- 6 Nov 2022 3:05 PM
Expats and locals came together on 5 November for fun and fundraising, including VIP's from the British Embassy and the Ambassadors of Ireland, Japan, and The Netherlands. New elements were added this year to surprise and delight guests, who hailed from all five continents.
The atmosphere was ebullient, a warm and friendly vibe prevailed all night, as the event intrigued and entertained distinguished guests from all around the globe - as the event photos show.
* Virtuoso Party Photos by Marko Novkov,
* Brilliant Bonfire Party Pictures by Árpád Bakcsy,
* Super Snaps of the Gala Action by Marcus Schirrmacher,
* Fab Fireworks Night Photos by John Galvin of PartyBooth.hu,
* Fun Photos of this Fundraising Extravaganza by Samsung Hungary.
Traditional entertainment included a virtual bonfire, a fireworks display on a huge LED wall from Special Effects International. Plus this year there was a special Fire Dance performance on the ballroom terrace by ‘Susana-Show’.
The event kicked off with a meet-and-greet session in the foyer, elegantly fueled by sparkling wine from Bortodoor City, Aperol Spritz welcome drinks by DunaPro, a great selection of single-malts from Goodspirit Bar, fine wines, and soft drinks from Coca-Cola.
There were a multitude of introductions, reunions, and handy contacts made - both business and social - among the attendees, which consisted of a great mix from Hungary’s business, cultural and diplomatic circles.
For starters there were delicious British canapés by Bob's Kitchen, plus creative vegan delights by Good Karma, which all went down well. An extra welcome element was relaxing Thai shoulder massage for guests before entering the ballroom.
Next the doors of Marriott's Grand Ballroom sprung open revealing spectacular views of the Danube, Buda Castle and the elegant gala tables - all set with sweet nibbles, lovely flowerMe decorations and Unicum Barista, plus Unicum Riserva for guests who had reserved tables.
Arne Klehn the GM of the 5* hotel - the longstanding venue of this event - attended the party and said, “Wow! Amazing! A record 5.5 million HUF! Congratulations for raising such a great amount, it is always an honour for us to sponsor this prestigious event.”
On stage in the opening remarks part, the event organiser Stephen Linfitt thanked the Marriott and praised everyone involved, he name-checked key sponsors and warmly welcomed guests.
After the brief opening speeches and a business card draw for goodie bags from Mid Atlantic Films, the event MC (pictured above) invited guests to enjoy the international buffet which included tastes from many places to suit all palates.
Fabulous returning food sponsors offered up a feast of Italian by Trattoria Toscana; American by Marriott Budapest; Indian by Mr. Masala; Chinese by Wan Hao, plus this year there were salad and seafood delights by White Raven Skybar.
Outside on the terrace again there were popular grilled Lebanese dishes from ARZ Restaurant, and a great selection of grilled cheese by Hajdúsajt served with an array of Tesco salad packs.
“As always really happy to support this event and to enable the attendees to enjoy some amazing Tesco food again. Well done to Stephen and everyone involved,” said Martin Coulam, Supply Chain, Space Range & Display Director, Tesco Central Europe.
Deserts included sweet treats from Marriott and Tesco, as well as a super-delicious cake freshly baked by Cloud9 to mark the occasion of XpatLoop's 22nd birthday.
After dinner the event excitement went up another gear with a theatrical performance by event MC Hans Peterson - an actor and voiceover artist - who recited part of a traditional Bonfire Night Verse set to a dramatic soundtrack while decked out in a Guy Fawkes mask.
To ensure good cheer, a wide range of quality drinks were served all evening, including craft beer plus jell-o shots from Ruin Brew, fruity pálinka by Márkházi, and special cocktails by legendary local drinks group and regular XpatLoop Bonfire Night sponsor Zwack Unicum.
The fine wine sponsors from many of Hungary’s top wine regions were, in no particular order, the Borbély Family Winery from Badacsony, Dúzsi Tamás Winery from Szekszárd, Hilltop from Neszmély, Liszkay Borkúria from Monoszló, Polgár Family Winery from Villány, Spiegelberg Artisan Winery from Somló, Szeremley Wine House from Badacsony.
Soft drinks fans were not left out given the range of Coca-Cola products around, there was still and sparkling water by NaturAqua too, and many were pleased to enjoy quality coffee from DeLonghi Hungary to keep them going all night.
Once guests were comfortably ensconced, to make the ballroom glow a virtual bonfire was lit to cheers from the crowd. This year guests were also treated to a ‘Deluxe Light Show’ performed by ElmoStix, featuring state-of-the-art Visual Poi devices.
Happily the diplomatic community were delighted with the event, “Big thanks to the team at XpatLoop.com for organising a super bonfire night celebration," said Andrew Davidson, Deputy Head of Mission at British Embassy Budapest.
"Kudos to the sponsors for their generous support, and to everyone who helped raise the record amount this year for worthwhile causes,” Andrew continued. The UK Ambassador was unable to attend this year as he was in London but he sent greetings.
Andrew's welcome speech neatly covered the British tradition of Bonfire Night, which is held to mark the anniversary of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.
Irish Ambassador Ronan Gargan said, “My wife and I very much enjoyed the Xpatloop’s Bonfire Night Charity gala – great food and drink, great entertainment and great company.
And most important of all, a record amount of money raised at this annual event for very worthy causes. It was very much an evening about having fun and doing good!”
Naturally the event’s success is thanks to guests entering into the spirit of the occasion, which they did and had a blast, such as regular event attendee Neil McGarry, principal of Britannica International School.
“A thoroughly enjoyable evening with excellent food and drink available throughout. It was fantastic to catch up with old friends and colleagues but also exciting to meet new ones. The atmosphere was warm, friendly and welcoming, everyone had a great time in such a wonderful venue,” Neil enthused.
"This was the fifth occasion in the recent years when the Budapest Marriott Hotel kindly provided the venue and sponsored the event with various prizes for guests.
The whole evening was full of surprises, emotions and the return was simply amazing. Looking forward to next year’s success and cooperation,” the brilliant venue host Arne Klehn added, to everyone's delight.
Feedback from all supporters was positive, such as from Liam Crow of FirstMed the main sponsor, “It's hard to believe that my first Xpatloop bonfire was 16 years ago but there it is. I am very proud of Stephen for bringing together friends, old and new, each year to raise money for those who need it most.”
Liam continued, “Representing FirstMed, I believe that Xpatloop's Bonfire is an event that we are always happy to get behind due to their desire to raise money for children in need. Well done!”
The event’s much appreciated Platinum Sponsor was B+N Referencia, Hungary’s leading facility management firm. The company brought along two autonomous cleaning robots, Mr & Mrs ROBIN, who put on a fun dance performance to the music Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
B+N's cute cleaning robots, who were dressed up in festive attire especially for the dance part, also socialised at the event and made new friends as they shared drinks and mixed with guests - with some taking selfies with their new robot buddies.
All the leading international schools in Budapest attended and supported the event, including the Budapest British International School which joined in as the Gold sponsor - the BBIS team all participated in great spirits and said they're definitely coming again next time.
The British International School Budapest and Britannica International School both served as Silver sponsors, the American International School of Budapest (AISB) was also present.
Many school principals and heads joined in the party in generous fashion, like Brett Penny the director of AISB who said, "Thanks for a wonderful night!"
Returning guest Benjamin Turner the Principal of The British International School Budapest said, “Once again, this Bonfire party was a wonderful, relaxed opportunity to connect and raise money for worthwhile causes. Thank you to all the team for organizing it!”
Another much appreciated sponsor this year included Samsung, which operated a special mobile phone and photography installation which proved popular with guests who received a branded party photo on the spot.
British automotive icon Jaguar Land Rover also kindly acted as a Silver sponsor, and REAL School served as a Bronze sponsor of the event again.
With the virtual pyrotechnics and bonfire shining bright, Hans continued in his role as master of ceremonies by presenting the Live Auction together with prize givers, which generated great donations and much excitement. All the items included in the auctions are listed here.
Event music included live pop and funky tunes in the welcome room by Fruzsina and her man, and later in the ballroom DJ Woods played an enticing mix of eclectic grooves, perfectly suited to the mood as the party got hotter and hotter.
Much credit is also due to the crew at Special Effects International who created an amazing light show for guests to enjoy on the dancefloor until the small hours of the following morning.
All evening there was a popular 'Wine Mafia Game', in which participants could win wines and more presented by Bortodoor City.
Plus there was Roulette & Blackjack for fun (not money) with prizes provided again this year by Las Vegas Casino.
VIP's included Duncan Graham, the Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Hungary, who successfully bid in the auction as usual and won a great prize.
In the spirit of unity which the event engenders, GM's from other top local hotels - such as Marten Schoenrock from the InterContinental Budapest - also made great contributions to the charity initiative this year and said it was probably the best ever such event.
Also global non-profit organization Greenwill supported the event as a Bronze sponsor once more, with its founder Michele Orzan on great form as usual. As the President of EuCham Hungary he brought along super guests and his good humour of course.
To work off any extra calories gained at the party, or to help heal any hangovers, everyone got a free day pass for the Fitness & Health Club by Marriott. Many guests also took away a framed photo of themselves at the event shot by John Galvin of PartyBooth.
Lucky ones still standing at the end of the night won a range of valuable raffle prizes, and everyone departed with a lovely goodie bag from Dr. Rose Private Hospital which included sweet treats and a farewell gift of a voucher worth HUF 50,000.
The record total of HUF 5.5 million for this annual event all goes to support local charities, such as the Csodalámpa Foundation which helps seriously ill Hungarian children, and this time Food Bank Aid benefited from the raffle arranged by Chris Clarke and Nikki Truesdale.
Summing up the essence of the evening, Éva Patzauer the MD of the Csodalámpa charity said, “For almost 10 years we have participated as one of the main beneficiaries at this event: great place, great people, great mood, and superb organisation."
“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," she continued.
Éva concluded by saying, "It's really a touching how many guests stand with us to make more and more very ill children happy. We hope to see you next year, cheers!”
Words by David Kalman
Key Event Sponsors
Main: FirstMed, Platinum: B+N Referencia Zrt., Gold: Budapest British International School
Silver: Britannica International School, Samsung, The British International School Budapest,
Jaguar Land Rover, Bronze: REAL School, Venue: Budapest Marriott, Audiovisual: Special Effects
Event Supporters Included
British Embassy, Dr. Rose Private Hospital, Funcode, Fitness & Health Club by Marriott Budapest
S3 Europe, flowerMe, Prohuman, Brody House, Nr1 Fitness, New York Café, Catherine's Vineyard
Thermal Hotel Visegrád, Caviar & Bull Restaurant, Costes Downtown, Uncensored Restaurant
Anikó Woods, flydubai, Matild Palace, Stan Ahuja Tailors, MINDiet, Corinthia Budapest
Byblos Lebanese Restaurant, Anantara New York Palace, The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest
Kempinski Hotel, Infinitum Films, Hotel Visedgrád, TGI Friday's, Planet Sushi, BBJ
Opera House, Renaissance Restaurant, Tokaj-Hétszőlő, and Anna Jankovich.
See What Happened @ XpatLoop's Charity Event in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015,
2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002