RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (DesertSun.com) — Coachella Valley residents were able to enjoy a bit of Armenia over Veterans Day weekend. St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert hosted an Armenian Cultural Festival on Saturday and Sunday [November 12-13]. It is the 14th annual festival for the church, attracting hundreds of guests to enjoy Armenian food, music and dancing. [The festival committee reported on November 14 to the Armenian Mirror-Spectator that in fact, this year a new record was set for the number of visitors, which reached 3,385 in total over the two days of the festival.]
Vartan Nazerian, chair of the parish council, said the church was established 17 years ago but its building was built 11 years ago. The festival was held on the land before the church was constructed, he said.
“It’s basically, this festival is the source of income for the whole year for the church,” he said.
The church asks for a $3 donation to enter, though children under 12 and veterans can enter for free. Booths at the event sell items like jewelry, clothing and hair care. Hamazkayin Ani Dance Company performed traditional dances and there was live music from David Samuelian, Aram Lepedjian and DJ Greg.
Garbis Hindoyan, vice chair of the parish council, said it makes them happy to see many of the festival attendees include non-Armenians. He said the church is expecting around 3,000 guests on Saturday and Sunday.