Armenian Fest Challenge 2011: Part 9 – St. James Armenian Church, Evanston, IL

I’ve always known summer was ending and school was starting not because it was the end of August or that Labor Day was approaching. No. I knew when it was time for the Evanston Street Festival.

I think I look forward to this picnic just as much I do my own church’s. Perhaps because this used to be my church. Well, we use to split our time between churches almost evenly when I was younger. Not so much anymore. But I digress.

Clark Street (from Sherman Avenue and Benson Avenue) is blocked off from traffic. The entire street is filled with people. The Benson Avenue end always has games for the younger kids. Working your way in, there are cultural booths with artifacts from Armenia or from inside the Church itself. Magazine subscriptions for Yerevan Magazine were being offered. The Armenian Dance Company of Chicago (ADCC) had its own booth as well. Tickets, drinks, and food were clearly marked and busy throughout the day. At the Sherman Avenue end of Clark Street, the band was set up, with a wide enough dance area for attendees and, later in the afternoon, the Armenian Dance Company of Chicago (ADCC). Tables were lined up next to the dance area to the food tables.

This was another picnic filled with reunions. Probably because this is the largest Armenian Fest that happens in Illinois (I mean, it takes up the ENTIRE block). I do want to add at this point that even if you didn’t know about the Armenian Fest in Evanston before that day, there is absolutely no way you could avoid it if you were in the area. I decided to take a stroll to the Barnes & Noble two blocks over (it’s the English major instincts), and I could hear the music clearly before walking through the doors. I even walked to the edge of Northwestern University ‘s campus (granted, it’s only a block away) and couldn’t hear who I was talking to on the phone. But reunions! I saw a lot of people I used to go to Hye Camp (Armenian Camp) with, but this time it was more of the “older” kids. And by older, I mean, they’re probably at least two or three years older than me up to five or six years older. (But who cares?)

Also, I want to add, that the weather is ALWAYS beautiful for St. James’ fest. It was sunny and warm with a cool breeze from the lake. Not a cloud in the sky. Simply amazing. I commend them for another successful year. And now that I’ve graduated (or rather, now that I don’t have to be 3 hours away for school), I can enjoy their Street Festival once again!

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