International Tisza Fish Festival
(Nemzetközi Tiszai Halfesztivál)
Szeged The first fish festival was held at the foot of the bridge in the vicinity of the former fish market in Szeged in 1997. Organised on the first weekend of September, this international event nurtures the gastronomic traditions of the Szeged region. The open-air fish cooking competition is an integral part of the Fish Festival. Participants compete in two categories; the first is the Tisza fish soup made from carp, the second encompasses every other kind of open-fire fish dishes. There is no official jury in the cooking competition; the audience tries the foods and awards the marks. This is a very popular event of the fish festival since visitors have the opportunity to taste real Szeged fish soup. The local fishermen's restaurants (halászcsárda) prepare typical and tasty local dishes in enormous kettles during the festival. Members of the 'Fish Cooking Order' (Halfőző Érdemrend) are, of course, also present at this series of events. The Order is unique since to win acceptance into the society potential members must prove their fidelity to the traditions of the particularly tasty Szeged fish soup by preparing fish dishes over a period of seven years. The first year participants receive an 'Order of the Iron Kettle' (Vasbogrács Érdemrend), and then over the years they may progress through the copper, bronze, silver, gold and diamond Kettle to achieve the title 'Lifelong Fish Chef' (Örökös Halfőző). Those who are awarded membership after seven years of loyalty receive their order of honour which is a diamond eyed silver fish, a gold kettle and flames studded with rubies. Let's include a couple of the side events too: a handcraft fair, popular and folk music programmes, water shows, concerts by the gypsy bands of Szeged and a wonderful firework display.