By Isiah REYES
Dance groups, drums ensembles, traditional foods and much more were enjoyed by all who attended the 3rd Annual Armenian Korean Cultural Festival at Crescenta Valley High School on Oct. 11.
Some of the performances during the festivities included the Han Earl’s Children Choir, Hiza Loo’s Korean Dance Institute, a tae kwon do martial arts exhibition by World Martial Arts Academy, and Genesis K-Pop Group.
“These are two communities that mean so much to this area and to this region,” said 43rd District Assemblymember Mike Gatto. “Members of these communities have come here and immigrated to this country and work so hard to be an integral part of the fabric of Crescenta Valley and the city of Glendale. It only makes sense that these two communities would come together, form a festival, and celebrate their heritages so that we can understand each other better and so that we can work together so that everybody has their piece of the American dream.”
He then presented a certificate of recognition on behalf of the California state legislation.
This year marked the first that the Latino community was also part of the festivities. There was salsa dancing portion to the program and Latin music played throughout the day.
“If I could explain this event in one sentence, it’s all about recognizing the diversity in our community and celebrating our unity at the same time,” said Glendale Unified School District Board Member Dr. Armine Gharpetian. “I believe it is our responsibility to teach our young generation that it is a blessing to live in a community with such a diverse, colorful, rich culture and tradition.”
The festival event is designed to offer fun activities for all ages but to also strengthen community partnerships and relations between the Armenian and Korean communities.
“It is truly heart warming to see volunteers of all ages working side by side to make this event a success,” said Dr. Carmen Ohanian, co-chair of the organizing committee. She added that Crescenta Valley High School was chosen for this event so that the younger generation would respect each other’s differences at a young age.
The event also included many vendors who sold items of Korean and Armenian culture as well as vendors who promoted their local businesses. One of the vendors was Robert Hansen, who has lived in the Crescenta Valley area since 1977. He said he has witnessed a tremendous influx of different ethnic families who have come to the town during the past 40 years.
“When I came to this community, it was mostly quiet, single family residences, white, and upper middle class. Then everybody found this place tucked up here hidden behind the mountains and people realized what a beautiful place it is and I can’t blame them for wanting to live here,” Hansen said. “There should be one of these events every six months.”
Friendship, understanding, sharing and collaborating were the main themes of the Armenian Korean Festival. Because the event has grown every year, the possibility of it taking place next year grows as well.
The event is co-sponsored and organized by the Crescenta Valley Armenian American Community Center and the Korean American Federation of North Los Angeles. It is also supported by local businesses, Glendale Unified School District, the Crescenta Valley Town Council and various non-profit organizations and youth student associations.