Music, dance, food, and language are just some of the elements that keep a culture alive. Living in the Diaspora, we cling to these elements to foster and cultivate traditions to help connect us to the homeland. If the essence of culture lies in its interpretations, values, and perspectives, then the essence of the Toronto-Armenian Community lies in the Toronto A.C.C. Summerfest. Over the past 21 years, the Toronto A.C.C. Summerfest has successfully become a manifestation of the Armenian Diaspora in Toronto. The festival exists and continues to thrive by connecting its audience to the homeland through current music, dance, cuisine, and language.
A tradition rooted in the Armenian Community of Toronto successfully heightens the anticipation of summer year-after-year by providing its patrons with one of the best Armenian cultural festivals in North America. In the past 20 years, the festival has evolved from its humble beginnings and has become a musical hotspot piquing the interest of the biggest names in the Armenian music industry. Over the years, the coveted Summerfest stage has welcomed stars like Harout Pamboukjian, Paul Baghdadlian, Adis Harmandian, Aram Asatryan, Armenchik, Andy, Tata, Razmik Amyan, Martin Mkrtchyan, Nune, Aida Sargsyan, Silva Hakobyan, and Arman Hovhannisyan to name a few.
As the festival enters its third decade, it brings with it long-time Summerfest favourites like Adis Harmandian, Armenchik, and Joseph Krikorian who have witnessed the growth of the festival over the years; new friends like Martin Mkrtchyan who has quickly become a crowd-favourite; entertainment for children like Joelle; members of the Toronto-Armenian community like Harout Bedrossian, Liquid Trio Band, Holy Trinity’s Sassoun Dance Ensemble, and Hamazkayin’s Erepuni Dance Ensemble; and for the first time ever to the Summerfest stage, the international popstar who needs no introduction, Sirusho.
Keeping in mind families, Summerfest caters to children as well, not just with their own entertainer, but with endless activities open all weekend with the help of the Homenetmen Scouts, and a petting zoo open on Sunday.
The Toronto A.C.C. Summerfest is just as much a showcase of Armenian culture to the Greater Toronto Community as it is a celebration of Armenian businesses making their mark in the Toronto Community. Local eateries like Lara’s Restaurant and Arz Fine Foods offer festival goers with a selection of dishes for both the grab-and-goers looking for a quick bite before running to the dance floor and the sit-and-eaters who like to enjoy their dishes while they take in the ambiance. Coffee, desserts, ice cream, and confectionary are also available for those of us who need that quick energy boost or need to cater to that sweet tooth. Moreover, the A.C.C. Yearbook and the newly-built Armenian Business Directory (http://armenianbusinessdirectory.ca/) offer patrons with a glimpse of the Toronto-Armenian Community’s yearly projects and endeavours, as well as an exhaustive list of Armenian businesses in all sectors right under their fingertips.
Perhaps one of the most convenient features of the festival is the Radisson Hotel Toronto East that is right next door and allows festival-goers to be near all the excitement without having to worry about transportation. In honour of the festival, Radisson is offering a special room rate to all patrons who mention “Summerfest” upon booking—only available until June 7 (https://www.radisson.com/toronto-hotel-on-m2j4r1/ontoreas).
For anyone looking for a jam-packed and fun-filled weekend activity with friends and family this summer that offers great food, cool prizes, ample activities and live entertainment all under one roof, the Toronto A.C.C. Summerfest is definitely the place to be. This year, the festival will be held on July 7, 8, and 9, 2017 on the grounds of the Armenian Youth Centre in Toronto. For more information and to keep up with the latest announcements on all things Summerfest, be sure to follow @accsummerfest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.