SEARSPORT — The Searsport Shores Ocean Campground has been a hive of action as it prepares to host hundreds for a traditional Armenian picnic on Saturday — and everybody is invited.
Astrig Koltookian Tanguay, who owns the campground with her spouse, Steve, grew up heading to the picnics hosted by her limited-knit Armenian-American group in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Now she’s holding her possess picnic so that Mainers can style home cooked Middle Eastern cuisine, groove to klezmer audio, acquire a stomach dancing lesson and much a lot more.
“It’s going to be truly large. It is likely to be definitely exciting,” she mentioned this 7 days. “I want individuals to get a sense of what the society is, a emotion for the food, a happiness for the new music.”
The occasion is a likelihood for Tanguay, 57, to share her culture, celebrate immigration and raise money for an organization she’s passionate about: the Makers Guild of Maine Stringed Instrument Lending Library.
The Makers Guild, a non-profit that Tanguay helped to discovered 10 many years in the past, started the library to assistance far more in the group have access to instruments. The library now features around 40 instruments and is hosted in the Carver Memorial Library in Searsport.
“We succeeded in finding this amazing library,” Tanguay claimed. “But then we realized that the instruments are not going to do any great if we simply cannot fund lessons and performances.”
Whilst admission to the all-working day function is free of charge, cash lifted by means of meal tickets will be utilized to help pay out for all those items.
Tanguay’s own family’s immigration story is strong, and rooted in a horrible chapter of early 20th century history. Armenia, a land-locked place in the highlands of western Asia, was the to start with condition in the globe to undertake Christianity. It also was an critical crossroad together the historic Silk Street, a trade route that connected Europe and Asia. But commencing in the late 1800s, it wasn’t always harmless for Armenians to reside in their homeland. All through the Armenian genocide of 1915 to 1918, all around 1 million ethnic Armenians were being murdered by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire.
Many of the survivors fled Armenia and settled all over the environment. The northeastern United States was one significant place.
Her grandparents were among all those who came listed here. Her grandfather emigrated to Lowell, Massachusetts, as an 18-calendar year-aged, and her grandmother was a mail buy bride who had designed a remarkable escape from the area when she was 5 decades previous.
“She told the story of heading out of Syria in the basket on the back of a camel, staying hidden, for the reason that her parents and all of her family experienced been killed,” Tanguay explained.
Her grandmother finally made it to Italy, and from there traveled to Cuba.
“Then my grandfather picked her out of this e-newsletter,” Tanguay said.
In the United States, they became enfolded into the Armenian-American group, with cultural ties of religion, language, food, dance and a lot more binding them closely alongside one another. Summer picnics were 1 of Tanguay’s beloved sorts of gatherings.
“Feeling the warm sunlight on your face, earning and transferring the music and sharing mouth watering residence-cooked dishes with all their tales and memories makes you so joyful and glad to be alive,” she claimed. “It connects you to your extended relatives, your local community, your own heritage and the attractiveness of the outdoors.”
People are the points she would like to share with persons this weekend. Eight girls — five Armenian and three non-Armenians — will cook dinner up a feast in the indoor-out of doors campground kitchen area. The prepared offerings include things like an appetizer plate, referred to as a messe, with Armenian string cheese, kalamata olives, Syrian bread and halvah, a sweet confection produced of sesame seeds, tahini, sugar, pistachios and honey. The primary training course will feature grilled shish kabob and rice pilaf, which Tanguay expects to be equally delightful and a subject matter of significantly conversation amongst the cooks.
“If you want to know about heat and welcoming, you listen to five women chat about how to make 150 servings of pilaf,” she reported.
These who do not want to eat the whole meal, which is $49, can dine on a la carte offerings which includes kufteh, a variety of Armenian falafel, salad and pita bread.
Picnic goers also can enjoy music from the Armenian Band in the afternoon, klezmer tunes from the Casco Bay Tummlers beginning at 7:30 p.m., meals demonstrations, mandala weaving, pottery staying fired less than the stars, belly dancing effectiveness and group classes and a lot more.
Earlier mentioned all, Tanguay is seeking ahead to sharing the lifestyle that formed her with midcoast Mainers.
“The food and the music, the embroidery, the opinionated girls,” she reported. “That’s a truly huge portion of it. Solid gals.”
For extra facts about the Armenian picnic, held from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday at Searsport Shores Ocean Campground in Searsport, pay a visit to makersguildmaineevents.org