TROY, N.Y. — The annual Troy Armenian Festival, hosted by the Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Church, is a celebration of great food and cultural pride.
"We are the only Armenian church in the city of Troy," commented church chairman Antranig Karageozian. "This is our biggest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds will go to the operational costs of the church, and this year towards renovating the Sunday School classroom."
The church hall was filled with tables where people could sit to enjoy their meals. A long row of tables at the back was filled with raffle prizes, all donated by local businesses. Another, even longer row of tables along the side of the room was filled with Armenian baked goods for sale.
Outside, in the church yard, a tent was set up where festival attendees could eat outside, enjoying the beautiful day. A bouncy house and soccer game were set up for entertainment, and Armenian music played in the background.
"Later tonight we'll light the place up, and it will be a lovely little evening under the stars," commented Karageozian.
The church has gained some recent attention with a cooking show on WNYT. They also are going to do a radio show next Friday on WAMC, at 2pm.
All of the food served at the festival this weekend was very fresh. Ingredients were purchased the Thursday prior, and the members of the church ladies' guild immediately began preparing the food for cooking.
Within the first hour of the festival, 60 dinners had been sold. It's not hard to understand why – the food offered at the festival was very good.
Each dinner came with very generous portions of chicken, beef, salad, bread, and rice with noodles. The meats were moist and flavorful, and very well seasoned. The rice and noodle side dish provided a good, light flavor that contrasted well with the richness of the meats. Everything was cooked perfectly.
Later in the afternoon, four young ladies dressed in traditional costumes danced to Armenian folk songs to the delight of the crowd.
Classes are offered at the church on Friday evenings to teach children in the Armenian community about their culture, from how to speak the language to how to do folk dances. The classes are all taught by volunteers, mostly parents and grandparents of the children.
For everyone at the Troy Armenian Festival this weekend, it was a wonderful coming together to celebrate their heritage and enjoy a very good meal.