SEARSPORT — The Searsport Shores Ocean Campground has been a hive of exercise as it prepares to host hundreds for a classic Armenian picnic on Saturday — and all people is invited.
Astrig Koltookian Tanguay, who owns the campground with her partner, Steve, grew up heading to the picnics hosted by her limited-knit Armenian-American neighborhood in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Now she’s holding her individual picnic so that Mainers can flavor dwelling cooked Middle Jap cuisine, groove to klezmer new music, consider a tummy dancing lesson and much a lot more.
“It’s likely to be genuinely major. It is going to be really enjoyable,” she mentioned this 7 days. “I want persons to get a perception of what the tradition is, a emotion for the food stuff, a joy for the audio.”
The party is a probability for Tanguay, 57, to share her society, celebrate immigration and increase income for an group she’s passionate about: the Makers Guild of Maine Stringed Instrument Lending Library.
The Makers Guild, a non-revenue that Tanguay aided to located 10 yrs ago, started off the library to aid much more in the local community have entry to devices. The library now offers all around 40 instruments and is hosted in the Carver Memorial Library in Searsport.
“We succeeded in receiving this superb library,” Tanguay reported. “But then we realized that the instruments are not going to do any excellent if we just cannot fund lessons and performances.”
Although admission to the all-working day event is absolutely free, revenue elevated by way of food tickets will be made use of to assist pay out for all those things.
Tanguay’s have family’s immigration story is impressive, and rooted in a awful chapter of early 20th century background. Armenia, a land-locked nation in the highlands of western Asia, was the 1st point out in the entire world to undertake Christianity. It also was an critical crossroad alongside the ancient Silk Street, a trade route that related Europe and Asia. But beginning in the late 1800s, it wasn’t constantly harmless for Armenians to are living in their homeland. Through the Armenian genocide of 1915 to 1918, close to 1 million ethnic Armenians were being murdered by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire.
Numerous of the survivors fled Armenia and settled all over the world. The northeastern United States was one important destination.
Her grandparents were amongst these who came below. Her grandfather emigrated to Lowell, Massachusetts, as an 18-yr-outdated, and her grandmother was a mail order bride who had created a extraordinary escape from the location when she was 5 a long time aged.
“She told the story of heading out of Syria in the basket on the back again of a camel, currently being hidden, because her parents and all of her spouse and children had been killed,” Tanguay mentioned.
Her grandmother inevitably produced it to Italy, and from there traveled to Cuba.
“Then my grandfather picked her out of this e-newsletter,” Tanguay stated.
In the United States, they grew to become enfolded into the Armenian-American group, with cultural ties of religion, language, foodstuff, dance and more binding them carefully with each other. Summer picnics were being a single of Tanguay’s favorite sorts of gatherings.
“Feeling the heat solar on your encounter, producing and shifting the new music and sharing delectable property-cooked dishes with all their tales and reminiscences will make you so joyful and happy to be alive,” she said. “It connects you to your prolonged family, your group, your own history and the beauty of the outside.”
Individuals are the items she wants to share with folks this weekend. 8 women — 5 Armenian and a few non-Armenians — will cook dinner up a feast in the indoor-outdoor campground kitchen area. The prepared choices incorporate an appetizer plate, identified as a messe, with Armenian string cheese, kalamata olives, Syrian bread and halvah, a sweet confection made of sesame seeds, tahini, sugar, pistachios and honey. The most important study course will attribute grilled shish kabob and rice pilaf, which Tanguay expects to be both delicious and a subject matter of substantially conversation among the the cooks.
“If you want to know about heat and welcoming, you pay attention to five women speak about how to make 150 servings of pilaf,” she claimed.
Those who really do not want to take in the whole food, which is $49, can dine on a la carte offerings which includes kufteh, a sort of Armenian falafel, salad and pita bread.
Picnic goers also can love tunes from the Armenian Band in the afternoon, klezmer tunes from the Casco Bay Tummlers beginning at 7:30 p.m., food demonstrations, mandala weaving, pottery remaining fired under the stars, stomach dancing general performance and team classes and a lot more.
Higher than all, Tanguay is seeking forward to sharing the culture that formed her with midcoast Mainers.
“The food stuff and the new music, the embroidery, the opinionated women of all ages,” she mentioned. “That’s a truly massive aspect of it. Solid females.”
For much more details about the Armenian picnic, held from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday at Searsport Shores Ocean Campground in Searsport, go to makersguildmaineevents.org