On June 9, the Metro Detroit Armenian Community came together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia in what was a massive celebration drawing almost 2,000 in attendance, who enjoyed the evening with great Armenian food and music.
The event was held at the historic Greenmead Park in Livonia, which was set up with three massive tents for music, food, and Armenian vendors. People spent time visiting the different tents and enjoying authentic Armenian food. Venders set-up booths selling Armenian products such as Alex and Ani jewelry, Aren 925 bracelets, Armenian paintings, weavings, an Armenian sweet table (organized by Detroit’s ARS chapters) and more. Also on display were traditional Armenian rugs and several live discussion sessions led by renowned rug expert Hratch Kozibeyokian from Los Angeles. The Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Michigan was was present during the day, hosting politicians taking part in the festivities.
Several live performances took place throughout the event by Sean Blackman, Onnik Dinkjian, Sofi Mkheyan, Shant Masoyan, and Karnig Sarkissian. The opening ceremonies included the presentation of the flags by the Homenetmen scouts, followed by a beautiful rendition of the American and Armenian national anthems by Shant Masoyan. St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church pastor, Father Hrant Kevorkian, offered the opening prayer.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau member unger Khatchig Mouradian delivered the keynote in English and Armenian, during which he commended the organizing committee who had worked for several months to host such the event. Mouradian also praised the youth in attendance, stating: “The best gift we can give our nation is to stay engaged with our local Armenian communities”.
Sean Blackman (Detroit) opened the performances with In Transit Detroit, including mixing in some nice Armenian songs by Ani Patterson. Shant Masoyan (New Jersey) followed by singing Armenian hit songs that fired up the crowd. Legendary Armenian singer Onnik Dinkjian and his band followed singing many traditional Armenian songs that had the crowd dancing up a storm. Sofi Mkheyan from Yerevan then performed for a 90 minute set, after which patriotic songs by Karnig Sarkissian and his band capped off the evening. The passionate crowd enjoyed every minute and the energy was felt through each and every song. The Masters of Ceremonies—Adi Asadoorian and Shant Jamgotchian—kept the festival moving along all day.
The Hamazkayin Arax dance groups had a major role in the entertainment as they performed their special dances in tribute to the 100th anniversary with singers Sofi Mkheyan and Karnig Sarkissian. The dance group put in a lot of work to prepare for the event, led by their instructor Nayiri Karapetian and co-instructor Dickran Callan. The community’s youth were front and center performing with the famous singers.
The event was supported by a large raffle throughout the day. The co-chairs of the raffle committee Sosi Palanjian and Karyn Chopjian worked hard on selling tickets. The raffle grand prize of a two-year lease of a Ford Escape or $5,000 was won by Bedros Boghossian from Michigan.
The event energized the community and provided a nostalgic night all attendees. Though first several hours of the event say some rain, it did not stop the community from coming together for the historic anniversary.Congratulations to the community for a very successful and historic event and hats off to the many volunteers who made the event a huge success.