- 26 Nov 2015 6:45 AM
Visitors to one of the most imposing squares in the capital, which hosts the Budapest Advent and Christmas Fair – ranked among the 10 most attractive fairs in Europe – are welcomed with outstanding quality products and plenty of high standard cultural and children’s programmes.
Over the past few years the event, which attracts 300-400,000 tourists annually, has undergone numerous transformations in order to guarantee continued quality entertainment and leisure for foreign guests and locals alike.
Each year a jury of experts selects those products (handicrafts, gifts, trend-setting and refined gastronomy specialities or cultural programmes) representing the highest standards of quality that can be displayed and sold at the event.
In 2014, the 1200-sqm terrace built around the Vörösmarty sculpture proved a big hit. This terrace provided space for catering pavilions serving hot food, making the area more transparent and structured. This year the organizers are once again constructing the catering terrace in this form.
The number of supplementary catering units is increased so that vendors of ‘kürtőskalács’ pastry, cottage cheese cakes and roast chestnuts are joined by other mouth-watering novelties. Those visitors who delight in hand-crafted confectionery won’t be disappointed either: besides chocolate and marzipan delights made in limited quantities there will also be ‘flódni’ cake, traditional poppy-seed roll (beigli), cinnamon fruit compote and honey spiced biscuits.
Nearly 200 programmes are staged during the 47 days that the Fair operates. Folk music, jazz, crossover, alternative, blues and soul concerts are arranged on the main stage between 5-8 pm on weekdays, and between 4-8 pm on weekends.
Children are invited to attend puppet theatre and music-dance performances between 11 am – 4 pm on weekends, while kindergarten and primary school groups, as well as families visiting the square, should head to the handicrafts playhouse. All are welcome here from Friday to Sunday up until 4 December, and after this in the mornings and afternoons on weekdays.
The heated wooden cabin offers various occupations for small ones: candle making, gingerbread baking, stringing beads, felt making and basket weaving.
The Advent spirit is evoked with plenty of other programmes, candles on the giant wreath are lit during a festive ritual and the Advent calendar is brought to life. As part of the exciting open workshop concept visitors are initiated into the ‘back stage’ secrets of the art of smithing in a traditional blacksmith’s workshop set up in the square.
For those who like to celebrate not only the Advent period outdoors but New Year’s Eve as well, there are culinary, cultural and music programmes on the main stage in the square from 6 pm on 31 December. As midnight approaches there is a countdown to the New Year followed by music and dancing until dawn on 1 January.