ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Last weekend, in the center of Alexandria, a line of citizens stretched from a food-vendor location to the intersection of N. Royal Street and King Street, and turning left extended further down on the sidewalk. Somewhat similar to Black Friday’s lines, the uncommonly long queue of citizens was set to purchase Armenian barbeque, zhengyalov hatz bread-rolls, lahmajoon and lavash.
The Armenian festival of Alexandria was back at the Market Square on October 23 and 24, drawing unexpectedly great excitement from both Armenians as well as non-Armenians.
“Nearly 1,500 visitors purchased Armenian food in two days,” said Marianna Agekyan, the organizer of the event with her committee, after checking the transaction records, adding, “Roughly between three to four thousand people came to the festival in two days.”
In 1990, on the coincidence that Armenia’s city of Gyumri was called Aleksandropol in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Gyumri and Virginia’s Alexandria became twin towns. Ever since, annual Armenian festivals on Alexandria’s main square took place, organized by the parish councils of the two Armenian churches of the area, Soorp Khach and St. Mary, and the Knights of Vartan. until 2013. This year it was revived.