As always, the 59th San Francisco Hungarian National Day celebrations were held in beautiful Golden Gate Park. My wife and I attend every year.
Many of you might be surprised to learn that the weather is quite cold in August in the Bay Area. You need a jacket, may not expect much sun; it is mostly foggy in San Francisco, California. The location of the St. Stephen’s Day celebration is spectacular, in the so called ‘museum district’ next to the DeYoung Museum. The Music Concourse was built in 1894 for the Mid-Winter Fair and in 1900 the City added a beautiful Music Stand which is also known as Spreckels Temple of Music.
The podium is a popular place to hold music performances on Sundays, and the Park has a regular orchestra, the Golden Gate Park Band led by Michael L. Wirgler They played Kodály, Lehár and Erkel pieces; Mr. Wirgler is a great band leader and an emcee with great timing and the right amount of humor.
As always, The First Hussar Regiment of California presented the Colors, the US and Hungarian flags. Needless to say the kids loved the horses.
From the hour-long program I really enjoyed Ms. Zina Bozzay’s Népdalkör, the traditional folk songs from Magyarbőd and Moldova. The Eszterlánc Hungarian Folkdance Ensemble spiced up the event, Honorary Consul, Éva Voisin and Dr. Zoltán Egyed spoke, dancers Imre and Anikó Ragoncza performed and Diana Pray sang an Erkel aria. This event is “English only”, most of the audience don’t speak Hungarian.
Many thanks to Mr. András Rékay who coordinates and organizes this event every year. It is not a small task to put together the program and for many decades he has done an excellent job.
First time ever a YouTube video is available about this unique celebration from Bay Area MagyarTV. St. Stephen’s Day in San Francisco. Enjoy!