SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A crowd of thousands helped welcome back Armenian Fest Sunday at St. Mark Armenian Church in Springfield.

No sooner did the musicians begin playing their timeless folk music than the people started dancing. Those were the highlights of the Armenian Fest in the courtyard of St. Mark Armenian Church. Especially this year, after the pandemic had prevented this closeness a year ago.

“It’s absolutely wonderful. Last year we had a drive through and we were overwhelmed with the support the community gave us and this year we could have everyone on the grounds enjoying the atmosphere,” Talene Jermakian, the Armenian Festival organizer said.

Visitors of Armenian descent found so much to remind them of home. Diana Loyak came to America 46 years ago.

“First of all, I’m a proud Armenian. And I love my festival, I love my church delicious baklava, delicious pastries,” Loyak said.

You don’t have to be of Armenian descent to enjoy this food. The church festival depends on much of its support from the people in the neighborhood.

“My wife loves the food, that’s why I’m here,” Jeff Prairie told 22News.

The Armenian Fest continues as it has done through the years to be a fundraiser for St. Mark. For 25 years parishioners and neighbors have patiently waited in line for the delicacies to enjoy good company and traditional music and when the spirits move them to dance in keeping with traditions that go back centuries.