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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 23rd year, will return to Saturday night (7PM), along with the tanchaz (6PM) and food and drink served at Calvin United by the Hungarian Club of Toledo. Please join us starting at noon on Sunday, August 19th, for the 44th Annual Birmingham Ethnic Festival. Thank you for your continued support and Isten Hozott!


Complete Schedule of Events

August 16, 2018


Below please find a completed schedule of events for the 44th Annual Birmingham Ethnic Festival weekend. 

Saturday,  August 18, 2018

3PM Church Service at Calvin United
Calvin United begins sale of chicken paprikas dinners in church hall
6PM-10PM Tanchaz (Dance Workshop) at Calvin United lot with Uszturu Ensemble
7PM 23rd Annual Waiter’s Race (start at VFW 4906)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

8AM Church Service at St. Stephen’s Church
12PM Opening Ceremonies  of the 44th Annual Birmingham Ethnic Festival at St. Stephen’s Church
12PM St. Stephen’s and Calvin United will begin serving chicken paprikas dinners in their respective halls until sold out.
12PM-9PM Entertainment at each lot on the Festival mall – read more here.

Please visit our website and Facebook page to learn more, and contact us if you have any questions.

Vendor List

August 14, 2018

William Penn – Festival Sponsor
PNC Bank – Festival Sponsor
Toledo Szeged – Festival Sponsor
Birmingham Development Corporation – Festival Member

Magyar Marketing
Magyar Apparel
Pampered Chef
Color Street Nail
Mary Kay
Artist Afreen
Toledo Hemp Center
Natures Qualities
Toledo Blade
Nancy Sams – Crochet items, etc.
Waite Cheerleaders
Pampering Potions LLC
Wax Wicks & Wood
Costco Wholesale
Champion Windows
Cheryl Redner – jewelry, etc.
Gifts & More Galore
Nicholas Games
Educare Academy
East Toledo Family Center
Block Watch
Family and Addicts Coming Together/F.A.C.T.
Lyfe Living
United States Vets Inc
Sumana Sharmin – hand made jewelry/scarves
Debbie Wilson – Dried flowers / jewelry
Pure Romance
Cindy Kramer – Misc. items
Kristina Souillier – hand made items
Everdry Waterproofing
Usborn Books
Megan Frost – Misc. items
Crafty Sisters
Ila Gupta – Indian cloths / jewelry / crafts
Origami Owl
Perfectly Posh
Initials Inc.
This and That Crafts
Thoughts in Cement
Twisted Balloon
Hungarian Pastries by Marlene Danko
Eric’s Ice Cream
KK Concessions
Toms BBQ
Old World foods
Quinns Concessions
OPA! Cusine
Steel City Chimneys

*Subject to changes and additions.*


Food Menu – Member Organizations

August 11, 2018

Calvin United
Chicken Paprikas Dinners in Calvin Hall, Homemade Kolbasz Sandwiches, Stuffed cabbage, Cabbage and Noodles, Paprikas noodles, Szalona Sutes (Hungarian bacon grease bread), Palacsinta (Hungarian crepes), Homemade Baked Goods

Hungarian Club of Toledo at Saint Stephen’s Parking Lot 
Chicken Paprikas, Stuffed Cabbage, Hungarian Turkey (Sutni Szalona), Assorted Pastries

St. Stephen’s 
Chicken Paprikas Dinners in the School Hall, Stuffed Cabbage, Kolbasz, Dumplings w/gravy, Hot Dogs/Chili Dogs, Hungarian Pastries

VFW 4906
Chicken Paprikas, Pigs in the Blanket (Toltott Kaposzta), Cabbage & Noodles, Kolbasz, Hunky Turkey, and Burgers

Welcome Home! to the 44th Annual Birmingham Ethnic Festival 

August 3, 2018

Saturday August 18th (6-10PM) and Sunday August 19th (12-9PM) 2018!

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 44 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 23rd Annual Waiters’ Race will occur on Saturday night, August 18th at 7PM. 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 before and after the race, and Calvin will be selling chicken paprika dinners beginning at 3:30. A táncház (dance workshop) with Uszturu Ensemble will occur at Calvin United lot on Saturday, August 18th at 6PM (and again on Sunday, August 19th at 4PM at the VFW). Be sure to come down and join in the festivities!

On Sunday, August 19th, 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 44th festival will feature popular Hungarian foods including: Chicken Paprikás, Hunky Turkey (Roasted Bacon Sandwich), Stuffed Cabbage, Homemade Kolbász / Sausage Sandwiches, Gulyás (Goulash), 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 and at St. Stephen’s Hall Sunday 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 folk dancing by Kodaly Ensemble and Csipke Ensemble, Molly’s Irish Dancers, Bavarian Sportsclub Holzhacker Schuhplattlers, Echoes of Poland, 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, at Reach Academy. 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.

More information about the festivities on Saturday and Sunday can be found on our website and Facebook page.  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.

23rd Annual Birmingham Ethnic Festival Waiter’s Race

August 3, 2018


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 18 at 7PM on Consaul Street to watch the Saint Stephen’s team defend their title against the other teams!

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 tanchaz until 10PM.

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

Imre A. Bertalan – Festival Dedication

August 3, 2018

He arrived in Toledo on a 1969 Honda 450 motorcycle, wearing an Army greatcoat, with the largest curly red head of hair any of us ever saw. Imre A. Bertalan, the son, grandson and great-grandson of Hungarian Reformed ministers, came to Toledo not to serve a church, but to work as a community organizer in the Birmingham Neighborhood and eventually as the Lead Organizer for ETCO (East Toledo Community Organization).

A graduate of Rutgers University and with a Divinity degree from Princeton, Imre brought with him a deep sense of community, love of his Hungarian culture, faith, and a determination to make life better for everyone he worked with.

During the Blizzard of 1978,the sparks started flying between Baba Ujvagi & Imre. As their love grew, so did Imre’s call to ministry. In 1979, he became the pastor of Calvin United Church of Christ. In 1980, Baba and Imre were married at Calvin United; the largest wedding and reception which has taken place in our community in quite a while, and the likes of which have not been seen since. Their love for each other and for their Hungarian culture and traditions were the highlight of the celebration.

The family grew quickly with Sara, Magdi, Juli and Gitti, and finally Imi coming into the world, followed more recently by grandchildren Vince, Alma, Janos, Jaxson, Mateo and Ima.

Not only did Imre help to organize and empower the people of the Birmingham neighborhood, bring the word of God to his parishioners, reach out and work on ecumenical concerns in Toledo, emerge as a national leader in the Hungarian American Federation, but he also became one of the key leaders in the continuing preservation and promotion of the Birmingham Ethnic Festival. He served as co-chair for several years with Father Hernady, and then many years as Chair.

To his last days, he worked to help fund and strengthen the festival, as a testament to the world of the soul and spirit of the multi-ethnic Birmingham community.

In 1986, he received a call to serve the American Hungarian Reformed Church in Allen Park, Michigan. But even during those years of service his and his family’s heart were in Toledo and their beloved Birmingham neighborhood. And, in 1992, they returned to Toledo so he could again serve as pastor of Calvin United Church of Christ, with a detour shortly after as the family spent a year in Sarospatak, Hungary.

In 1999, he accepted the responsibility to become the Executive Director of the historic Bethlen Communities in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. But Imre continued his involvement in the Birmingham Festival, guiding the committee to extend the Festival to a full weekend of celebration.

Many times he sat on the back porch on Consaul Street with Baba, watching their grandchildren at play in the backyard and talk longingly of returning here, finally and permanently, to again take up the mantle of organizing in the neighborhood to preserve our neighborhood and culture.

Imre A. Bertalan passed away on August 29, 2017. The 2017 Festival was probably the only one that he missed in all his years of being a member of our community.

While leaving a great emptiness in our hearts, he also left us with a legacy of love of family and community, faith in God and the future, and the determination that, as he would say to his dear Baba… “everything will be alright, my love”… Minden jó lesz szívem.