ROYAL OAK, Mich. — The 15th Annual Armenia Fest took place on Saturday July 22nd, at the historic Farmers Market in downtown Royal Oak Michigan. Over 2,500 attendees from across Michigan and nearby states were greeted with the sounds of live Armenian folk music performed by the Armenia Fest All Star Band including featured guest star, Michael Kamalian on Clarinet, under the direction of Maestro Vaughn Masropian. The market was filled with colorful vendor booths featuring Armenian pottery, trinkets, baked goods and jewelry. Adding to the festive atmosphere was the aroma of delicious Armenian food. Guests dined on a variety of kebabs, lamajoun (Armenian pizza), basterma, grape leaves, pastries and breads prepared by local caterers and church organizations.
One of the highlights of the Fest was the presentation of Armenian folk dancing by the local Hamazkayin Arax Dance Troupe under the skilled direction of Nayiri Karapetian. assisted by Dickran Callan. The troupe consisting of 94 dancers of various ages in dazzling ethnic costumes brought the crowd to their feet with amazing precision performances.
Another highlight is the annual Choereg (Armenian Bread) competition where local clergy judge entries to determine the best Choereg! This year’s winner was the St. Sarkis Women’s Guild with a close second won by a member of the Fundukian family! A fun-filled night for all.
This annual admission free Festival is open to the general public under the patronage of the Knights of Vartan, Detroit Nareg Savarshan Lodge. The credit for the success of this much-anticipated annual Festival goes to the generous sponsors, donors, and advertisers. This year’s sponsors included the Mardigian Family Foundation, Hagopian Family of Companies, Robert Ajemian Foundation, Simon Javizian, Armenian Community Center, Crispelli’s Bakery and Pizzeria, Herman Hintiryan Family, Matthew Bedikian, Highland House Restaurant, Shakeh Basmjian and Family and Helen Parnagian Corrigan.
The Armenia Fest Committee comprises local American-Armenian activists who help to organize throughout the year, events and programs like Armenia Fest celebrating and perpetuating the rich Armenian cultural and heritage. Each year proceeds from the festival are donated by the Committee to humanitarian Armenian causes. This year’s proceeds are being earmarked to specifically help the Armenian population affected by the inhumane blockade being imposed by Azerbaijan. The Armenians of Artsakh are fighting each day for their freedom and self-determination in their ancestral homeland.
Armenia Fest is proud to be recognized as one of the largest ethnic festivals in Oakland County.