The annual autumn food bazaar at California’s oldest Armenian Church will pay tribute to a landmark American Thanksgiving.

 

            The First Armenian Presbyterian Church of Fresno will hold its 2014 Merchants’ Lunch and Country Store from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, November 13.  The gathering will celebrate the 225th Anniversary of the first National Day of Thanksgiving in the United States of America.

 

            The harvest season gathering will take place at the Church Campus, 430 South First Street at Historic Huntington Boulevard, near Downtown Fresno.  The event will feature lunch at $14 per person, with seasoned lulu kebab, rice pilaf, cheese boureg, garden salad, pickled tourshee, fresh peda bread, paklava, and beverage, among the offerings.

 

            Meals will be available to guests who wish to dine-in, take-out, or drive through.  Advance orders may be placed on or before November 10 by calling (559) 237-6638, faxing (559) 237-9526, or e-mailing administration@fapc.net.  The drive-through lane will be located on the Raisina Street side of the Church Campus, one block west of First Street between Huntington Boulevard and Balch Avenue.

 

            The very first National Day of Thanksgiving took place in 1789, when the nation’s capital was based in New York City.    President George Washington, at the request of Congress,

proclaimed to the People of the Republic that the last Thursday in November be “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hears the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

 

            The Country Store will be open throughout the luncheon hours for holiday shopping.  The Store will offer such ethnic delicacies as choreg, sourberag, paklava, yalanchi, bottled grape leaves, gutah, tourshee, rojik, and basdegh.  The abundant produce of the San Joaquin Valley and a host of homemade breads will round out the comestibles in the Store pantry.

 

            The Store will also offer “A hundred Years and Still Cooking,” the Fidelis Women’s Society Centennial recipe collection.  The 496-page volume includes instructions for preparing 636 different ethnic recipes and sells for $35.  First reviewed in the January 14, 1998 edition of The Los Angeles Times, the cookbook is a unique compendium of heritage recipes, Scriptural truths, Old World culinary precepts, and Central California ethnic history.

 

            Reverend Gregory Vahack Haroutunian, Reverend Mgo Mekredijian, and Reverend Philip C. Garo, Jr. comprise the FAPC Leadership Team.  Maryvonne Gagliardi and Missy Karabian Statler are Co-Chairs of the 2014 Merchants’ Lunch.

            Chartered by 40 immigrants in a rented hall on July 25, 1897, FAPC today is a multigenerational congregation drawn from the Old and New Worlds.  Authors William Saroyan and A.I. Bezzerides grew up in the Church before making their mark in American literature.  FAPC is a member congregation of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America.