Armenian entertainers Tracy Oganyan, left, and Seroj Avoyan perform on stage. Local Armenian-Americans celebrate their annual independence day with a festival at Verdugo Park in Glendale, Sunday, September 16, 2012.

Armenian entertainers Tracy Oganyan, left, and Seroj Avoyan perform on stage. Local Armenian-Americans celebrate their annual independence day with a festival at Verdugo Park in Glendale, Sunday, September 16, 2012. (Mike Mullen, for Times Community News / September 17, 2012)

Thousands of Armenian Americans celebrated their native land’s independence during a festival at Verdugo Park on Sunday that featured dancing, music and, of course, food.

The 14th Annual Armenian Independence Day Festival has gained in popularity over the years, attracting more than 5,000 people throughout the daylong event, organizers said.

“We enjoy our dancing, our artists, our famous Armenian kebab and our Armenian ice cream and our famous Armenian pastries,” said Garry Sinanian, a member of the Nor Serount Cultural Assn., which puts on the event each year.

The festival was established to celebrate Armenia’s independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

Magda Vosgueritchian, marketing director for People Helping People — which had one of many booths at the festival — said Armenia’s independence “is very important to us.”

“It’s good to be on your own. It’s good to be an independent country,” she said.

But the festival has also become a way for Armenian Americans to reconnect with their culture, or introduce it to others, with its food and information vendors and cultural performances.

“Every year we come here and we enjoy it and love it because all Armenians are here,” said Pam Boghozian, of Glendale. “We have lots of fun with the music and all the dancing and group events."

-- Josh Cox, Times Community News

Follow Josh Cox on Twitter: @joshualcox