This year, St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Costa Mesa held its 10th Annual Armenian Food Festival on October 6th and 7th. The festival was held on the church grounds and had record attendance! People came out to enjoy delicious homemade Armenian foods like shish kebab, rice pilaf, cheese beoreg, and stuffed grape leaves.
Our fantastic desserts like baklava, nazoog, and all kinds of cookies were so enjoyable with a cup of Armenian coffee. The vegetarian booth has become so popular with our large assortment of vegetarian options that included eech, eggplant and vospov kufteh. This year, in our drink booth we included tahn for some variety. The food, of course, is only one aspect of our Armenian Festival.
Our culture also includes music and dance! We are one of the very few festivals that still provide live music, all day, both days, and for that we had the fantastic Hosharian Brothers Band. Our St. Mary Dance Class got up and started the traditional line dancing, then our festival goers took over and included some solo dancing. We also had dance performances by the Patille Dance Studio, which had the young ones dancing, (so sweet!), and the Ara Melkonian Dancers, with high kicking & jumping young adults showing us what they could do. The audience just loved seeing all the dancers in traditional Armenian costumes and were clapping in rhythm to the dancers’ beat! We also treated our guests to the ancient and traditional music of the duduk, played by Armen Stepanyan, and the kanoon played by Lilit Khojayan.
At our Festival, this year, we had a children’s concert with the world renown Taline & Friends! Tickets to that show sold out quickly, and it was great to see so many children enjoying themselves. Speaking of children, we had musical performances from the students at AG Minassian School, and the AGBU Saturday School, (who also provided us with some Armenian poetry!). Then at the KidZone there was fun for all ages. In keeping with our harvest theme, we had pumpkin decorating, arts & crafts, face painting, and a petting zoo! The older kids played at our game truck, and everyone enjoyed the bounce house and bubble machine.
It was wonderful to see so many people take Der Moushegh’s Church Tour, where they could learn little about our Armenian religion and history. As in year’s past, we also had a wide variety of vendors for shopping, including cultural items, jewelry, books, toys & CDs.
Our Festival was a huge success this year because of all the dedicated volunteers. It was a lot of work, but also a fun filled weekend seeing old friends, making new ones and exposing our culture to many, many non-Armenians. Mark your calendars for next year’s festival, October 5th & 6th, I know you won’t want to miss out on this once a year, exciting event!
For more information, please visit the festival website: www.stmaryarmenianfestival.com