Kristóf István, Founder of the Budapest Circus Festival Died

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Kristóf István, Founder of the Budapest Circus Festival Died

Kristóf István, a Hungarian circus performer with numerous national and international accolades, including the Silver Clown from the Monte Carlo (1977) Circus Festival, died at 82.

István Kristóf was born in 1941 in a circus car. His father wanted him to follow his legacy and become an animal trainer, but István wanted to be an aerialist. He started learning trapeze numbers with his sister in the late 50s.

Later, with friends, he formed the HUNOR aerial group with a unique artistic concept: they combined aerial gymnastics bars with a swing in the air. For the rest of his performing career, he performed with his wife, Ilona Sallai, a duo teeterboard and Perch act, that won the Silver Clown in Monte Carlo in 1977.

Due to an injury, their artist career ended, so in 1988, he became the director of the Budapest State Circus, which he led for 24 years.

One of his notable achievements during his residency at the Capital Circus was establishing the Budapest Circus Festival in 1996. Under his leadership, the biannual festival event became one of the most recognized circus festivals in the world.

He sat on the jury of numerous circus festivals worldwide, including Monte Carlo, Latina, and many more.

Kristof is survived by his son, Kristian, an award-winning juggler and company manager at Recirquel.

Photo@ Adam Urban
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