Hundreds attended the annual Sts. Vartanantz Church Food Festival on Saturday and Sunday, September 23rd and 24th, held on church grounds for the second year in a row. Dozens of dedicated church members began arriving on church grounds early in the morning. By 6 a.m., the grills were fired up and the layout was coming into reality.
Just before the event was opened up to the public, Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian prayed with the volunteers, asking God to bless the work of our hands and for our brothers and sisters in Artsakh. A prayer service for Artsakh was also held at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Volunteers spent months preparing for this church fundraising event. Helping hands from the novice to the experienced baked during the day and made kufteh at night. The event was organized by festival co-chairs Arees Khatchadourian and Garo Tashian.
This year a massive effort was made to gain a social media influence for our festival, and it paid off. We drew in many neighbors and visitors from all over the state to help make the festival a huge success. Over 1600 dinners (shish, losh and chicken), 300 falafel and 150 soujoukh sandwiches were sold.
Traditional Armenian music played by two bands throughout the weekend, as well as a performances on Saturday and Sunday by our Hamazkayin Artsakh Dance Troupe.
Recently, events in Artsakh have caused the Armenian world to be somber with the evolving news. In a time where our people are being persecuted in Artsakh and other places, we are reminded of how important it is to remain strong in our faith as we preserve our culture, nation, and people.
The festival emphasized spreading Artsakh awareness in many ways:
– every news segment, every radio segment and every social media influencer who spoke of the event mentioned Artsakh and the Genocide taking place there.
– Jars were placed at every station over the weekend raising over $1,500 dollars for Artsakh.
– A booth was staffed by the AYF-YOARF which continually displayed a PowerPoint presentation with information on the current events happening in Artsakh and answering the questions of the public.
– Every politician who came to the event spoke of the Genocide taking place when giving their remarks.
Though we were faced with bad weather all weekend, we were blessed by our Lord with incredible attendance as our community came together and very successfully held a food festival that will be remembered for many years.