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COVID19: What We Miss the Most in Debrecen – Festivals!

As COVID19 drags on and on, and with the arrival of Spring, we become acutely aware of what we are missing, those things that we would like to do during the sunny, warm months.

Its those pleasurable routine activities that we take for granted, denied to us last year that we miss the most. Taking a beach holiday overseas being the most obvious one. While overseas holiday’s are likely to remain out of reach for some time to come, local venues and activities are more likely to reopen during this summer.

So far this year we have already missed the annual Masquerade of Debrecen, what else will be cancelled?

The below are the things I miss the most as an expat living in Debrecen. Living in Debrecen is experiencing the seasonal and annual events, some of which make Debrecen the goto place in Hungary when they take place.

Debrecen Drive

This awesome adrenaline fueled automotive festival is usually held in May, but was cancelled last year. This event is much more than just a car festival, with F1 Racing Cars, Monster Trucks, Tractors and military vehicles galore. There are also stunt shows which shock and amaze and sports cars to impress with their esthetics and more. Every type of fabulous sexy vehicle you could imagine is on display.

There is something for everyone, and being a firm favorite with the kids, inevitably this event becomes an entire family event for most of the cities inhabitants. It’s not to be missed.

This year (2021) the event has been scheduled for May 28-30th, but these dates are subject to changing national pandemic lockdown limitations. The organizers reserve the right to re-schedule.

Wine and Jazz Festival

Another firm favorite missed in 2020, that we long for in 2021 is the Wine and Jazz Festival, whether you like wine or just jazz, its great, but if you like both its just fantastic. It has been held every year, without interruption since 1972, – that is until last year, because of the Pandemic and movement restrictions it was cancelled.

The event is used to introduce the winners of the Wines of Debrecen Award to the public. Due to the proximity of the playground and facilities, the event is manageable with the entire family. Here’s hoping it will be held this year in some fashion or another, and on schedule.

Food Festivals

Although the Gourmet festival and Piknik Festival are listed here under one heading, each deserves its own listing for their individual style. The Gourmet festival comes first in June, however this year (2021) the event is to be rescheduled to Autumn during the first week of September. It bring the best of the best, the Hungaricum from across the country together, in one place for sampling, its pure food ecstasy, and in addition, for good measure, there is a great range of wines to sample direct from the wineries, along with the Wines of Debrecen Award winners as well.

So if you like the best of the best, this is the place (Great Forest Park) shown above.

The Piknik Festival, takes place at the same time as the Flower Carnival Week which will be covered as one next.

Flower Carnival Week

The 20th August is the national and state holiday of Hungary, marking the annual anniversary of the consecration of Stephen I of Hungary. In Debrecen, however, it is also the day of the Flower Carnival.

The week before is one long event extravaganza! An entire week of festivities culminating in the Flower Carnival and fireworks display. Events include many concerts, a Czech beer festival, “Galibaba” Childrens Festival and a Piknik Festival as mentioned above. In addition to these lively events is light painting, – a light show projection on buildings in the center, a classic car rally and a fireworks display on the last day of the event.

If we are all restricted to holidaying within Hungary once more, – then there is no better place to be on the 21th August, but plan your trip well in advance if you intend staying over since hotels tend to be fully booked early.

Campus Festival

The Campus Festival is one of the most popular Music festivals in Hungary, especially among students. The University of Debrecen has 40,000+ students in any given year and the Campus festival is very much for them and anyone with fond memories of their student years. The event caters to all manner of musical tastes, Hungarian and international with artists from a variety of countries to perform at the Campus event.

The event takes place in the Great Park around the circumference of the Football stadium. If you have ever been to the Sziget festival in Budapest you will be pleasantly surprised just how easy it is to reach via the City center tram No.1

There is much more besides that I could write about, but these big events effect everyone and therefore partly define life in Debrecen.