By Brandon HENSLEY
The foothills have long been a place where the Korean and Armenian communities have lived side by side, but now leaders in those communities have decided it’s time for the two cultures to fully embrace each other. In just over two weeks, a plan to do so will be put into action in the form of a weekend-long festival.
On Sept. 15 and Sept. 16, Crescenta Valley Park will host the inaugural Korean Armenian Cultural Festival, organized by the Korean-American Federation of North Los Angeles and the Armenian Community and Youth Center. There will be ethnic food, dance groups, a Ferris wheel, K-pops (Korean pop music), traditional music and martial arts, said Armenian community leader Arick Gevorkian.
“We live in such a harmonious area with different pockets of communities,” he said. “And we have so many things in common with Koreans as Armenian Americans – the love for the family, the respect for the elderly, spirituality, and acknowledgement of the heritage and the culture.”
The festival is from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and is sponsored by County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and Parks and Recreation.
Gevorkian said the festival idea started a year and a half ago and that it was time for both communities to get together. He met with Korean leaders, including main representative for the event James Pak, and presented this idea as a cultural event.
“This has never happened, by the way, anywhere in the world, to bring the Korean and Armenian cultures together,” he said.
The event is supported by many local organizations including the CV Town Council. Proceeds from the weekend will go toward CVTC scholarships and the Fire House, the youth center affiliated with St. Luke’s of the Mountains.
Gevorkian said the council has been “supporting us in any way that they can.”
He was also effusive in his praise of Pak and the Korean community.
“They’ve been wonderful. They’ve really embraced this as one community, one unit. We have meetings every week and [over] the last two years we’ve really narrowed the gap as far as going to each other’s events.
“James Pak is just a phenomenal gentleman,” he said. “An exemplary human.”
Gevorkian said response has been “pretty good so far,” but that it is tricky because if the public is notified too soon, they can easily forget about an event. He said the real push to promote is starting this week.
The festival has a Facebook page. For information on the event, go to facebook.com/cvkoreanarmenianfestival.