About the Anna ball in Balatonfüred
The history of the Anna balls is the history of Balatonfüred since 1825. The balls were strated to be organised in the peaceful Reform era. After freedom fights, world wars and decades of socialist rule the Anna ball, the greatest social event of the town and of the country, is still organised, this year for the 190th time.
The Anna ball is traditionally the feast of debutants, when parents introduce their grown-up children to the society. The 18-year-old girls living in Balatonfüred are invited to the Ball by the town.The first Anna ball was organised on the 26th July 1825 in Balatonfüred in the Horváth house in respect of Anna Krisztina, the daughter of Fülöp János Szentgyörgyi Horváth. The house of the Horváth family was not only the centre of social life in Balatonfüred, but also a kind of spiritual workshop, where the prominent persons of the Reform era starting at the beginning of the 19th century gathered from time to time.
The „wise man of the nation”, Ferenc Deák, „the greatest Hungarian man”, István Széchenyi, and the hero of the 1838 Pest flood, Miklós Wesselényi often visited Balatonfüred. On her first ball, Anna met her future husband Ernő Kiss, who became one of the thirteen martyrs of Arad as Lieutenant General in the Hungarian Freedom fight of 1848-49.
For three years, Balatonfüred has organised a week-long festival around the Anna ball. This year the festival will be organised from 21 to 26 July.
As part of the festival, the Competiton for musicians named after the Gipsy violinist, János Lavotta is organised. During the two-day competiton, competitors have to play a compulsory and an optional piece of music, based on which the jury decides who is the best violinist.
The traditonal „heart fishing” is organised every year on the day preceeding the Anna ball, based on the short story „Heart fishing on Lake Balaton” by the famous Hungarian writer Gyula Krúdy. Participants on board of a boat try to fish wooden hearts from the Lake Balaton. As the first prize, participants can win two entrance tickets for the next year’s Anna ball.
At the event called „Opera Füred” the artists of the Hungarian State Opera present an open-air concert in Gyógy square. On the 23rd of July, the 45 member choir of the Hungarian State Opera give a concert, on the 24th of July, visitors can watch the Opera Gala, as the closing event, at which the opera entitled Rustic Chivalry by Pietro Mascagni and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera entitled Pagliacci will be show in Gyógy square in front of the State Hospital for Heart Deseases.
Every year the most beautiful young lady participating in the Anna ball is chosen as the Belle of the Ball, and two more ladies are chosen to be her maids of honour. The awarded ladies receive Herend porcelain vases as an offering from the Herend Porcelain Manufactury. The popularity of the Anna ball is well indicated by the fact that tickets for the ball held in July are all sold by spring every year.