Harvest used to start on the day of Sts Simon and Jude in Hegyalja. Now, wine makers do not wait until late October. If visitors wish to take part in good spirited harvest festivals, sitting on decorated carriages, sprinkling wine on Bacchus statues, they should spend the September-October weekends in the region. Almost each town organizes its own festival.
At the time of the great events, it is worth booking a local accommodation well in advance to avoid driving to another town at the end of the day. If it is the case, either someone from the group has to stick to soft drinks and drive the car, or everyone may drink just a drop of wine, and rent bikes using the available bike rental service.
We encourage families to come to the festivals as well: wine events organizers make sure children have fun too. Furmint House in Mád offers a variety of active programs for kids while their parents explore the vineyards.
Mád neighborhood in all seasons
In mid-April a Pálinka and Wine Muster is held in Szerencs. It is a professional event, a genuine review and an excellent opportunity for interested visitors with some knowledge to meet the experts.
During the Saint Ivo - Open Cellars program, visitors can deepen their knowledge by getting to know first rate wines from a number of local vineyards. Nondrinkers will also enjoy themselves in the arts and craft fairs, sports and culinary events and concerts.
In late June, the organizers wish you good nights in Mád – but there is little chance for sleep! You can tour the vineyards and visit local artisans during the day, and n the evening, you can find music concerts. No to mention the open wine cellars. Let us quote a social media comment from 2015: "Fairy lamps, pom-poms (no cheerleaders), art projections, stuffed cabbage, orda strudel, cheese plates, wine jelly, local artisan jams, petting calves, bean bag chairs and fine music with Super 8 film projections. Plenty of room for everyone.”
The permanent venue of Zemplén Festival taking place in the second half of August is Szerencs. The One Day in Mád series was a great success as well, and concert tours were made to Bekecs and Monok. Jazz, folk and classical music – and anything representing high quality performance arts.
Chocolate Festival in late August is a sweet farewell to summer. One can say that chocolate is indigenous in Szerencs, or at least it has a long tradition. The memory of the old factory is kept alive by an artisan workshop and this event. During this long weekend, visitors can indulge in chocolate, and relish other culinary treats and enjoy music.
Furmint Festival held in early September is also based on the idea of open wine cellars. Visitors getting to know Hegyalja's excellent wineries and wine, local cuisine, the beautiful products of the region's artisans and the authentic harvest atmosphere, can feel why Tokaj-Hegyalja is often called Hungarian Provence.
In late September, during St Wenceslaus Day and Autumn Festival, an open cellars program is held in Tállya. Although Saint Wenceslaus was a Czech prince, but he still loved wine and became the patron saint of vintners. Locals in Tállya combine nicely the grape consecration celebration of the church with the colorful festival program. The festival features culinary and music events and an arts and craft fair, but the most important attraction is the unique atmosphere of the festival.
In the middle of December, Didergő (Shivering) winter festival is organized in Mád to warm up visitors in the cold. All possible roasted food is available: chestnut, pumpkin, apple, fish, not to mention fresh pork from recent pig killings. Hot drinks such as mulled wine, coffee with rum and tea are also served. Only pálinka remains cold, but it warms you up from within, just like the excitements do over the Saint Luca's day traditions and fortune tellers do as well. A Táncház (folk dance event) and a ball are held, you can try out your skills in arts and crafts, enjoy coach or sleigh rides - all nice winter activities.