The Grape Harvest Festival is a one day family friendly festival in Budapest, Hungary focusing on the ins and outs of traditional Hungarian harvest time from a child’s point of view. The festival is not only very nice for children and parents alike but it is free.
The Grape Harvest Festival takes place in one of the best cultural complexes in Budapest, the Millenaris Park (Buda side, 5 min walk from former Moszkva ter metro stop, now Szell Kalman square), which hosts permanent exhibitions, a superb interactive playhouse, has its own park and playground, family friendly amenities (including a simple restaurant and baby / child friendly facilities).
Children can try their ‘hands’ at the best part of harvest times and wine making such as treading the grapes, sampling the freshly squeezed must of the grapes, making a scarecrow, weaving baskets for picking the grapes, painting bottles for the fresh grape must, etc.
Even though the festival is kid friendly, teenagers may not be so much intrigued by the programmes. In all likelihood, the ideal age group is about 0-8 years of age or so.
In addition, children can enjoy other authentic Hungarian kid programmes, e.g. children folk band concerts with lots of dancing and jumping around (old village dances), performances of various children’s theatre, folk dance shows performed by children, playing theatre in costumes, etc. As you can see, the Grape Harvest Fest puts a lot of emphasis on preserving old Hungarian customs, so it is a good choice for a cross cultural experience.
If you come to Budapest with little children, the Grape Harvest Festival at Millenary Park is definitely a great family programme. Not to mention that it can be a life saver on a gloomy rainy day in September or October.
The language of the festival is not English though. But we assume that children will surely overcome the language barrier at a young age, so Hungarian language should not be a problem with all the visuals and hands on activities. :)
Date: about the end of September, beginning of October (e.g. October 1 in 2011)
Venue: Millenaris Park, Budapest
Getting there: M2 red metro line, Szell Kalman ter, or tram number 4 or 6 Szena ter tram stop. It is about a 15-25 minute trip from the city centre (the fastest way is of course the metro)
Entrance fee: free of charge
Official website: MillenarisPark.hu
In our digital supermarket age, when many kids think eggs grow in shops, it seems more and more important to let children see how fruits and vegetables are produced, let them interact with nature and the tools we use to harvest them. The harvesting of wine grapes is a great opportunity for parents to help their children turn away from screens and buttons and peep into the secrets of how things are done.
Needless to say Millenaris Park is not a winery, so harvesting at the Grape Harvest Festival is more of a demonstration than a real grape picking, processing activity, but it is still a nice programme for the whole family.
There are lots of other attractions nearby, so Millenaris Park can be easily combined with other family friendly Budapest programmes, like visiting the Buda Castle (and the Buda Labyrinth), going to the Palace of Wonders (interactive exhibition of modern inventions within the Millenaris Park complex), taking a ride on the Children’s Railway (former pioneer train), etc.