BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Armenians and Koreans in the Crescenta Valley have taken an important step forward in building community and having fun. Last weekend they organized the first Armenian-Korean festival, complete with carnival rides, both nations’ foods, music, and booths hawking everything from trinkets to real estate!
It was very hot in the Los Angeles basin, which may have put a damper on attendance at the festival, or that’s what I initially thought. But attendance was normal at the annual Khachveratz picnic the Musa Daghtzees organize to celebrate their holding off the Turks until their rescue by French warships in 1915. In all fairness, this event’s setting might have been a bit cooler because of its location in the mountains, but not by much. On the other hand, another new event, organized by the Burbank Homenetmen chapter, a hereeseh party also did not have a very high attendance.
So what’s the explanation for low turnout at such an important and inviting event (yummy food if nothing else!), that took a lot of heart and effort on the part of the organizers?
At least for the period of time I was at the festival, Armenian and Korean attendance seemed fairly equal. Therefore, anything I write is probably equally applicable to both communities.
Is it possible that both groups are insufficiently “Americanized” to get into the swing of the festival phenomenon that so many groups, from Cambodians to Cubans, Germans to Greeks, or Italians to Indonesians, put on? Maybe we’re still too ensconced in our respective ghettos.
More worrisome would be if at a “popular” level, mistrust between members of the two communities kept people away. Obviously, and fortunately, this is not an issue at the leadership level. Otherwise, the event would never have been imagined and implemented!
I must say I’m a bit stumped by this one.
But there is good news. A non-Armenian, non-Korean told those staffing the food ticket booth “you should do this again”. I heartily concur. It should be done again, and we should be encouraging all our friends, neighbors, and coworkers to participate. Or else, we will have no standing to complain about the “Anatolian Festival” organized by Gulenist groups in Orange County. By the way, the next one of those is scheduled for May 16-19, 2013 in Costa Mesa (and another one in Sydney, Australia on March 3).