GLENDALE—Armenian culture and traditions came to life over the course of two days for thousands, who visited the Glendale Civic Auditorium for the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA’s 11th Annual Cultural and Food Festival from May 5 to 6.
A line-up of displays on the first floor of the auditorium offered welcoming attractions to festival-goers, including lavash bread and string cheese making demonstrations; traditional Armenian costumes from regions including Kharpert and New Julfa; a look back into history with exhibits by Armenian compatriotic unions; artwork; and an intriguing display of stamp collections covering literature, sports, history, and anniversaries.
A special section, also on the first floor, designated for children proved fun and entertaining for youth, who ran from one game booth to the next to claim prizes and also enjoyed a special face-painting station.
As more and more crowds gathered, not even the fact that there was only standing room available on the second floor of the auditorium during certain times of the day seemed to faze spectators. Rather, visitors closely followed and joined in on the lively performances by renowned Armenian singers and back-to-back performances by dance groups, such as Lilia Dance Studio and Van Dance Group, which showcased the talents of young children and teenagers.
On both days of the festival, Arshalous Darpinyan and Hourig Fournouzian MC-ed the program. The re-enactment of a traditional Armenian wedding by Saro’s Dance Group proved to be a continued festival favorite, whereby a procession of a near 30-member group dressed in costume recreated its merriment. The wide variety of foods was also a pull and most appetizing for guests, who enjoyed kebab plates, sandwiches, pastries, and more.
An exciting finale performance by singer Joseph Krikorian, drawing festival attendees and ARS members to the dance floor, capped off another successful community event.
“Year after year, we see a growing turnout from both the Armenian and non-Armenian community at the ARS festival, which offers a unique exposure to our culture and, at the same time, acquaints people with the ARS,” said Emma Garabetian, Co-Chairperson of the ARS Regional Festival Committee.