Hollywood, Little Armenia – The Armenian Cultural Foundation in conjunction with The Armenian Youth Federation-Western Region hosted a festival in commemoration of the Armenian independence, which was established on May 28, 1918. The festival was cosponsored by Councilmen Garsettiís office and took place on Hollywood Blvd between the streets of Alexandria and Vermont in Little Armenia between 10am and 6pm with 7,000 locals in attendance, including Los Angeles Mayor, Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa.
The festival featured well-known singers and performers such as, Harout Jekelian, Ara Shahbazian, Shavarsh Kevorkian, Vokee, Element, Arsham Baberian, Ara Sahagian, Antoine Bezdjian, Sako, Paul, Gor, Karnig Sarkissian, and Nersig Ispirian most of which were accompanied by the Knar Band. In addition to the many singers there were also various dance groups that performed traditional and contemporary Armenian folk dances. A highlight of the event was the visit by Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villeragosa. The mayor not only greeted the crowd but joined them in a dance as well.
The festivals intention was to promote the Armenian culture and raise awareness within the greater Los Angeles community. The intentions of the organizing committee were met and surpassed; the festival encompassed the Armenian culture in its vast entirety through different vendors, entertainers, performers, writers and traditional Armenian foods, and artifacts.
Amongst the Armenian organizations which participated in the festival include, the Armenian Relief Society, Shant Student Association, Homenetmen (Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts), United Human Rights Council, and Armenian National Committee of America. The different organizations present were able to promote the various ways Armenians and the community can partake in the matters of the Armenian Cause.
“It is important for the Armenian community to remember May 28th and the importance of it to all Armenians. On this day, our freedom fighters stood steadfast and strong against the Ottoman Army, by doing so they were able to salvage what was left of Armenian soil. If it wasnít for them, who knows what may have happened to the Armenian population today”, said Nora Ounjian, event coordinator. “Every year we also remember and pay tribute to our soldiers who fought and died for our freedom here in the United States as well.”