GLENDALE, CA – In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Armenia, the Nor Serount Cultural Association attracted thousands of attendees to Verdugo Park for its annual Armenian Independence Day Festival.

Community leaders and elected officials were present to join in on the festivities as well as pay homage to the struggle, strife and resilience of the Armenian people in establishing and maintaining a free and independent Armenia.

Representing His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian; Primate of Western Diocese of Armenian Church, the very Rev. Father Baret Yerecian and Father Mampre Kesabian presided over the opening ceremony with a prayer.

Among the elected officials were Congressman Adam Schiff, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, representatives from the office of Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman and Councilmembers Frank Quintero and Ara Najarian.

The festival, featured live performances by artists in the Armenian-American community who heightened a sense of pride and unity among fellow patrons who happily danced and cheered for the performers. This year too, the festive mood was highlighted by the Master of Ceremonies, Steve Hovagimian, who presented artists Hovannes Shahbazyan, Tiko Asatryan, Harut Hagopian, Arsham, Ara Martirosian, Kapo, Khatchik Karadanyan, Shiraz, Sarkis, violinist Allen, duduk performer Ruben Harutyunyan, and the 12 year old winner of the Hidden Talents Competition; singer Eliana Hakobyan.

Dazzling the audience of both young and elderly community members, the Nor Serount Dance Group and Lilia Dance Group made up of children between the ages of four and 16, included both traditional Armenian and modern dance routines. Preceding the dances, Sam’s Acrobatic Circus Academy members performed acrobatic acts which attracted thousands of amazed spectators huddled around the performance area to catch a glimpse of the mind-boggling stunts.

Several dozen booths adorned the area of the festival and featured various vendors. Among them were the California Armenian American Democrats (CAAD) who raised awareness on the civic participation of Armenian-Americans, encouraging them to become active and engaged citizens by becoming politically engaged. “I am very proud to announce that we registered over 200 voters and encouraged many others to join CAAD, which is the first ever Armenian-American Democratic organization chartered by the California Democratic Party,” said Chairman Caro Avanessian.

“We were extremely pleased on the turnout of this year’s festivities,” said Nor Serount Chairman, Harut Der-Tavitian. “Since its inception in 1999, our festival has grown to become an annual event that everyone in the greater Los Angeles community looks forward to partaking in. Not only are we providing free entertainment, but we are bringing the community together and educating non-Armenians and those who have not had the opportunity to learn about the Armenian culture.”

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