MONTEBELLO–The Sound of drums beating, the rhythm of live Armenian music and aroma of shish kebab filled the air at Saturday’s First Annual Armenian Food Fair and Festival. Over 3,000 people came through the gates of the Holy Cross Cathedral for an unforgettable day of food and fun.
The festival menu ranged from old time favorites which included a choice of shish kebab or lule kebab dinner with smoked eggplant, salad and rice to specialties like Herrisa and Soujoukh Sandwiches and 1000 home-made piroshki prepared by Manik Ajemian, a local community member. The smell of fire burning enticed many to take a bite of the handmade lavash and cheese specialty prepared by Azniv Markarian.
After indulging in delicious foods, guests were eager to stroll around and join in all the festivities. Montebello’s Alex Dance Academy and ARS Nairy Chapter Saturday School students performed on stage as well the Krounk Dance Ensemble featuring Arman Martyrian, which performed in the evening. The crowd watched with pride, while non-Armenia’s were intrigued by the rich heritage, culture and traditions of the Armenian people. The Hosharian Bros Band provided spectacular Armenian music through the evening. As the sun went down, a drum circle of talented dumbeg players from the community formed.
It was a competitive day for Backgammon enthusiasts, who appeared to be enjoying an intense game at the Backgammon Tournament. The ending champions of the tournament were Margaret Bogan, First Place winner and Toros Kibricjian, Second Place winner.
With nearly sixty entries, children of all ages participated in the Guitar Hero Contest led by Arman Semerjian. The final winners were Matthew Trevino, First Place winner and Matthew Nazarian, Second Place winner playing the final song on “Hard” level” to “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns N’ Roses.
Children had fun jumping in the bouncy house, riding ponies, watching “Maggie” and merely running around the stage excited by all the wonderful music and festivities.
Those that joined the food demonstrations led by Denise Hagopian, had the opportunity to learn how to make lahmajoun from Nellie of Hye Bakery in Montebello, rice pilaf, and delicious home made string cheese by Sylva Kaloyan.
Vendors lined the lot offering a unique shopping experience for attendees from the Pampered Chef Booth, the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry to the Fiscal Credit Union. There was something for everyone at the Festival.
The day was filled with cultural pride, warmth and hospitality. The First Annual Armenian Food Fair and Festival was a significant and proud day for the Montebello community. From the vital support of sponsors, monetary and in-kind donations to the endless contributions of the Festival Committee, “We had a great team working hard to make sure everything ran’smoothly prior to and during the event. Each and every individual in the Festival committee played an integral role in preparing for this event and brought different strengths to the team.” said Anita Altounian, Event Chairperson. We are proudly looking forward to next year’s festival and are eager to start planning for 2009.
For more information on next year’s festival, please contact Holy Cross Cathedral at (323)727-1113 or by visiting www.ArmenianFoodFair.com