By Danielle Saroyan
Armenian Agenda Associate Editor
On Saturday, October 24, over 500 people attended the
City of Alexandria’s Inaugural International Festival, which featured a popular
representation of Armenian culture.
The City of Alexandria, Virginia collaborated with the
Armenian Network of America’s Washington, D.C. (ArmNet-DC) Regional President Meganoosh
Avakian and the Knights & Daughters of Vartan to discuss the event and help
organize the Armenian presence at the festival. Alexandria, as a sister city of
Gyumri, Armenia, used to hold the Alexandria Armenian Festival. This year, they
turned it into an International Festival instead, including more nations and
“The Inaugural Alexandria International Festival was a
great beginning to a new tradition for the City of Alexandria. I think this new
multi-cultural festival will be a great continuation from the Alexandria
Armenian Festival which was held for 21 years,” ArmNet-DC Regional President Meganoosh
Avakian told Armenian Agenda. “Sharing Armenian culture and history with our
neighbors and community is what it’s always been about. Our efforts resulted
in a long standing friendship with the City of Alexandria calling us every year
to come back and showcase our rich heritage,” Avakian said.
The Armenian delegation included music, dancing,
pastries, clothing, and art. The pastry table was operated by the Daughters of
Vartan, who brought baklava, cheese boreg, feta cheese, cookies, kadaif, and
other Armenian treats. Another booth featured Armine’s Designs, which consisted
of homemade scarves and jewelry. ArmNet-DC organized the third booth, which featured
Armenian trinkets, books, and other gifts available for purchase.
Around 4:00 PM, Arev Dance Group instructor Carolyn
Rapkievian came onstage dressed in traditional Armenian garments and spoke about
Armenia and Armenian culture. While the three-person band of an oud, tambourine,
and drum played traditional folk music, Rapkievian taught Armenian dances to
the crowd, such as the Haleh and Tamzara. She invited the audience members to
join her onstage, which included children and Armenians from the community,
such as Armenian Assembly Public Affairs Associate Danielle Saroyan. Everyone
was holding pinkies and dancing together, Armenian-style. Overall, Alexandria’s
International Festival was a great opportunity to showcase Armenian culture for
Photo Captions 1: Armenian folk dancing on stage.
Photo Caption 2: The Daughters of Vartan’s Armenian pastry table.
Photo Caption 3: Arev Dance Group instructor Carolyn
Rapkievian dressed in traditional Armenian garments.
Photo Caption 4: Armenian Network of America’s booth
at the International Festival.
Photographs courtesy of Jeff Urban. To see more click here.