Get ready to get your goulash grub on in Belmont! Find out what langos is and find out why almost everything is better with sour cream. On Saturday, May 12th at the First Annual Hungarian Heritage Festival, spend the day enmeshed in the diverse and colorful cuisine, arts and culture of Hungary. Hungarian traditions revolve around family, food, dance and music (sounds good, yes?) and this action-packed event is a great opportunity to nosh on some delectable home cooked delights while learning why the Charleston is a throwback to a folk dance. Bring an empty stomach and your dancing shoes and be sure check out this handy little guide in order to get the best out of this sure-to-be fantastic cultural experience. Bon Appetit, or as the Hungarians would say, Jó étvágyat!

When to Go: Saturday, May 12th, from 11:30am – 9:30pm.

Insider Tips: This is a great festival for kids. Since family is so important in Hungarian culture, there will be several activities including folk-style clay crafting station, cultural costumes to observe up close and a kiddo friendly instructional dance class at 3:30pm.

Admission & Getting There: Adults are $5, children 5-17 are $3 and tots 6 and under are free. Belmont Twin Pines Park, 1225 Ralston Ave, Belmont, Ca.

What to Do: Marvel at the intricate handiwork of traditional folk arts and enjoy work produced by local Hungarian-American artisans. Learn to Csardás with the Eszterlánc Hungarian Folk Ensemble with live music provided by Forrás Folk Band at noon. Stay until 3:00pm to hear the beautiful Kodaly chorale music sung by the Pacific Boys Choir.

Insider Tips: There will be plenty of seating, families can snag a prime spot in the table section or plop down on the grass with blankets. Bathrooms are sprinkled throughout the festival with one right by the children’s playground for easy access.

Where to Eat: This could quite possibly be the best aspect to the festival. Hungarians love to cook, eat and share succulent, savory dishes with friends and family. Grub down on paprika spiced goulash, a national dish of the country. Linger over handmade sausages and be sure to sample any pogácsa biscuits and linzer cookies you come across. Learn about tejföl, a thick, Hungarian sour cream used to soften dishes and don’t forget to try the dumplings. Booth after food booth will find parents and kiddos drooling over classic fare from this cuisine loving culture.

Insider Tips: Did you know pastries originated in Hungary?  Don’t leave without having a slice of Dobo cake or munching on a strudel overflowing with apple, cherry, poppy seeds or cheese.

Bonus: After 5:00pm the music will be revved up a notch and revelers left are invited to participate in the dance circle to live folk music with instruction by the Eszterlánc Hungarian Folk Ensemble.

Phone: 888-603-8597
Online: hungarianheritagefestival.com

— Gabrielle Cullen

Photo courtesy of The Hungarian Heritage Foundation Of the San Francisco Bay Area