ROYAL OAK, Mich. — A rich collage of Armenian culture greeted a record crowd on a perfect summer night as they arrived at the Royal Oak Farmers Market for the 10th Annual Armenia Fest. Live Armenian folk and contemporary music from the Armenia Fest All-Star Band under the direction of Vaughn Masropian provided a vibrant backdrop for this anticipated annual festival. Special musical guests included the renowned Hachig Kazarian on the clarinet and local pop and Armenian folk singer Ani from Ani Band.
The festival formally opened with introductions by Fest Co-Chairs David Terzibashian and Ed Bedikian, who welcomed the crowd and introduced special guests Michigan State Representatives Klint Kesto and Mike Kowall who were instrumental in the passage of HB-4493, mandating genocide education in Michigan schools. Following introductions, the American and Armenian national anthems were performed flawlessly by Rubik Mailian, music director at St. John Armenian Church, accompanied by Harry Hovakimian, violinist. The rich Armenian culture showcased elicited rousing applause.
Highlights included two performances by the Hamazkayin Arax Dance Troupe composed of local youth trained in the art of Armenian Folk Dance. Their enthusiasm, beautiful costuming and animated dance routines brought the crowd to their feet.
Guests enjoyed authentic Armenian food prepared by Gary Reizian’s Uptown Deli, interesting vendor booths and dancing under the stars — a magical trip to Armenia via the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market. This year a special addition of “Mickey Mouse” and a face painter provided entertainment for children attending the Fest.
The Armenia Fest Committee members to date have presented 10 successful Armenia Fests for metro Detroit American Armenians. The event is accomplished in collaboration with the Knights of Vartan, Nareg Sharvashan Lodge, and committee members are Edward Bedikian, co-chair, David Terzibashian, co-chair, Ray Boujoulian, Corinne Khederian, Vaughn Masropian, Hagop Alexanian, Paul Kulhanjian, Ken Khezarjian, Shirley Sarkisian, Angela Hagopian Snow, Madeline Thomasian and Pam Coultis. Proceeds are earmarked for Armenian humanitarian projects —doing good while having fun.