Alexandria hosted the 17th Annual Armenian Festival on Saturday, June 6 at Market Square. The festival is an annual charity event that benefits Alexandrias sister city, Gyumri, in Armenia. Co-sponsored by Alexandrias Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities and the Alexandria-Gyumri Sister City Committee, the event celebrates various aspects of Armenian culture.
This years festival featured a variety of Armenian food, live music, traditional folk dances and several distinguished speakers, including Rep. Jim Moran (D-8), Mayor Bill Euille, Vice Mayor Del Pepper and Virginia Senator Patsy Ticer. Attendees also heard from Varuzhan Nercessian, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Armenia, who praised the city for hosting the event.
Live musicians included vocalist Vivian Chakarian, teen violinist Arec Jamgochian, award-winning pianist Armine Khatchatryan and The Armenian Quartet, who performed original arrangements of Armenian folk tunes with a jazz twist.
Special entertainment was provided by the Arax Armenian Dance Ensemble, one of the foremost Armenian dance groups on the East Coast. Led by Artistic Director Carolyn Rapkievian, the group performed its unique line and circle dances in authentic Armenian folk costumes.
We strive to keep Armenian culture and traditions alive and to educate communities about Armenian heritage through dance, Rapkievian said.
In addition to live entertainment, the festival offered information about Armenian-American groups. Vendors also sold CDs, books, T-shirts, jewelry, sweets and other souvenirs.
Proceeds from the festival support the humanitarian and educational needs of Gyumris children.