The Cleveland Hungarian Festival is Ohio’s largest Hungarian festival. It takes place German Central Park where festival goers can feast on stuffed cabbage, chicken paprikas, sausages and more. There are also folk dancers, a live animal show, vendors and more.
2023 DATE: September 3, 2023
Location: German Central Park
7863 York Road
Parma, OH 44130
This post documents my experience on September 5, 2010 when the festival was called the Hungarian Scout Festival (it changed names in 2018). Many of the main offerings of the festival remain the same – just less emphasis on Scouts.
Scouting is more than simply tying a knot or starting a fire with flint. This movement begun in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell guides young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development.
Quite an important thing.
In Hungary, the Magyar Cserkészszövetség (Hungarian Scout Association) started in 1912. During World War I and World War II, scouts provided great services, such as caring for the wounded and acting as messengers. But eventually, in 1948, the communist regime there abolished scouting.
With WWII refugees unable to return, they settled in various countries (Brazil, Venezuela, US, Canada, etc.) where troops were eventually founded. Called the Külföldi Magyar Cserkészszövetség (Hungarian Scouts Association in Exile), they not only taught the youth of Hungarian descent about their heritage, culture, and language…they helped make scouting legal in Hungary again, which was done in 1989.
And now, with the Cleveland Council having troops in Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Chicago…
.…it only makes sense to have an annual Hungarian Scout Festival.
Set at German Central Park in Parma, the $7 price not only covered admission….
…it covered other activities as well.
We walked through the main gate….
…and found a quaint Hungarian village…
…with hundred of scouts of all ages.
As advertised, there were many activities for the younger scouts.
Some worked in the crafts area, where activities included…
…origami and birdhouse making.
Nearby, an area with games from the Old Country tested scouts’ abilities, such as….
In this last one, spoons were used to pass the golf ball back from the farthest tunnel passage to the closest until it was led into the corner.
Seeing these old games was actually one of the highlights.
But the festival didn’t focus strictly on scouts..
The Hungarian culture also held great importance…
…through Hungarian pride…
…and musical performances.
They even sold Hungarian books.
This is important to note at this particular festival because many people spoke Hungarian to each other on the festival grounds. They even spoke it to Julia and I, in which we responded with a smile (because we like things that pull us into the culture).
This was even more common as you went deeper into the festival…
…where the food was being cooked.
This outdoor dining area was where the majority of people congregated…
…buying plates of the grilled pork steaks and sausage…
…like we did…
…and/or going for some lángos.
Here, the fried flat bread was prepared in stations for all to see….
…as they pressed it out…
…and stacked it.
It definitely was a hit with other festival goers, but we had to refrain with two more festivals planned that day.
And although I’m sort of happy I did…
…I do regret not tasting a morsel of dessert.