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Armenia Represented at City of Alexandria’s Inaugural International Festival

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

Armenian folk dancing on stage.

October 26, 2015

By Danielle Saroyan

Armenian Agenda Associate Editor

On Saturday, October 24, over 500 people attended the City of Alexandria’s Inaugural International Festival, which featured a popular representation of Armenian culture.

The City of Alexandria, Virginia collaborated with the Armenian Network of America’s Washington, D.C. (ArmNet-DC) Regional President Meganoosh Avakian and the Knights & Daughters of Vartan to discuss the event and help organize the Armenian presence at the festival. Alexandria, as a sister city of Gyumri, Armenia, used to hold the Alexandria Armenian Festival. This year, they turned it into an International Festival instead, including more nations and cultures.

“The Inaugural Alexandria International Festival was a great beginning to a new tradition for the City of Alexandria. I think this new multi-cultural festival will be a great continuation from the Alexandria Armenian Festival which was held for 21 years,” ArmNet-DC Regional President Meganoosh Avakian told Armenian Agenda. “Sharing Armenian culture and history with our neighbors and community is what it’s always been about.  Our efforts resulted in a long standing friendship with the City of Alexandria calling us every year to come back and showcase our rich heritage,” Avakian said.

The Armenian delegation included music, dancing, pastries, clothing, and art. The pastry table was operated by the Daughters of Vartan, who brought baklava, cheese boreg, feta cheese, cookies, kadaif, and other Armenian treats. Another booth featured Armine’s Designs, which consisted of homemade scarves and jewelry. ArmNet-DC organized the third booth, which featured Armenian trinkets, books, and other gifts available for purchase.

The Daughters of Vartan’s Armenian pastry table.

Armenian Network of America’s booth at the International Festival.

Around 4:00 PM, Arev Dance Group instructor Carolyn Rapkievian came onstage dressed in traditional Armenian garments and spoke about Armenia and Armenian culture. While the three-person band of an oud, tambourine, and drum played traditional folk music, Rapkievian taught Armenian dances to the crowd, such as the Haleh and Tamzara. She invited the audience members to join her onstage, which included children and Armenians from the community, such as Armenian Assembly Public Affairs Associate Danielle Saroyan. Everyone was holding pinkies and dancing together, Armenian-style. Overall, Alexandria’s International Festival was a great opportunity to showcase Armenian culture for the community.

Arev Dance Group instructor Carolyn Rapkievian dressed in traditional Armenian garments.

Photographs courtesy of Jeff Urban. To see more click here.

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