The Worcester “Aram” Chapter and Worcester Steering Committee are well underway planning for the 88th annual AYF Olympic Games set to take place over Labor Day weekend, September 1 – 5 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The home of the first AYF chapter was supposed to host the AYF Olympics back in 2020 and 2021, but plans were canceled and postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of venue commitments. This year is a much different story with nearly everything locked in place for the largest Armenian event on the east coast. The Worcester community is hosting its first Olympics since 1974 and has been working tirelessly to ensure the weekend’s festivities will be some of the most memorable in recent history.
The AYF Olympics is the primary fundraising event for the operating budget of the AYF-YOARF, enabling the organization to execute a variety of programs, including Junior Seminar, Senior Seminar, Junior Olympics, AYF Internship in Armenia and more. The Worcester Steering Committee encourages all supporters of the AYF to contribute to the Ad Book to help ensure the financial well-being of the organization we all hold so close to our hearts. To do your part in helping the AYF-YOARF hold a full schedule of programs in 2022 and beyond, please consider placing an ad in the Olympics Ad Book.
For lodging throughout the weekend, four hotels have been secured, three of which have already sold out (Hilton Garden Inn, AC Marriott and Courtyard Marriott). Rooms are still available at the Hampton Inn & Suites.
Athletic events will begin on Friday morning with golf, tennis and swimming. The weekend will kick off with the golf tournament, which will take place at Heritage Country Club, a beautiful, private 18-hole course in Charlton, MA. Alumni golf registration is now open for those interested in participating. Tennis will take place at Senator Daniel J. Foley Tennis Courts in Worcester, MA. Golf and tennis tournaments will begin at 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. sharp, respectively. Following tennis and golf, competitors will head to Clark University for the swim meet. Clark is a Division III program with a six-lane swimming pool. Swimming will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
All entertainment events will take place at the DCU Center, located right next to the Hilton Garden Inn and AC Marriott.
Friday night’s entertainment will begin with the Alumni Night reception at the DCU Center Ballroom with a set of new, fresh faces in The Norkef Ensemble. Composed of several current AYF members, the band will feature Datev Gevorkian (oud), Michael Kamalian (clarinet), Sam Sjostedt (bass) and Alek Surenian (percussion). The Alumni Night dance will begin at 7:00 p.m.
Following the Alumni Night reception, east-coast favorite Yerakouyn Band will hit the stage for the AYF Gala at 10:30 p.m. The Yerakouyn Band consists entirely of AYF alumni, all of whom started their entertainment careers playing at AYF events throughout the region. The band will feature Aram Hovagimian (keyboard), Raffi Massoyan (oud), Shant Massoyan (vocals/guitar), and Steve Vosbikian, Jr. (clarinet/pku/sax). Attendees can save over 25 percent by purchasing a Hye Pass, allowing entry for all of the weekend’s entertainment. Individual night tickets for Friday night are available for $60, which allows entry to both Alumni Night and the AYF Gala.
Saturday will kick off with a fan-favorite sporting event—the AYF softball tournament. The tournament typically features more than 10 softball teams, oftentimes consisting of chapters from the AYF-YOARF Eastern Region, AYF Canada and AYF Western Region. The softball tournament will take place at Haskell Field in Westborough, Massachusetts and will run from 8:00 a.m. until finish.
The third year of AYF Olympics three-on-three basketball will take place simultaneously during the softball tournament at the two outdoor basketball courts at Haskell Field. Last year, over 90 athletes participated in the basketball tournament. Basketball will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
After a long day of scoring runs and shooting hoops, athletes and attendees will head back to their hotels to get ready for the weekend’s headlining entertainment—Elie Berberian and his band, including Vagharshak Aleksanyan (clarinet/duduk), Paul Malakhanian (keyboard/arranger) and Marc Saad (percussion). The band performed at last year’s AYF Olympics in Providence—one of the most successful entertainment nights in AYF Olympics history. Then, Chris “Kidbibz” Habibian will start spinning his favorite tracks to keep the tradition of the AYF Hookup alive until the early hours of the morning. Individual tickets for the Saturday night festivities are on sale for $70.
After a long night of dancing, athletes will rest up for a few hours to prepare for the weekend’s premiere showcase of athletics—the track and field meet at Clinton High School in Clinton, Massachusetts. It’s the day with the most points up for grabs for a chance at the coveted AYF Olympic Cup. No one can forget last year’s unprecedented tie for first place between Greater Boston and Providence—the first ever in AYF Olympics history. This year, Greater Boston will be chasing its third consecutive championship. Providence will look to repeat, and Detroit will hope to build on its razor sharp third place finish from 2021.
Following the track and field events, chapters and coaches will gather to calculate their wins and losses from the individual events throughout the weekend. To quell the anticipation of the final result announcement, the attendees will gather at the AYF Olympic Grand Ball to hear the soothing sounds of the Olympics 2022 All Star Band, a conglomerate of talent with decades of musical experience. The All Star Band features Mal Barsamian (guitar), John Berberian (oud), Michael Gostanian (vocals), Hachig Kazarian (clarinet), Michael Kazarian (drum) and Steve Vosbikian (sax). No AYF Olympics is complete without the sounds of the All Star Band, as they continue to keep the music of our ancestors alive through their passionate performances year after year.
Midway through the night, the AYF-YOARF Central Executive will hop on stage to announce the final results of the weekend. This includes high scorers, outstanding records, pentathlon winners, the recipient of the Ernest Nahigian Sportsmanship Award, and last but not least, the winner of the highly sought-after AYF Olympic Cup. The weekend will culminate with the winning chapter dance, followed by a continuous night of dancing and traditions. Habibian will take the stage again after midnight for another round of the AYF Hookup and a few more hours of partying and celebration.
If you have questions, reach out to the Worcester Steering Committee. Follow updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok. To be added to the AYF Olympics mailing list, please fill out the contact form on the AYF Olympics website.