Bonfire Night Charity Party Returns, Raises HUF 4.4 Mln

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British Ambassador Paul Fox (left) and XpatLoop publisher and Bonfire Night charity party organizer Stephen Linfitt.

Photo by Árpád Zoltan Bakcsy.

A packed house of guests from Hungary’s international community, including VIPs like British Ambassador Paul Fox, united to “Feel Good + Do Good” at XpatLoop’s 21st-anniversary celebration, raising HUF 4.4 million for Hungarian children’s charities.

Held on Nov. 9 in the Budapest Marriott Hotel, attendees included a great mix from Hungary’s business, cultural and diplomatic circles. The Grand Ballroom glowed thanks to a virtual bonfire officially “set alight” by Ambassador Fox. A traditional fireworks display was projected onto a big screen by Special Effects International.

The British Ambassador, who attended with his wife, thanked XpatLoop for organizing what he called an “excellent event. Vicki and I really enjoyed it and met lots of lovely people; importantly, it raised an impressive amount for local causes.”

COVID-restrictions forced the event to become an online-only fundraiser in 2020, so this was a welcome return, a point made by Arne Klehn, general manager of the Marriott

“This was the fifth occasion in the past years when the hotel provided the venue and sponsored the event with various raffle prizes,” the GM said. “The whole evening was full of surprises, emotions and the return was simply amazing.”

The sponsors (it is an impossibly long list to name all here) included FirstMed, Dr. Rose Private Hospital, B + N Referencia, Samsung, Bortársaság and Zwack Unicum.

“This event never disappoints, bringing together a diverse group of good people to have fun and raise money to help local children in need,” said Dennis A. Diokno, CEO of FirstMed, a decade-long sponsor.

The international buffet featured dishes from many restaurants, hotels and food service organizations across the city, alongside sweet and savory pastries and treats and three birthday cakes. A wide range of beverages were served all evening, including cocktails, beers, fine wines, and spirits, plus soft drinks, mineral water and coffee.

Proud Contribution

“We are always proud to contribute to the Xpat Bonfire Night Charity Party. A great event with great people,” said Sándor Zwack, chairman of the board of Zwack Unicum, who ensured that bottles of Unicum Barista and Unicum Riserva were on all tables booked by guests.

Musical entertainment included cover band The Vibe, live pop and funky tunes by Fruzsina & Badman, an enticing mix of eclectic grooves by DJ Mahogany from Brooklyn, NY, and a set by local DJ Tamás Máj.

The live auction prompted generous giving and much excitement (including a “bidding war” at one point), with one of this year’s “priceless” items donated by Aston Martin Budapest. This would see the winner collected by one of the brand’s luxury vehicles and taken for lunch at the Matild Palace Luxury Collection Hotel, and also included an Aston Martin F1 team cap signed by drivers Lance Stroll and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

This fundraising highlight was led by local expat actor and voiceover artist Hans Peterson and TV personality Zsuzsa Demcsák. They also guided proceedings throughout the evening, including announcing the winners of the silent auction.

The “feel good” aspect highlighted in this year’s party motto refers to raising charity funds. Afterward, the director of the Csodalámpa Foundation, Éva Patzauer, was undoubtedly grateful.

“Thank you for all of your work on the Xpat Charity Party event, which was a real success again,” she said afterward. “A good number of children will be happy thanks to the outstanding support from you, all the guests and event sponsors and supporters. Please give our sincere gratitude to them all from the depth of our heart!”

For more on the event, including photo galleries and the complete list of sponsors, go to xpatloop.com.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of December 17, 2021.

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