Armenian-American Community Gathers to Celebrate 125 Years in Pasadena

The Armenian Identity Festival in Victory Park drew hundreds to celebrate that connection in a celebration of food, music, dance and community

Published : Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:12 AM

Hundreds of members of Pasadena’s Armenian community celebrated the 125th year of the Armenian settlement in the City of Roses Sunday through live music, multicultural dances, arts and crafts, raffles and other family-friendly activities at Victory Park.

The event paid tribute to the Pashgian brothers who are considered by many to be the first Armenians to settle in Pasadena in 1889. One of the brothers, M.S. Pashgian, was the Tournament of Roses grand marshal in 1915.

“We’re proud to be Pasadenans,” said Chris Chahinian, chair of Armenian Community Coalition-Pasadena, the event’s organizer. “Our culture is rich and we have lots of things to share with our community.”

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard congratulated the Armenian community, saying, “This festival demonstrates first of all, how deep the roots are for the Armenian community, and for all that it represents in this country and in its own country of Armenia.

“It also demonstrates the diversity and the optimist of this great city,” Bogaard continued. “We welcome and celebrate different cultures and learn from one another. That makes Pasadena a more enjoyable and a more simulating, and a more, let me say, intelligent city than it would otherwise be if there weren’t the diversity that we have and the opportunity to learn from one another.”

Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez also congratulated the community, saying, “We have many things to celebrate in Pasadena and one of our rich traditions is this seventh annual festival to celebrate Armenian, the great culture of Armenia.”

“I’m proud to announce that in the great history of the Pasadena Police Department, about six months ago, we hired our first Armenian woman,” he added.

“We have a great city and a great police department,” Sanchez continued, “and many of the lessons learned come from our Armenian brothers and sisters. The influence you have in Pasadena is extraordinary, in medicine, engineering, and entrepreneurship.”

The celebration became especially significant this year with the announcement of the first Armenian float set to join the Rose Parade on January 1, 2015.

“We’re also going to display at the event the first Armenian float,” Chahinian said. “That’s a historic event that’s happening on January 1st. We’re so proud of the Armenian community and the Tournament of Roses. ”

About 20,000 Armenians currently live in Pasadena, Chahinian said. The 2000 census states that the highest concentration of Americans of Armenian descent is in the Greater Los Angeles area, where 166,498 people have identified themselves as Armenian.

The event was cosponsored by the Pasadena Library, Congresswoman Judy Chu and the City of Pasadena, Pasadena Now, and others.