On October 24, 2015, St. John Armenian Church hosted the 73rd Annual Food Festival. This spectacular event is a major attraction that draws more than 1,000 visitors from the Greater Bay Area each year. The Festival is a cultural feast of Armenian flavors, authentic traditional cuisine that is handed down from generation to generation, Armenian folk music and dancing, showcasing Armenian artifacts from Armenia and bringing the community together.
Over the past four months the St. John ladies were preparing authentic Armenian foods and pastries under the leadership Ladies Society chairperson Christina Ardemis and Linda Lester. There was lots of laughter, fun, positive energy and love that added extra flavor to the delicious food they prepared.
Many in the congregation were involved with the festival preparation under the leadership of Dr. John Boghossian, from those who helped setup and take down the festival, prepare and serve meals, sell food for take-out, as well as the many young people and children that helped bus tables, sell raffle tickets, and Armenian coffee.
One of the highlights of this year's festival was the exceptional cultural program presented by Karoun Dance Ensemble and Louise Nalbandian. In the months prior to the event, Karoun director, Carol Kazarian works intensely with her core dancers, as well the young women of the Sunday School program to prepare a fancifully crafted and mesmerizing dance presentation. The ensemble flawlessly executed their folk dances, and in between numbers, the incomparable Louise Nalbandian beautifully sang two songs, the first a folk song by Komitas, and the second the famous Yerevan Tartsadz.
Parish Priest, Fr. Mesrop Ash, interviewed some of the volunteers about the Food Festival experience in the run up to the event. "You cannot find the same quality of food in the restaurants," said Richard Surabian, "it's a festive occasion when you get to be with your friends and family enjoy the meal and each other’s company and that’s what life is all about.” When why she would recommend the festival to a friend, Christina Artemis responded “to have a taste of our food and our community and just to have fun. It's totally awesome.”
This year, as in the past, the Food Festival was a clear success, the amount of volunteers hours and labor of love that was invested are truly immeasurable. On behalf of St. John Armenian Church a special thanks to our Food Festival Chairman, John Boghossian for his exceptional leadership, the members of Food Festival Committee, the devoted team coordinators, and our volunteers who unselfishly gave their time and energy in making this year’s Food Festival one of the best. Also our heartfelt gratitude to all the sponsors, contributors and everyone who attended and supported our festival. We look forward seeing you next year!