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Lots of games for the kids. (Photo by V. Demirjian)

St. Thomas Armenian Church was absolutely thriving this past Monday at the annual Memorial Day Picnic and Food Festival! Despite any clouds, it was a truly delightful day at our church, with a constant flow of visitors from beginning to end. The event was a tremendous success!

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Beating the heat in the Atrium. (Photo by A. Manukyan)

People of all ages, volunteers, parishioners and other visitors alike, enjoyed their time both indoors and outside as they had delicious homemade Armenian kebabs of lamb, chicken and beef, all marinated to perfection, or gyro, with a side of St. Thomas’ famous flavorful rice pilaf and salad. The buttery and flaky cheese boregs were a great hit as always, as were the stuffed grape leaves! A variety of traditional desserts were sold, including baklavas and katayif, as well as the popular mushebbeck, a light and fried dessert, lovingly made fresh to order and goes perfectly with an Armenian coffee. Smiles were everywhere!

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DJ Shant, spinning Armenian and pop hits. (Photo by V. Demirjian)

While the weather did hold up for most of the day, everyone had the option to enjoy their time in the comfortably air-conditioned (Mekhjian) Atrium and Saddler Hall indoors, or sit outside at tables set up under tents on the lush and manicured church grounds. It may have been hot and muggy, but that was no issue for the volunteers or for the visitors! Even our visiting DJ, Shant Babikian set up his equipment so that Armenian and international hits could be heard inside and outside. What a great atmosphere! It was clear that everyone spent a wonderful Memorial Day at St. Thomas!

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Teamwork! Volunteers preparing traditional Armenian luleh kebabs. (Photo by Fr. P Anoushian)

Everyone gathered with their friends and family, enjoying their coffee, desserts, and time chatting together long after their meals! The children had plenty of entertainment also, spending their time playing on the Araxi Diratsouian memorial playground, or getting their faces painted by the clown and making balloon animals, which was all sponsored by the St. Thomas Sunday School.  They also had games to play indoors as well as a selection of cool summertime treats, like cotton candy, ice creams, cupcakes and fruit pops.

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Another tray of mushebbeck to-go, all made by Rosine Hovsepian (Photo by A. Manukyan)

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Indoors or out, it was lots of fun! (Photo by A. Manukyan)

Picnic-comers happily stayed past 6pm, enjoying their time catching up with friends, and eagerly awaiting the raffle results. Several valuable prizes were generously donated by members of the church, the most prized one of all being the annual car raffle. Members of the Cultural Committee and some children assisted Fr. Papken and Sirvart Demirjian in handing out the prizes and counting down to the winner of a brand new Mercedes Benz CLA! Congratulations go out to all of this year’s winners.

Fr. Papken, and the entire St. Thomas Church community could not have been more pleased with this year’s Memorial Day Picnic. It was a day of family, food, friendship, generosity and love in our beautiful church.

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When life gives you ice, dive in! John Torigian taking a break from the grill! (Photo by S. Vartanyan).

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Buying raffle tickets from Jacklyn Baltaian – who will be the lucky winners?! (Photo by A. Manukyan)

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A couple of our volunteers in the kitchen taking time for a picture. (Photo by Fr. P. Anoushian)

Face-painted, balloon in hand…what fun is next?! (Photo by H. Giritlian)

Such a great day would not have been possible without an extended family of selfless volunteers. The Memorial Day Picnic was co-chaired this year by Mr. and Mrs. Nerses and Sirvart Demirjian. Mr. and Mrs. Jack and Sylva Torosian for chaired this year’s car raffle. (Please see our weekly bulletin for all volunteers and donors.)

Sincere thanks to all of the volunteers that gave of their time and effort for the days leading up to and including Memorial Day! Your energy and dedication in putting everything together, cooking and serving to our happy guests was the heart of this Memorial Day Picnic! Thank you to all of the volunteers and donors of the raffle prizes, food, drink, and much more; continued blessings and good health to them and to all of the guests who attended this Memorial Day event. See you next year!

We invite you to view all of the Memorial Day Picnic pictures in our photo gallery.