Who Knew?

Saturday night FaceTime call with Ara Topouzian, Michael Kazarian, Ross Bagdasarian and Alec Sarafian

We are old family friends.  That friendship began with our parents through the AYF. Our Dads, both Olympic Kings, actually met at an AYF Olympics. On a phone call earlier today, we started joking about our amazement that non-Armenians (we hesitated to use the word ‘odar’) actually have things to occupy their time and provide them with entertainment over Labor Day weekend. If it weren’t for the postponement of the AYF Olympics, we may have never discovered this whole new world. It is kind of a parallel universe where people actually think they are having as much fun as we are at the Olympics.

Mark Gavoor: Who knew our neighborhood had a community picnic on Sunday of Labor Day weekend… every year since 2000? Kids running around having fun, but no Armenian music.

Ara Topouzian: As a kid, I always thought Olympics was held on Labor Day weekend because it was the last hurrah before school started. Who knew Michigan had other activities that weekend! 

M.G.: Apparently, my university has always had classes on the Friday of Labor Day weekend. Of course, I heard such rumors, but I thought they were kidding. Who knew?

A.T.: Albeit this year most activities are virtual. The Michigan State Fair, where you can see cows, sheep and scary clowns, is held in Novi, MI this weekend. I think there are far better characters to see at the Olympics. Most of them don’t bite either!

M.G.: On Labor Day weekend, I just found out many of my neighbors grill-up and feast on bratwurst or Polish sausage with almost the same gusto and fervor (or so they think) that we have for kebab. Who knew?

A.T.: Arts, Beats & Eats. It seems to be a big thing here in Detroit. Well, I must admit, I kind of heard this was going on Labor Day weekends. Just realized that it’s been going on this day for decades! It’s a big deal. Who knew?

M.G.: Apparently, there is an Art Festival in Lake Forest every Labor Day weekend for years. Who knew?

A.T.: International Detroit Jazz Festival. One of the largest jazz music festivals to take place in the country is always on this weekend. Legends like Dave Brubeck and Herbie Hancock, some of the major musicians played in Detroit that weekend. Who knew?

M.G.: I guess they had to get those “legends” as the real legends like John, Hachig, Onnik, Mal, Carnig, Harout, Ara, Richard, Armenchik and others are playing the Olympics.

A.T.: Cider mills? I thought they always opened up after we got home from Olympics! Nope. Franklin Cider Mill by my house opens the same day as the alumni dance!  

M.G.: We used to go to that Cider Mill as well, but the only Franklin that means anything to any us on Labor Day weekends is in Massachusetts…not Michigan.

Live and learn… who knew?

Detroit’s Ross Bagdasarian and Dina Sarafian Topalian running the torch 1986 Boston Olympics
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Mark Gavoor is Associate Professor of Operations Management in the School of Business and Nonprofit Management at North Park University in Chicago. He is an avid blogger and oud player.
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Ara Topouzian

Ara Topouzian

Ara Topouzian is an Armenian-American musician whose proficiency at the Kanun (Middle Eastern harp) has made him a nationally-recognized artist.

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