Top: János Bagyinka with outdoor oven he built; Middle: Palacsinta table; Terry French announces winners; Erna Virág offers kürtőskalács. Bottom: 2nd prize winner Tibor Breczo; 3rd prize winner Ferenc Gubicza w. István Vass.
No amount of rain could dampen the spirits of those who participated in the Calvin United Church of Christ’s Second Annual Gulyás Festival in Fairfield on June 17th. The eight competing teams, including the Church’s own, tended their bogrács with great care, some under an umbrella.
The festivities were heightened by the presence of Terry French, Extreme Chef of the TV Food Network, who announced the winners. First prize of $200, for energy and inspiration, went to Ferenc Szalay (from Stratford) and Erzsébet Delia (from Norwalk). Second prize of $100 went to Tibor Breczo, a plumber from Queens, NY who works in Connecticut and appropriately wore a csikós outfit with a round hat. Third prize of $50 was awarded to Ferenc Gubicza of Queens, of the Hungarian Meat Market next door.
The prizes were donated by the Rev. Tibor Király of Calvin United Church of Christ.
A special prize was awarded to Gabriella Tuboly by Terry French, for having participated in the contest all by herself, starting the fire and cooking her entry solo, without any help from a team member.
The bread offered with each sampling of gulyás was baked in the outdoor oven designed and recently built by Presbyter János Bagyinka. Its wrought iron door had been forged by Presbyter Sándor Magyar. So popular was the bread baked by Presbyters Anikó Soltész and János Bagyinka that it soon disappeared.
Honoring the Festival with his presence was Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau with his fiancée.
Representatives of the New York Hungarian book store attended, and István and Ildikó Vass sold kolbász, cracklings (töpörtyü) and bacon. At a separate table one could buy lángos, palacsinta and kürtőskalács as well as rétes and beigli.. Gift items were also available, and the bar inside the hall did a brisk business with soft drinks and wine.
Music for the day and for the Hat Party was provided by Zsolt Pető, and Tünde Sándor sang folksongs.
It was a special treat to have several young folk dancers from New Brunswick – led by István Kosbor and Melinda Török – show their mettle.
The festivities ended with a ”Hat Party” in the hall, to which only those – both men and women – who wore some head covering were admitted.
An event such as this could not happen without the generous assistance of many volunteers who worked to set up (and clean up!) and made sure that the festival ran smoothly. They all deserve our gratitude. Chief organizer was Presbyter Anikó Soltész, directed by Erika Urszényi. Thanks to all who made the event so enjoyable! We’re already looking forward to next year!
viola vonfi very much enjoys such events and writes from Stamford.