Director: Aron Kovats 20th August is St. Stephen’s Day in Hungary and it is a public holiday. We celebrate the foundation of the Hungarian state 1000 years ago. The new bread is blessed on this day too. Around these days the Hungarians celebrate all around the country with music, dance. Traditional programs, traditional cuisine, fireworks. This is the 16th festival when folk groups, folk dance groups arriving at our cities from all over the world. During the meeting, the groups will able to communicate through their performances, take part in various games and activities that will reinforce the message of friendship and cooperation. The festival will be broadcasted on the local TV channel. Kecskemét: Comprising all the beauties and values of the Great Plain, Kecskemét is situated in the middle of Hungary, 85km far from Budapest. It is the 7th largest town of Hungary with the area of 321 km2 and the population over 112,000. This town is well-known for its Apricot Pálinka, the beautiful buildings of Art Nouveau style ornamented with coloured ceramics, and also the "Kodály-method" named after Zoltán Kodály the world-famous composer who was born in Kecskemét. The seat of Bács-Kiskun county is usually called "Hírös Town" as Sándor Petőfi, the great Hungarian poet would call it. The name Kecskemét originates from the word "kecske" - meaning goat, and "mét" - meaning district. Thanks to its favourable geographical position Kecskemét has always been the meeting point of different religions, cultures and traders of all nationalities. The city was founded at the cross-roads of ancient trading routes. In 1368 it was identified as a market-town in a charter of King Anjou Louis the Great, so Kecskemét celebrates its 650th anniversary this year with a series of programs all through the year. The development of gardening, wine-growing viniculture and fruit-growing all have led to the development of the city. The most famous product of the town is Apricot Pálinka, which is made of special tasty apricots. The cultivation of the characteristic fruit of the region started more than 100 years ago. Kecskemét is the native town of József Katona, the author of the Hungarian national drama, and Zoltán Kodály, the world-famous composer, expert of music pedagogy, musicologist, and researcher of folk music. He founded the first primary music school of the country in Kecskemét, which bears the name of the master and has become world-famous together with the Zoltán Kodály Institute of Music Pedagogy. Due to its advantageous geographical location Kecskemét has developed into the economic, administrative, educational, and cultural centre of the region. It hosts several institutions of fine art, unique collections, and renowned festivals. Participants: Folk dance groups, folk groups, orchestras, majorettes Program: 18 August 2023 Occupying the accommodation from 14.00 Meeting with the group leaders and the organizers during the day Reviewing the next day’s programs Dinner, free program 19 August 2023 Breakfast Optional programs (zoo or aquapark in Kecskemét) From 15.00 arrival at Ballószög occupying the changing rooms, snacks and cold beverages 15.45 departure to the location of St Stephen’s Ceremony with the group’s buses 16.00 official ceremony at St Stephen’s Statue, 30 minutes 16.30 marching to the location of the performance 17.00 Performance on stage Closing ceremony, gifts from the town Dinner with all participants, live music, party for the participants and the locals Back to the accommodation 20 August 2023 Breakfast Optional programs (zoo or aqua park in Kecskemét) 18.00: Performance on stage: Kecskemét, Szabadság square, center of the St Stephen’s week in Kecskemét Closing ceremony, receiving the gift and diplomas from the city and the organizers Dinner Participating in the local events, concerts Firework, party 21 August 2023 After breakfast departure. Participation fee: 115 euro: Students' hostel 175 euro: 4* Hotel Három Gúnár - https://www.hotelharomgunar.hu/en 2 bedded superior rooms 185 euro: 4* Aranyhomok Business City Wellness Hotel - https://aranyhomok.accenthotels.com/en 3 bedded superior rooms (double bed + extra bed, supplement for a double room is 8 euro per person per day) Free use of the swimming pool, jacuzzi, Finnish sauna, infrasauna, aromatherapy steam bath, fitness room (bathrobes are provided in your room). Participation fee includes: Accommodation according to the chosen options Meals: half board for the whole festival (2 meals / day) Diplomas and gifts from the city Official invitation Participation fee does not include: Transport Insurance Tourist tax: 2 Euro/person/day, payment on the spot Any group willing to participate must submit an Application form. Approved groups pay in advance a 10% guarantee fee, which is to be deducted at the final payment.