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Notice – Return to One Day Festival!

August 13, 2018

We have received some inquiries about the official schedule of the Festival this year. We hope you consider attending the Birmingham Ethnic Festival as a way to reconnect with your roots. We’ve decided to return to OUR roots and reestablish a one day Festival format. The Waiters Race, in its 24th year, will return to Saturday night (6PM), along with a dance party (5PM) and food and drink served at Calvin United by the Hungarian Club of Toledo. Please join us starting at noon on Sunday, August 18th, for the 45th Annual Birmingham Ethnic Festival. Thank you for your continued support and Isten Hozott!

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History of the Birmingham Ethnic Festival

August 16, 2019

Born of events which took place in our community four decades ago, the Birmingham Ethnic Festival has come to be known as a Weekend in the Old Country. Over the years, thousands have come on this third weekend of August to share in the ethnic traditions, diverse culture and heritage for which Birmingham is known.

Over the years, several sets of railroad tracks on Consaul Street have been an ongoing source of frustration for motorists traveling between Toledo, Oregon and points east. Traffic is often stopped at these crossings by the trains. Through the 1950s and 1960s the Birmingham community sought to have a roadway built over the tracks, but to no avail.

When the city finally agreed to construct the overpass, plans called for a four lane bridge and the eventual widening of Consaul Street to four lanes, as well. This construction would have eliminated every building on one side of Consaul Street.

The heart of our community would have been torn from us. The Birmingham Neighborhood Coalition (B.N.C.) was organized in April of 1974 in response to this threat of destruction. Organizations representing all segments of the community came together to fight the widening of Consaul Street and subsequently to address other issues in the neighborhood.

In the 40 years since the founding of the B.N.C., the people of Birmingham have successfully addressed a wide range of problems. We are again fighting for our neighborhood (through the Birmingham Development Corporation) to minimize the impact of the expansion of the Collins Water Treatment Plant and to preserve as many homes near Collins Park as possible.

The first Birmingham Ethnic Festival took place on August 17, 1974. The first festival planning committee was chaired by Paul G. Hayden and included nearly 40 people, representing almost every church and organization within the neighborhood. From the first Festival Book we read the goals of this annual event as written by the founders:

Our intention is to point to the spirit of the original ethnic settlers in Birmingham. Their cooperation and unity of purpose was the foundation for the building of this community. The motivating purpose of the early settlers was their faith in the American ideal of success being equally available to all who are willing to work toward that end.

The Birmingham Ethnic Festival is an outgrowth of pride and enthusiasm of the Birmingham community, and its desire to share with greater Toledo a taste of the ethnic flavor which has so permeated the neighborhood. This pride has been a factor of great cohesiveness, sustaining the neighborhood through many threats to its very existence.

The Birmingham neighborhood has shown a concerted and serious attention to the betterment of the community, to the projects of beautification, renovation and preservation. This festival seeks, through its activities, to provide a means whereby the aspirations of the Birmingham community may be realized as fully as possible in the future.

MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS BIRMINGHAM
AND ITS PEOPLE FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.
WE LOVE THIS COMMUNITY,
ONE OF AMERICAS FINEST!

Welcome Home! to the 45th Annual Birmingham Ethnic Festival

August 9, 2019

Saturday August 17th (Starting at 5PM) and Sunday August 18th (12-9PM) 2019!

One of Toledo’s oldest and most popular ethnic festivals, The Birmingham Ethnic Festival: “A Weekend in the Old Country” has been held for the past 45 years to celebrate the strength and diversity of our community and our continuing fight for the preservation and recognition of our neighborhood. We are returning to our roots with a one-day Festival format. However, we invite the community to join us for festivities on Saturday night, as well.

As an unofficial opening to the Festival Weekend, the 24th Annual Waiters’ Race will occur on Saturday night, August 17th at 6PM. The race, with relay teams of four carrying trays with a full pitcher and two glasses of beer, has become one of the most popular events at the Festival. Food and refreshment will be available from the Hungarian Club of Toledo at the Calvin United Church lot and Calvin will be selling chicken paprikas dinners beginning at 3:30. A dance party will occur at Calvin United lot on Saturday, August 17th beginning at 5PM in conjunction with the race.  We will be joined by Csaba Csengeri, a Hungarian DJ from Canada.  Be sure to come down and join in the festivities!

On Sunday, August 18th, a Recognition Ceremony will be held at 12:00 Noon on the steps of St. Stephen’s Church, beginning with a flag raising ceremony, announcement of the recipient of the Birmingham Friend of the Neighborhood Award, recognition of local and international guests, and presentation of the Beer Keg Trophy to the winner of the Waiters’ Race.

The 45th festival will feature popular Hungarian foods including: Chicken Paprikás, Hunky Turkey (Roasted Bacon Sandwich), Stuffed Cabbage, Homemade Kolbász / Sausage Sandwiches, Palacsinta (crepes), Cabbage and Noodles, Pastries and a fantastic array of other ethnic foods on Consaul Street.  Chicken Paprikás Dinners will be sold at Calvin United on Saturday beginning at 3:30PM and at St. Stephen’s School Hall Sunday beginning at noon.

Ethnic dance groups will perform on the three Main Stages at the St Stephen’s / Hungarian Club site, Calvin United and VFW 4906 on Consaul Street. Scheduled performers include the Dayton Hungarian Festival Club Dancers, Molly’s Irish Dancers, Bavarian Sportsclub Holzhacker Schuhplattlers, Echoes of Poland, Rumblin’ Rhythm Cloggers, and El Corazon de Mexico. Popular bands will be performing a great variety of music in the evening on the three Main Stages. Bands to be featured include Tru Brew and East River Drive Band.

Food and craft vendors will also be selling their colorful and creative wares on the Consaul Street mall.  Children’s activities will be centered at Consaul and Genesee.  Handicap parking is available off of Front and Burr Streets, with transportation available to the festival and facilities throughout the festival grounds.

For those hoping to attend a church service, Calvin United is having worship at 3PM on Saturday, while St. Stephen’s Church will hold Mass at 8AM on Sunday.

Come enjoy a Weekend in the Old Country; a great Toledo neighborhood tradition with great food, music, dance and refreshments in the historic Birmingham Neighborhood.

45th Birmingham Ethnic Festival Entertainment Schedule

August 9, 2019

Saturday August 17, 2019

Calvin United Church of Christ Location

Csaba Csengeri Hungarian DJ from Canada
5:00-8:00pm
6pm break for the Waiters Race on Consaul St.

Sunday August 18, 2019

Calvin United Church of Christ Location

12:30-1pm Hungarian music
1:00pm The Dayton Hungarian Festival Club Dancers
1:30pm El Corazon de Mexico
2:00pm Molly’s Irish Dancers
2:30pm Bavarian Sports Club D’Holzhackerbuam Schuhplattler Gruppe
3:00pm Rumblin’ Rhythm Cloggers
3:30pm Echoes of Poland
4:00-7:00pm East River Drive

St. Stephen’s Church & Hungarian Club Location

12:30-1pm Hungarian music
1:00pm Molly’s Irish Dancers
1:30pm Echoes of Poland
2:00pm Rumblin’ Rhythm Cloggers
2:30pm El Corazon de Mexico
3:00pm The Dayton Hungarian Festival Club Dancers
3:30pm Bavarian Sports Club D’Holzhackerbuam Schuhplattler Gruppe
5:00-9:00pm Tru Brew

V.F.W. Post 4906 Location

12:30-1pm Hungarian music
1:00pm Rumblin’ Rhythm Cloggers
1:30pm Bavarian Sports Club D’Holzhackerbuam Schuhplattler Gruppe
2:00pm The Dayton Hungarian Festival Club Dancers
2:30pm Echoes of Poland
3:00pm Molly’s Irish Dancers
3:30pm El Corazon de Mexico

24th Annual Birmingham Ethnic Festival Waiter’s Race

August 9, 2019

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A relay team consisting of 4 members will carry a tray with a pitcher of beer and 2 glasses. Exchanges will occur throughout the course down Consaul Street. The team to finish first AND with the most beer remaining in the glasses and pitcher wins the race. Points are awarded for order of finish and amount of beer remaining.

Join us on Saturday, August 17 at 6PM on Consaul Street to watch the race!

Once the race is over, stick around for the fun at the Calvin United parking lot, where there will be food for sale and a dance party!

Waiter’s Race Past Champions

1996 – Rumpus Room
1997 – Knights of Columbus
1998 – Tony Packo’s Restaurant
1999 – Rumpus Room/East Side Raiders
2000 – Consaul Tavern
2001 – Rumpus Room/East Side Raiders
2002 – Rumpus Room/East Side Raiders
2003 – Rumpus Room/East Side Raiders
2004 – Rumpus Room/East Side Raiders
2005 – Hungarian Club
2006 – Hungarian Club
2007 – Hungarian Club
2008 – Hungarian Club
2009 – Hungarian Club
2010 – Hungarian Club
2011 – Steelworkers
2012 – Hungarian Club
2013 – Hungarian Club
2014 – Calvin United Church of Christ
2015 – Lucas County Commissioners
2016 – Lucas County Commissioners
2017 – Epiphany of the Lord / Saint Stephen’s Church
2018 – Epiphany of the Lord / Saint Stephen’s Church

Road Closures

August 19, 2016

DIVISION OF TRANSPORTATION – Temporary Closure, Birmingham Ethnic Festival Activities, August 19-21

In conjunction with the annual Birmingham Ethnic festival, the following streets will be closed to vehicular traffic

  • Consaul Street from Front to Woodford (access will be maintained to Tony Packo’s parking lot and alley)
  • Bakewell Street from Consaul to Bogar
  • Bogar Street from Bakewell to Caledonia
  • Burr Street from Consaul to Esther
  • Esther Street form Front to Burr
  • Magyar Street Consaul to the southern end
  • Milford Avenue from Consaul to Minerva
  • Burger Street from Consaul to Minerva
  • Caledonia Street from Consaul to Bogar
  • Genesee from Consaul to Bogar

In addition to the above closures, parking will be prohibited on the following streets to effectively conduct the activities:

  • Consaul Street-both sides from Front to Woodford
  • Genesee both sides from Consaul to Bogar
  • Bakewell Street-both sides from Consaul to Bogar
  • Bogar Street-both sides from Bakewell to Caledonia
  • Caledonia Street-both sides from Consaul to Bogar
  • Esther Street-both sides from Front to Burr
  • Burr Street-north side from Esther to Consaul
  • West side of street leading back to tank farm off of Esther Street
  • Burger Street east side from Consaul to Minerva
  • Milford Street east side form Consaul to Minerva
  • Woodford Street west side from Consaul and Whittemore