XpatLoop.com Bonfire Party Raises Record Amount for Charity

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Marriott GM Arne Klehn, Éva Patzauer, of the Csodalámpa Foundation, and Stephen Linfit, publisher of XpatLoop.com.

Photo by Árpád Bakcsy.

The annual Budapest Bonfire Night party, which was also the 22nd anniversary of XpatLoop, raised a record HUF 5.5 million for local charities and delighted partygoers, the organizers say.

Expats and locals came together at the Budapest Marriott Hotel on November 5 for fun and fundraising, including VIPs from the British Embassy and the Ambassadors of Ireland, Japan, and The Netherlands.

The money raised will go to charities including the Csodalámpa Foundation, which helps fulfill the dreams of seriously ill Hungarian children, and Food Bank Aid, which benefited from the raffle.

Éva Patzauer, the managing director of the Csodalámpa charity, said, “For almost 10 years we have participated as one of the main beneficiaries at this event. [...] We are always happy to be there and represent Csodalámpa Magic Lamp Foundation. Special thanks to XpatLoop’s management and event sponsors; without your contribution, we could not make as many children smile at pediatric clinics.”

Arne Klehn, multi-property general manager of the Budapest Marriott Hotel and Marriott Executive Apartments, said this was the fifth time his hotel has played host to the event and promised he was “looking forward to next year’s success and cooperation.”

The international buffet included flavors from America, china, India and Italy, plus salad and seafood. Outside on the terrace were popular grilled Lebanese dishes and a selection of grilled cheese. Deserts included a cake freshly baked by Cloud9 to mark the occasion of XpatLoop’s 22nd birthday.

A wide range of complimentary drinks was served all evening, including craft beer, Jell-O shots, pálinka, and cocktails by local drinks group and regular XpatLoop Bonfire Night sponsor Zwack Unicum. The fine wine sponsors came from many of Hungary’s top wine regions.

As usual, Special Effects International provided a virtual bonfire and a light show. Andrew Davidson, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy Budapest, explained the British tradition of Bonfire Night, which marks the anniversary of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

Along with the usual live auction and raffle, guests also enjoyed a ‘Deluxe Light Show’ performed by ElmoStix and two autonomous cleaning robots, known as Mr. and Mrs. Robin, brought along by Platinum Sponsor and leading facility management firm B+N Referencia. The robot cleaners executed a dance routine to the Monty Python hit “Always Look onthe Bright Side of Life.”

Musical entertainment included live pop and funky tunes in the welcome room by Fruzsina, with DJ Woods playing an enticing mix of eclectic music later in the ballroom.

Sziget Organizers Cancel 2023 VOLT Festival

Festival organizer Sziget Szervezőiroda announced on the cancellation of the 2023 VOLT Festival, a big summer music festival in Sopron (210 km west of Budapest), because of the “uncertain economic environment,” according to Forbes.hu. Sziget Szervezőiroda chief Tamás Kádár said the “uncertain economic situation” doesn’t allow VOLT to be organized “at a standard festival-goers are accustomed to.” Béla Szabó, the spokesman for chief sponsor Magyar Telekom, said the company understands the organizer’s decision.

Xmas Market Opens Under new Management

The iconic Christmas market on Vörösmarty tér in Budapest will open to the public today (November 18) with a new name and renewed programs and cultural innovations, according to business daily Világgazdaság [Global Economy]. This year, the organizers of the Advent Basilica market, twice voted the best in Europe, were entrusted with organizing the fair. The change behind the holiday market, which will run until New Year’s Eve, is also indicated by its new name, Vörösmarty Classic Xmas. The company that now organizes the two most significant and iconic Christmas markets in Budapest promises a classic seasonal event with renewed visuals and unique, quality program elements.

Voting Begins for Hungary 365 Photo Contest

Public voting for the Hungary 365 photo contest has started; interested parties can vote for the 165 entries selected by the jury on fotopalyazat.magyarorszag.hu until November 24, according to profitline.hu. Interest in the competition has set a record again this year, with almost 38,000 photos received for consideration. There are three categories of photographs: Nature and Landscape, Built and Material Heritage, and Images of Life. The public vote winners will be awarded HUF 1 million per category.

Michelin Guide Expands Horizons Beyond Budapest

Two Hungarian restaurants outside of the capital have won stars as the Michelin Guide broadens its scope beyond Budapest, according to Forbes.hu. In the latest guide, published on November 4, Platan Gourmet in Tata (65 km northwest of Budapest) won two Michelin stars, while a single star went to 42 in Esztergom (45 km northwest). The culinary guide says Platan Gourmet is “worth a detour” and praises its “highly sophisticated dishes” with “deep, well-balanced flavors and bags of personality.” The Michelin Guide says 42’s cooking has “a Hungarian heart and honest flavors,” while being “modern, interesting and playful.” In the capital city, two Michelin stars were awarded to Budapest’s Stand, whose chef-owners “skillfully reinvent and modernize classic Hungarian dishes using a wide range of techniques.” Single stars went to the capital’s Essencia, Borkonyha Winekitchen, Rumour, Babel, Salt, and Costes.

For a full report and to see dozens of photos from the event, visit the Xpatloop.com report on its website.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of November 18, 2022.

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