.
Sarolta Bonaventura Varga was born in Budapest, Hungary on July 15, 1921. As a child she attended Catholic school, gaining a deep respect and devotion to religious teachings that shaped her views on later career choices. She attended the József Nádor University of Technical and Economic Sciences in Budapest, and later graduated from the Social Welfare Program of the University of Pécs, in southern Hungary. She began her career with the National Foundation for Folk and Family Protection, and served with the Social Welfare Superintendancy in Budapest and Pécs, extending assistance to families in need and with many children.
As a devout Catholic and proud parishioner of St. Emeric Roman Catholic Hungarian Church, she was heartbroken when the Cleveland Diocese closed the church a few years ago and elated when the Vatican intervened and required the Diocese to reopen the long suffering church, most recently saddened by the loss of it long-time pastor.
"She enjoyed gardening immensely, and even in her final years, and at her final residence at a nursing center, always insisted on surrounding herself with colorful live plants," noted her son Lél Somogyi. She was also an avid reader of Hungarian classics and loved poetry.
Sarolta died peacefully on September 3, 2013 at the age of 92 at Royal Oak in Middleburg Heights, OH.
Survivors include her son, Lél Ferenc (wife Mariana) and his son Ferenc Nicolae; her daughter Ildikó Julianna (husband Bruno) and her children Emese Julianna, Tika Lucia (husband Andrew), and Bruno Zoltán; Sister-in-law Ildikó Varga (husband István deceased) and her son István (wife Klári) and their daughter Anita in Hungary; along with many nieces and nephews in the extended family in Hungary; grandchildren Lehel, Hajnal, and Csaba; great-grandchildren Austin, Klatin, Kiera, Kamdin, Kyann and Destin Grisanti (Emese), and Sofia and Avery Krueger (Tika).
By Lél Somogyi
75th Anniversary of the Hungarian Cultural Garden - July 20,2013
Carolyn Balogh, President of the Hungarian Cultural Garden, read a proclamation from Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson at the 75th anniversary celebration of the Hungarian Cultural Garden in Cleveland. Mayor Jackson wrote of the contributions of the 113,000 Hungarian-Americans in the city and how there are more Hungarian in Cleveland than anywhere in the world outside of Hungary.
Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Museum new exhibit reception
July 26, 2013 at the Museum.
The Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Museum presents its new exhibit "From Broadway to Hollywood" - Hungarian songwriters in the early days of the Musical. The Opening Reception featured a presentation about the history of musicals by Dr. Mike Miller from Ohio Light Opera.
Andrew Lazar, Curator of the Hungarian Heritage Museum
The many different cultural performances were a highlight of the grand opening of the Ames Family Atrium in the Cleveland Museum of Art on Sunday October 28, 2012. This included a performance by the Cleveland Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble.
Cleveland Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble
Harmonia Opening of Ames Family Atrium in Cleveland Museum of Art October 28, 2012
The band Harmonia played at the grand opening of the Ames Family Atrium in the Cleveland Museum of Art on Sunday October 28, 2012.
Harmonia at Cleveland Art Museum Ames Atrium opening
Being scared by Russian tanks while waiting for bread in Hungary
Tom Ratoni-Nagy tells about when he was ten years old in Hungary and was waiting in line for bread when he was frightened by Russian tanks.
A highlight of the 2012 Ohio's Celtic and International Fest was the ClevelandPeople.Com International Pavilion which featured almost 20 different groups performing their culture's traditions in colorful native costumes. This included a rousing performance by the Csárdás Dance Company.
The Award was presented at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on the evening of Monday, January 30th.
Named for the acclaimed NCLC photographer who documented early-20th century exploitation of children, the LEWIS HINE AWARDS honor those individuals who, either as professionals or volunteers, give of themselves and go the extra mile for the well-being of young people. The recipients, who this year hail from as far away as Wyoming and as close as New York, are selected by a distinguished panel of judges from among hundreds of nominations submitted each year by business, community, and non-profit leaders.
Ted Horvath was honored for applying his passion for the arts and music to create a safe haven for low-income children and families.
Mr. Horvath, a retired lawyer, believes that the greatest charitable work is to help children raised in disadvantaged circumstances realize that with education and effort they can achieve the American dream.
The appreciation of music and the arts permeated the Horvath family. Mr. Horvath loves singing and was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus for 25 years. His late wife taught arts education in elementary school. His son composes music for film and TV in Los Angeles and produces records, and his daughter is a graduate student of museum studies. His late sister was the prima ballerina of the Brazilian National Theater in Rio de Janeiro.
Mr. Horvath oversaw the planning, financing, and creation of a brand-new building for Rainey Institute. Over $5.6 million was raised to build the new, modern, and larger facility that opened in January 2011. It now serves over 850 students with room to reach 1,300, and includes a state-of-the-art theater, dance studio, music studio, visual arts room, full service kitchen, and a large student gathering area named 'Ted's Place'ť in Mr. Horvath's honor. In 2010, the Cleveland Orchestra awarded Mr. Horvath its Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award, presented to him by the Mayor of Cleveland.
Maria R. Morris, Executive Vice President, MetLife, Inc. and Chair, 2012 Lewis Hine Awards and Ted Horvath
Joe Gyorky, President of American Hungarian Friends of Scouting in Cleveland Ohio, at the Hungarian Scouting Festival Labor Day weekend 2009. Joe told about Hungarian scouting and how it was banned by the communists. He also speaks about the closing of St Emeric Church.
The American Hungarian Friends of Scouting AHFS is the sponsoring organization of Cleveland's Hungarian scout troops. The nearly 300 Hungarian scouts in the Cleveland area learn all the traditional skills of scouting but also are familiarized with the history, customs and traditions of Hungary. It is a prerequisite for all members to speak Hungarian. Most also read and write in Hungarian. Cleveland's scout troops are members of the worldwide Hungarian Scout Association in Exteris (Latin for outside of) which consists of about 4,000 scouts in 70 troops in 12 countries. In 1945-46, young Hungarian scout leaders who fled Hungary after World War II formed the first troops outside the country in the refugee camps of Austria and Germany. Soon after, they formed troops in Australia, South America, Canada and the U.S.
Hungary became a Christian kingdom in A.D. 1000 and for many centuries served as a bulwark against Ottoman Turkish expansion in Europe. The kingdom eventually became part of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed during World War I.
The country fell under Communist rule following World War II. In 1956, a revolt and an announced withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact were met with a massive military intervention by Moscow.
Under the leadership of Janos Kadar in 1968, Hungary began liberalizing its economy, introducing so-called "Goulash Communism."
Hungary held its first multiparty elections in 1990 and initiated a free market economy. It joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.