the Holiday Folk Fair
I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Every year, the city sponsored
a very popular three-day holiday folk fair. More than fifty nationalities
participated, and every year for well more than twenty years,
our small church represented the Armenian nationality.
Everyone in the church was involved in making our booth one of
the best food and cultural booths in the event. Our food was
always very popular. We sold lamajuen, sarma, boregs, and a variety
of Armenian pastries. Believe it or not, our food sale revenue
always ranked among the highest at the fair. We also worked hard
to make sure that the cultural focus of our booth changed every
year. One year we would focus on the Armenian alphabet; other
years we would demonstrate the arts of Armenian crocheting, rug
making, or cooking. Our church sponsored an Armenian folk dance
group, which I was a member of, and we performed for large audiences
twice a day throughout the weekend.
The fair ended about five years ago for our church community,
but, for more than two decades, our little church made sure that
the Armenians were a consistent presence. Even today, not many
Armenians live in the Milwaukee area, and many people in the
greater community are not familiar with Armenians, so our participation
in the fair was a great opportunity for us to bring the Armenian
culture to the Midwest.
Karen Durgarian, Hopkinton, Massachusetts